Russian Weather is Warming Up

Today I had an intermediate class at 6.30pm in Old Town but only Natasha, who is 13, and Nastya showed up. It can be difficult with so few students but we played the cards and talked about many things for the class and it ended up being enjoyable and interesting.

The weather is really starting to warm up now and I’m opening all the windows in the flat to get some fresh air in. Travelling in the mini-buses is also getting a bit stuffy as there can be up to 14 people in a small van with no airconditioning and no-one opens a window.

Translating a Menu

I had an Elementary class in Old Town which was the last one because of my change to the New Town school on Fridays.

Angelina came over to my house after the class to get me to help her translate a menu for a Kazakstan restaurant. We worked from 9.30 till 12.30 on it. Most of it had been reasonably translated so it was a matter of tidying it up and sometimes better choice of words. In return she said she would come to the airport with me to help me get Albina.

There is news about civil unrest and violence in Uzbekistan at the moment and it makes me wonder whether Albina will come or not. In a way, I hope she doesn’t!

Back To Work

A quiet day but back to work with my PI class at Old Town with Dasha and Anastacia. Dasha gave me a copy of some photo’s we’d taken the week before of our group. I like this group because they’re really friendly and eager to learn English and therefore easy to work with.

I went to the office before class but was a bit taken aback because for some reason Julia did not even say hello and took about 15 minutes before she would say anything to me. When she did speak it was a short, sharp ‘What do you want’? Rude bitch, I think. Marina, the boss, also gave me some photo’s of the School party in Samara and some from the office.

Lorraine, Marina,Julia, Sveta

Lorraine, Marina,Julia, Sveta

More Holidays

Today is my regular day off and it will be my last weekday holiday because next week I start new classes. So far this week I’ve had four days break. I generally do one class a day so I can hardly call it hard work with all these extra holidays!

I went for a walk around the shops and to the bank to send some more money to my daughter back home. It wasn’t too difficult to send because I had an old western union form and it seemed clear to the bank staff what I wanted to do. I took my passport again with me in case they thought I’d robbed a bank! There’s some really stupid systems here in Russia!

Victory Day Hangover

Today is an un-official holiday because most people are getting over their hangovers from yesterday’s Victory Day celebrations. My intermediate class for tonight has been changed to next Saturday.

Mary15 called and wants to meet me with her friend, Stella, at Rus Trade Centre this evening.

Both of them are only 15 but nevertheless we went to the Sports Bar at Rus.

Smoking and drinking are the norm at this Bar and nobody checked the girls ID so Mary15 had a beer without question. Apparently nobody worries about age in Russia though I doubt if that’s really correct, it’s more like very loose standards.

They were OK company but they understood little of what I said and most of the conversation was centred around 15 year old interests, like boys, which none of the girls here seem to like, and school and Mary15’s modelling. We left and shared a taxi back home around 9.30pm.


Victory Day

Today, May 9, is Victory Day and is a national holiday that celebrates the end of WWII. I went down to Victory Park to have a look but I think I was too early as there wasn’t much happening there so I walked back to Rus Trade Centre. There were a lot of people there, many of them drinking beer, small market stalls, shashlick sellers and a giant balloon in the shape of a barrel of beer. It looked pretty interesting and I took a couple of pictures but didn’t stay long.

Victory Day

Victory Day at Rus Trade Centre, Toliatti, Russia

Monument of Victory, New Town

Monument of Victory, New Town

In the evening I could hear a lot of fireworks going off and managed to see some fireworks in the distance from my window. The fireworks are always spectacular and it seems to be an important ingredient for Russian celebrations.

Tatishev, The Founder of Toliatti

Today six of my old PI students took me to the Volga River, to what they call the beach. At this place there is a monument to the founder of Toliatti, a gentleman called Tatishev. Apparently he was an Italian communist. The monument is a large pedestal with a horse and rider on top and is the main monument of Toliatti. There’s also a kind of amphitheatre there with a small stage area just in front of the monument and some kind of seating stretching back up the hill. I suppose it could be called a park but it wasn’t very well kept.

Luba, Dima, Dasha, Tatishev

Luba, Dima, Dasha, Tatishev

I’m told that originally there was a cemetery on the banks of the river and when the river was flooded for the dam the cemetery was also flooded. Now people often find human bones washed onto the bank or poking out of the sand. It’s a strange place to put a monument to the founder next to a floating cemetery and really surprises me that it’s been left in that condition and not repaired.

My students are also amused by the fact that you can walk around the monument and in one place stand directly under the horse’s bum! It’s like the horse is dropping on you!

Tashev's Butt

Looking up Tatishev's Horse!


The beach was just a very small sandy area, no bigger than a car, at the bottom of a hill and surrounded and cluttered by dead bushes. The river looked quite dirty and was apparently still very cold for swimming and the whole thing looked very uninviting. I commented “You call this a beach”! They assured me that people actually swim in the river but fter a bit more questioning told me that there was another place further down the River called Italian Beach which is where the people swim. This place any swimmer would need to struggle over dead branches and bushes to get in the water.

Volga view from Tatishev

Volga view from Tatishev

We had some snacks and drunk a little beer and talked then most of them left and Luba, Andrei, Marina and I went to a nearby bar for some more drinks. We caught a trolley bus back to Mira street then I got a 119 back home. It was good to get out of the house and visit somewhere in the nature.


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