Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Blogging Next to a Toilet in Apatity


I'm currently on the bathroom floor of Host #8, Dimitry in Apatity, Russia. It is 7:34 AM and I have been awake for 3 hours, now. I don't want to disturb his sleep with the clacking of my computer keys.


Last night, at around 8:30 PM, I was getting pretty sleepy. I broke out Oliver Twist and before 20 minutes were up, I was out on the giant inflatable bed I was provided with (luxury!). Falling asleep by 9:20 PM means that my body wakes up at around 4:20 AM, after it's had 7 hours of sleep. I was up by 5 AM (very very quietly – oh so silent, no zippers or anything were zipped).

I grabbed my foodsack which had oatmeal in it I had soaked overnight and a change purse of rubels and kopeks. 5:12 AM and I was out the door.

Going to sleep at 9 PM is empowering. I haven't had an early morning in a while.

Part of the reason I was up so early is that we're so high north that the sun barely sets anymore. I'm currently even farther north than Haines. I remember at this time of year in Haines, I would wake up at around 4 AM every morning. Here, the sun rises even earlier and sets even later. I forget what day is the longest day of the year. I wonder where I'll be for it. I wonder if I'll see the midnight sun while in Norway.

Setting one foot outside let me know that I hadn't dressed warm enough for the morning, but I didn't want to go back in to the flat and disturb Dimitry, so I decided to suck it in. I ate my oats on a bench. Oats are consistantly more delicious than I ever expect them to be – even when consumed out of a plastic cup on a bench in Apatity. Maybe they're even more delicous then.

I then walked to the 24 Hour shop, hoping to get more of the carrot-cabbage-beet salad I had had the night before. Though the deli was closed, they had some pre-weighted out in the sushi section on the other side of the store. I got 74 rubels worth (around $2.30). The store was well manned with employees including two security guards. I was grateful they didn't follow me around the store like at most stores.


The salad was consumed inside the store and then I made my way out. It was frigid and likely below freezingg. Every puddle was frozen and I could see my breath. Meanwhile, I had on only a thin, thin coat to go over my Alaska t-shirt. I have two t-shirts I wear in Russia – my maroon Dyno Jamz shirt (lady body with a dinosaur head on a chair) that I've been wearing consistantly for 4 years and my “Midnight Sun Playground” shirt I got off of Etsy to sum up life in Alaska.

The thing is, when it's cold enough, it doesn't matter how fast you walk, you don't warm up, only get closer. I picked random streets and eventually ended up on the other side of town, right next to Statoil.

Statoil is a Finnish gas station. Lukas, the Swiss man, couldn't praise it (and their sausages) enough. It's a huge contrast to the gas stations of Russia. It's clean, well-stocked, and the people are friendly (for Russian standards).

I'm not a coffee drinker, but I knew I needed to heat my body up at this halfway point and drinking coffee was a means of being in a warm place with a warm beverage. I walked in and for 79 rubels ($2.55) I got a coffee beverage. I shook in some cinnamon and dark cocoa powder and sipped it suuuuuper slowly, encouraging my body to warm up. Eventually the chills had left me and I felt ready to go outside again.

There was a frozen dead bird. I think dead birds are one of the most grotesque, grusome things on the planet.

I walked through town again, trying to stay on the sunny side of the street. The sun rose even higher and it felt pretty good. One more stop at the 24 hour shop got me some carrots and organic halva. I killed a lot of time there because I didn't want to arrive back at the house before 7 AM.

And now I'm here. Right next to the toilet.
Life is swell.


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