Reversing the Numbness

Monday, June 18, 2007

To Russia with Love

In a week I'll be packing my bags for Russia for my Tuesday departure. I'm extremely excited about it. I haven't been out of the USA in a couple of years, I think, and I'm more than ready.

Some random musings about my trip:

The reason I'm going to Russia is to check out the Red Bull X-Fighters freestyle motocross show. The best FMXers in the world will be there, including Travis Pastrana and my buddy Ronnie Renner, jumping in front of the Vasilyevsky Spusk. If all goes according to plan, I'm going to blog from there throughout my trip, though it'll be on our official Racer X travel blog.

One thing I've been struggling with is what to read while abroad. I'm in the middle of a couple of books right now, but none of them are slaying me. I've been meaning to read Oliver Twist for years now, but since I'm going to Russia, I'm starting to lean toward Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. I read the first few pages in a bookstore last month and was captured immediately, and it seems like an appropriate read given the circumstances. I really won't have much time to read anyway, but I always have to have a book while traveling.

I have a direct flight from Atlanta to Moscow that lasts 11 hours. When I land it'll be 10:30 AM, and it's imperative that I sleep on the flight, which I always have trouble doing. I plan on seeing my doctor tomorrow to see what he can give me to help facilitate this.

I'm learning basic Russian phrases as well as I can, but it's a tough language if you have no experience. This site helps a lot. I'd like to at least be able to be polite in Russian.

I will drink vodka while there.

I just saw a piece on CNN that lists Moscow as the most expensive city in the world. New York City is #15, I believe, and L.A. is in the 40s. But Moscow is #1.

Still, I'll drink vodka while there.


spooge said...

vodka was your "drink of choice" back in the day wasn't it?

Fleming said...

my uncle, who works for the Army as a Master Planner and travels all over the world to different bases, has always loved going to Russia.

In meetings with Russian "Generals", they start every meeting with a bottle of vodka in the middle of the table. By the time the meeting is over, the bottle better be as well.

This is the only country he can remember actually drinking (liquor!) during official meetings.

I too will drink vodka while you're gone.

Raoul Duke said...

another author you might consider is Russian born Nicolai Gogol. He wrote a book called The Overcoat. It is probably a little less dark, and definitely shorter than C and P.

SleekPelt said...

spooge: Yes, back when I thought beer meant yellow beer, I drank vodka. I thought Absolut was the cat's meow.

fleming: I certainly won't set out to offend anybody, but I'm not going to drink myself into a massive hangover just because somebody thinks I should finish a bottle. I hope.

rd: Have you read this book? If so, is it great?

Raoul Duke said...

yep I read it in college. I believe it is a group of short stories. It is good, but I don't recall it being "great". Then again I was reading it for a class. I think it was sort of a Fuck You to the establishment at the time. Sort of trippy. One of the stories is called the Nose. I dude wakes up and has turned into a giant nose. Weird. I just thought it might be good because you may have time for a few short stories.
My fav from that class was Milan Kundera's (Czech born) The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Raoul Duke said...

and Spooge, Sleeks drink of choice back in the day was Budweiser cans with Jamaican Coffee Liquer backs.
baaaaahhhhhh. nunnunununun Batman!

SleekPelt said...

rd: I don't mind the heaviness of C & P, and I really want to read it, so I think I'll stick with that one.

As for Bud tallboys -- that experience may have led to a three-year hangover, but at least it turned me off of bad beer for life. In the end, it was worth it.

Wildflower said...

i think what everyone would like to know is what you plan on bringing back with you, besides a possible vodka hangover.

Be careful, though, we don't want to have to visit you in Gitmo thanks to homeland security.

SleekPelt said...

wildflower: Well, I'll for sure bring back a bottle of vodka or two, maybe some caviar, nesting dolls for the chi'dren, and I really want a T-shirt that says something random in Russian. Hopefully I bring back a good story, too. That's sort of the most important thing, really.

josh williams said...

One of my favorite books, easy to read, written so well is West with the Night by Beryl Markham... Hemingway sexist egotist himself wrote "As it is she has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer. I felt that I was simply a carpenter with words, picking up whatever was furnished on the job and nailing them together and sometimes making an okay pigpen. But she can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers."
The beginning is about flying and flying at night,reminding me of riding a bike at night with the narrow beam of light, alone. This book is a biography that may have been partially written by her third husband, no matter, all the people involved are dead, so for me the debate, it is what it is, this bio might be just the thing to take your mind off of everything.At any rate it is a must read. Have a great trip, and bring presents. I wear size large shirts by the way...JW

Zee said...

I'll sink some vodka in your honor at my bachelor party, pal.

Tell Putin I said hi, and have a blast!

SleekPelt said...

josh: I will most definitely check that out.

zee: And I'll sink some vodka in honor of your bachelor party while in Russia!

Raoul Duke said...

Bachelor party?!!! Zee what is going on?

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