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Feeling Guilty in Novosibirsk

May the Lord hear my prayer. Amen.


Novosibirsk, December 31st 2014

Another something red. Thank you, Car. You have made my click a picture. The streets in Novosibirsk were quiet. It wasn't so last summer. New Year's Eve, I know. Hopefully, IKEA is opened and will stay opened till night.

Following the directions on Google Map, I found the bus to IKEA and arrived with ease. Phew! At last! Russian IKEA.

IKEA and the whole mall was widely opened, more vibrant than the color red. Aha. Maybe the streets had been quiet because everyone are here.

My favorite dish in any IKEA: anything about salmon. And, coffee. IKEA's coffee is always good.

To my extra delight, I found a Body Shop that sold the item which has been years discontinued from Indonesia but still available in other countries, including Russia, apparently. There were 3 tubes on the shelve. I grabbed them all.

Now, the real story begins.

I printed out Google's map direction from my hostel to IKEA. However, thinking that the direction back home is just turning the map upside down, I didn't check for the vice versa direction. That, became my lesson. I returned to where I had gotten off the bus only to discover that the traffic there was running in one direction only. I returned to the road nearer to IKEA waiting for the bus of the same number, thinking that the bus of opposite direction would pass there.

To cut a long story short, I got on and off buses and marshrutkas, walked up and down several streets, all in vain. It wouldn't have been that bad, if only my smartphone didn't run out of batteries. Otherwise, I could have checked on HERE Transit application, use my GPS. Why did the batteries wear off? Because I connected my smartphone with IKEA's free WiFi too long. What for? To upload (= brag about) pictures and to reply to comments on Facebook. So, sooo stupid. Then telling that I forgot to carry a power bank with me won't make me look more stupid.

I got off -- for the so many times -- at a corner of a T-junction which seemed rather busy. I waited for a taxi. But every time a taxi passed by, it was occupied. Ah, people are probably busy racing to new year parties; and here I am. Lost. Was I scared? In every inch, yes. I looked around, if there were a hotel, hostel, any kind of accommodation. Luxury or budget, I don't care. At least I would be safe and then ask the hotel to call a taxi for me tomorrow morning. Nevertheless, there was nothing that seemed like a public accommodation.

Suddenly... a car stopped in front of me. "Taxi?" the driver asked.

The car had no taxi sign. But, through previous experiences, in Russia there are taxis seemingly private-owned ones that don't have a taxi sign, and yet were all fine. "Shall I get in, shall I not?" I contemplated.

I showed him the paper with my hostel's address. He took a glance and said something which I understood as, "Fine, get in!"

"How much?" I asked while twisting my fingers signaling the word "money".

He lifted his fingers signaling "two". I took out two hundred notes from my bag just to show him. "Da! Da!" he replied.

I got in. He turned on the radio and moved his shoulders to the music while driving. He smiled, turned his head to me, and I think he asked, "Do you like the music?"

Actually, I didn't. It wasn't classic music. Nevertheless, at this time of my life, why should I care about music? Even if there's a ballet dancer on this window wiper, I wouldn't care! How do you say that in Russian? Hiiiyaaa.

Poor guy, he was like, "Oh, you don't like it." He turned down the volume almost to silent.

And then... he stopped in front of a restaurant.

"Net! Net!" I don't know if I was screaming or crying or both. "I'm not looking for a restaurant! I'm looking for a hostelll!!!"



He drove on. But just a few meters later, he pulled off. I looked around, there was nothing.

As if reading my mind, he turned to me. As if suddenly bestowed the ability to comprehend Russian, I understood him saying, "Give me a second, please. I need to check." He turned on the light near his seat and grabbed a book which appeared to be a map. He looked at my piece of paper, looked at the map, back and forth. "Frunze... " he mumbled. Then it was like he was asking me, "Is it near bla bla bla?"

Oh... if only my smartphone was on, we could communicate through my e-Translator.

However, through the light, I could see on his face that he wasn't pretending. He also didn't suspect that I couldn't speak Russian at all, a complete foreigner. Since there are many Chinese living in Russia, he probably thought I was one of them. Furthermore, I was at a none tourist area at all.

I remembered I read "Krasniya" something before I left this afternoon. How can I tell him that?


"Krasniyaa!!" he screamed. My heart stopped. He accelerated speed, a little.

New York Pizza! That's it! That's it! I told him to turn to the corner of that road. At this point I think he also had been bestowed the ability to comprehend English.

I have arrived. Foxhole Hostel. No mistake.

He turned on the light and turned to me signaling with his fingers "three".

"A... nooo. You said, 'two hundred' just now..." I replied while putting my fingers "two".

He nodded and his smile didn't wear off while accepting my two hundred notes. But... as I walked to Foxhole's door... to the moment onward... I couldn't help feeling guilty. Hadn't the taxi fare from the train station been 350? This guy had been nice. I was safe. Why should I always insist that people keep their word, no matter what?

Dear Lord, would You pay him back for me, please? Forgive me for being ungrateful.

Posted by automidori 06:57 Archived in Russia Tagged russia ikea novosibirsk

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I've been reading so many of you post, you are very motivating. Hell me and mine are thinking about going to tiwaan, but russia sounds more fun, thanks for your effort to bring us your experiences.

by Jorge

Thanks, Jorge, for reading my postS with an 'S'. And thanks for enjoying them. By the way, where is "Tiwaan"? Just curious of new places ;) Or did you mean Taiwan? Yes, Russia was fun, interesting. It's a freezing cold country filled with warmhearted people :) I have kind been spoiled in Russia that in the next country I visited, without realizing it I expected people to treat me in the same way as Russians had and because they didn't, I got frustrated :P

by automidori

Taiwan is correct, my tablet and have a hate hate relationship right now. The way you travel about on the railways is very bold. I would get lost, I get us lost in my own city... so no trains outside of my country, better yet, only in certain states.. Keep up the great work!!

by shabaz19

I think it depends on which place/country. I hate to say that I would have less confidence traveling in my home country than in Russia, let alone traveling solo. The way I do it in Russia, is to check the train schedules from Russia's official railway website (English available). From there I draw my itinerary when to leave for A city and when to depart, continue to B city, and so on. As much as possible I avoid trains that would arrive in the middle of the night for fear of there might not be transportation available outside. For safety sake, I'd opt for another train even it's a higher class meaning paying more. All of this I do month-S in advance before D-Day. On this, RZD is absolutely dependable. No delays, no changing schedules. Although climate might be an obstacle e.g. heavy snow, I have never experienced that type of delay either.

The other helpful thing is, once the train attendant notices you are a foreigner, she will take care to remind you when you are nearing your destination. Thus, you won't miss your station. Of course they don't speak English, but you'll understand by heart... I'm sure:)

Because Russia's train schedule is dependable, you can keep track of how far are you to your destination by your watch. You already know what time the train will arrive. So if it's not the time yet, then you are not there yet.

The biggest issue for me is actually that keeping track of time instead. For many local Russians, too, said my friend. Traveling long distances within Russia like me, I had to set my watch nearly every time I moved to another city. Making matters worse, all train timetables including all clocks at all train stations in Russia is set to Moscow time. Thus, you have to constantly do your math. You must make sure in what GMT is the place you are going to visit, add the hour difference to Moscow time. Since Moscow is in the West and if you are traveling East Russia, ignorance to time difference can be a problem on train trips.

by automidori

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