Foreign Beyond

Novosibirsk church Novosibirsk station Novosibirsk statue


Novosibirsk, Russia

August, 2012

Eva, my Russian cabby, drove a beat-up, mid-80’s Peugeot with the fiery abandon of a lunatic high on pixie dust. A side mirror was held together with frayed bits of electric tape, the undercarriage rattled with a disturbing, pulsating hum, and the whole rig listed considerably to port, giving me the sensation of barrelling down the Russian freeway in a hell-bent Titanic.

Despite having initially boasted in snippets of broken English to have never left Novosibirsk, Eva didn't appear to be wholy familiar with the city. Moments of relative calm were interrupted by unnanounced and somewhat violent swerves into inadequate breakdown lanes, whereupon she would unfurl a string of Russian expletives and stare daggers into a pre-historic flip phone. Then, after another spell or two, she'd careen back into traffic, Tonka horn bleating at no one in particular. The experience was harrowing, but I considered it a proper Russian indoctrination.

Eva and I go for a ride
Eva and I go for a ride

Eva and I continued on as such, in fits and stops, for about an hour or so until it was apparently decided that I was close enough to where I needed to be and I was unceremoniously kicked to the curb outside a laundromat and a closed brothel. I paid her a considerable and seemingly arbitrary fortune and then set out to try and find where in the hell I was.