Last full day in Russia – and it’s drizzly. I have only a few short meetings in the late morning, so I walk into work and pass a great variety of people and buildings.
It’s an interesting mix of wooden buildings and modern buildings. It’s clear that much of the city was built in the 50’s/60’s (or much earlier!), then not much for 20 years, then a new round of building has begun in the last 10-15 years. You can often see this side by side. The old buildings are beautiful pieces of woodworking – but have in many cases aged very, very badly – listing and warped with age and elements. Yet are clearly still inhabited. One of the buildings was half-torn down and the interiors of the walls were visible. Amazingly, the frame is an honest log cabins pile of interlocking logs inside, with a layer of slat wood panels and fine scroll work on the outside face and plaster lining the inside.
There’s such a variety of buildings, I have a good time looking at them. Nihzny is also a university town, and there are all kinds of secondary school: economics, police, and so forth. The street they are on is colorful too with interesting and very artistic graffiti on the odd wall or two.
After my meetings, we take a little tour around town and head to a Russian military store for the ubiquitous Russian fuzzy hats. The color of the hats tells you what branch of the military their a part of – blue is police, black is navy, and gray is army. However, when we get there – the shop is completely out of any size but small. We head across town to another store and are told the Russian military came in last week and bought the entire supply from their three stores. So sadly no hats are to be had on this trip.
As we get back to work, we hear that people are coming down with some kind of illness that has now sent 3 guys to the hospital. The three of us visitors feel fine, but apparently the onset and symptoms are pretty fast and terrible. We become worried that something nasty will kick in when we’re on the plane. Fingers are crossed.
I head out for another walk back to the hotel for more sight-seeing. I head to the kremlin of the city – an ancient fortress that was lots of government buildings inside and memorials from WW I. Including a small orthodox chapel and an eternal flame to the fallen of WWI. You also get a great view of the Vulga river – the largest and longest river with a historied and storied past.
I take a long walk on the pedestrian mall/street. There are lots of clothes shops and a fair number that would be recognized by any westerner. Its a fantastic place for sight-seeing and people watching. It’s certainly the center for people to hang out.
After stopping at a few shops for souvenirs, I rejoin my coworkers at the hotel. For dinner, we head downstairs to the hotel dinner and I have a fantastic beef dish. We don’t head out because we need to be up at 2:00am to get to our flight. It’s at this point that we hear they’ve closed the Nizhny Intel site for 3 days. Wow. Anyway – off to bed for a few quick hours of sleep before our early morning rise.