How to you beat a beautiful night by the water in Nizny Nozvorod? By waking up to the single greatest sight anyone could hope for.
What a lovely surprise to wake up to
A crap day awaits?
Someone’s taken a massive shit right behind the van.
We’re on an island covered in trees and foliage. I daresay I’ve been to no single place where taking a discreet poo could be more easily achieved.
In fact, I’m fairly sure you could market holidays here SPECIFICALLY for people who wish to poo in nature, without the stress of being seen.
But no, we’re in Russia, so someone’s had to bend a fresh biscuit right behind our rear right wheel.
I can’t even bring myself to take a picture. This place is infested with midges as it is, the last thing we needed in terms of them being further encouraged to amass upon our location, is a veritable banquet of semi-digested vegan food.
It’s so orange. How in the name of God is it orange?
I love the area but bloody hell.
Time to escape, I think.
I manage to regain my composure.
Love and hugs are shared (thankfully no further bodily excretions), we depart.
I’m hoping that by navigating the local wilderness in daylight this time, we might enjoy a more expedient departure than we did arrival.
We do, though I would’ve gladly spent a bit more time being lost, if I’m honest.
The scenery is gorgeous, not at all far removed from what I experienced in Southern most Mozambique. Obviously they’re not identical, but the fundamental mood, sense of being both isolated and utterly engulfed by nature is indeed, comparable.
We escape the island, but have lots of driving ahead. So I go to sleep.
This is going to be a long journey
We need food, drink and interweb.
The next city on our itinerary is Perm, which I’m told is quite something.
It’s also a bloody long way away.
Denis advises that we’re going to be driving for all of today, most of the night and most of tomorrow, too. As such, it’d be worth stocking up on supplies so we can get away with making as few stops as possible.
The next town turns out to be the best place to do so. I’ve no idea what the name of this town is, but it’s pretty.
I’d also like to check the internet and charge my battery to try and get some work done along the way. We decide to look for a café where we might get both Wifi and power.
A security guard leans against one of the shop walls. Denis approaches to enquire as to where we might find such a place.
The security guard is asleep. This is the closest I’ll ever come to an actual, literal sleeping policeman.
I go to ask a lady behind a phone stall – she’s asleep too.
I don’t think they’re even putting it on to avoid talking to us (a tried and tested strategy of my own), they’re legit totally asleep.
We give up for now, opting to grab food, water and stopping for internet at a gas station later.
I decide to make the most of the 3 hour or so battery life on my laptop and get to work on the Marine Dynamics Academy website.
If I’ve not mentioned it already, said website is most certainly worth your time.
I’m sure I know that guy
We finally find a good spot, we all decide to take a break from the drive and I upload my website fixes.
We depart and drive past a sign featuring a guy who looks like Ryan Johnson, a chap I used to work with.
We drive again. I fall asleep… again. Waking periodically to take photos of reet cool stuff.
Are we about to get guns pointed at us again?
I awaken to the sound of policemen banging against the window. By banging, I mean through the use of batons and torches against the window. Not that we’ve just stumbled into some mad, Russian orgie.
The last time this happened we were staring down gun barrels and being heald up against the Gazelle of Death. By comparison, this occasion doesn’t seem nearly as stressful.
That being said, I do have a headache, so a bullet between the eyes wouldn’t go amiss.
Anna would tell me I’m being dramatic. What can I say? I don’t enjoy headaches. I like being a headache and I like causing others to suffer them (otherwise, why would we be here?), but I don’t enjoy them myself.
Anyway, the police are taking their time, asking a lot of questions and Denis is having to do a lot of explaining. This could be the soup situation again, but with more jail time and less drunk person pee everywhere. I expect the amount of soup would be the same.
I’ve not got the best feeling about this.
They ask to peruse the inside of the van. We hand them our passports as is customary and while happy to look over them, they look almost annoyed that we presented them. They look toward each other and Denis as if to say “What’s wrong with these people?”.
Crippling insecurities and a distinct lack of musical talent mate, dunner stress it.
They talk further before eventually letting us go. A somewhat anticlimactic conclusion to what could’ve been a far more memorable/terrifying, mentally-scarring situation.
Denis explains that they were annoyed and going to fine us about something we’d done (I didn’t catch everything he said because I’m ignorant and tired). He told them that we were English and hadn’t bothered to learn any Russian before coming out here, so literally everything he said to us, we would respond by handing him our passports.
He basically made us sound like utter plonkers, which we corroborated completely by accident.
I go back to sleep.
We need gas. I opt to stay in the van until I see a dog, at which point I depart for some hugs.
Inside, we get some coffee, Riley and I talk with one of the attendants about videogames.
And by talk about videogames, what I really mean is he asks us what we like, we tell him and then he goes into great detail about his passion for Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds.
I try to steer the conversation in the direction of action games I’m actually familiar with and expect he might be, too. These include Doom, Halo, Unreal Tournament.
He talks only about Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds.
This would usually compel me to slam my face into the table. But he’s very pleasant, friendly and to be honest, I’ll take any excuse to talk about videogames – full stop.
We part on good terms.
The dog is still waiting outside. We become friends.
We’re still nowhere near Perm.