Ballet Again or Where Russian Gas Comes From
I have changed my mind regarding today’s blog as I haven’t got enough photos to accompany my story about Russian weddings. Hopefully, I will have got them by Sunday evening. Tomorrow I am planning to call on a friend of mine who got married a couple of years ago (the one with the baby I mentioned in one of my previous blogs) and I am sure she won’t refuse to share some photos from her wedding with you.
Do you remember me mentioning my work in the north of Russia? I thought I would write about it now, otherwise I might forget to do it later.
I worked on the Yamal peninsula, the literal translation of the name “Yamal” is “I am small” and the peninsula really isn’t that big. Most gas fields in Russia are situated in the north. The company I worked for builds all the facilities necessary for people working for “Gazprom” to be able to live and work there. The only way to get there is by helicopter (tiresome three-hour journey from the closest city of Nadym) as there are no roads there; in winter time it is also possible to get there by lorry. Spring, autumn and summer seasons are not suitable for driving as you risk getting stuck in mud. It’s tundra. There are trees there but no tree is taller than 30 cm. The navigation period is very short. I was said that the bottom of the only river on Yamal is never free from ice.
Above is a photo of the builders’ village I was living in. Below is a photo of what the builders live in.
Living there is not actually that scary as it might seem at the first sight. The coldest it got when I was there was - 43°C. I was staying in a room on the second floor of the two-storey wooden hostel. Even though I was living in the tallest building, I couldn’t see much from my only window as it was soon snowed under.
I learnt that northern lights appear in the sky on the night before a snowstorm. Snowstorms can be very strong there and sometimes it is impossible to discern an object that is only a meter away from you, and I was told about the cases when people left the canteen to go home in the evening and ended up actually straying away from their home. The food in the canteen was not too bad, you could always have some simple vegetable salad, meat (normally venison), soup, most types of porridge, sometimes blini and lots of buns that were all shaped differently but tasted absolutely the same. There are no shops there so you are supposed to bring with you everything you need or might need. I remember that I brought loads of chewing gum, chocolate and shampoo.
The canteen was supplied with venison by native people (the Hanty). It is worth mentioning that the Hanty’s only occupation is breeding reindeer. They might have herds of an impressive size of up to a few hundreds of heads. They live in yarangas a photo of one of which you can see below.
Nowadays the Hanty tend to use snowmobiles to move across the snow space but if you are lucky you might see them in a little sledge pulled by a few reindeer.
The Extreme North is a very strange place and the realization of the fact that you are literally in the middle of nowhere is a great feeling. It’s the only place where you can see two or three (or maybe even more) rainbows one above the other in the sky. Once I even saw a completely round rainbow around the sun.
There is another similar builders’ village on Yamal. It is situated on the very sea shore and, as a result, they have polar bear problems from time to time. Apparently, a little polar bear cub (a height of two meters is not a great height for polar bears) once got inside their canteen causing loads of chaos and panic. The canteen was evacuated and, having satisfied his curiosity, the polar bear cub left the canteen a bit later. :)
A few months on the Yamal peninsula were a great experience for me which I will never forget. Sorry if my story lacks any logical sequence, but I tried to give a short account of the most interesting facts.
Meanwhile, forget everything I told you about my ignorance about the ballet. I was just being shy. I was actually quite good at ballet dancing about six years ago (and who knows, maybe I still am!) and I think this photo speaks for itself. Trudi, I have finally hit on what we have in common. I would have never believed it if I hadn’t seen it for myself. It’s our hairy armpits!
Let me finish my today’s blog with this wonderful news,
With best wishes,
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