One of the joys of international travel is meeting interesting characters. Tonight we encountered a Russian soldier who is assigned to rebuilding the Russian embassy, which is adjacent to my hotel. He doesn’t speak a word of English, but luckily my boss speaks a modicum of Russian and was able to translate.
Vladimir desperately misses his daughter, his dogs, and the snows of his town just outside St Petersburgh. He was so homesick and relieved to find people willing to try to communicate with him that he rushed off and returned with a bottle of excellent Ivanov vodka and several beers. I am now completely sloshed out of my mind after sharing vodka shots with a Russian.
He is a very sweet man who desperately misses his family and craves any sort of human contact. The Cyrillic people are known for their hospitality, hence his willigness to share his most excellent vodka.
Turns out that this fellow had fought in Afghanistan and Angola, and had many stories to tell. It even leaked out that he had just helped to build a nuclear reactor in Iran!
I love these international assignments. You never know whom you’re going to run into, or what tidbits of global intelligence you’re going to absorb.
Okay, gotta pass out now…