Monday, January 31, 2011

In Russian's shoes

My boots were on their last legs after only a few months of travel. They had marched me around Central Asia, propelled by a desire to not miss out on anything.

Upon entering Russia my boots and I dramatically slowed in pace when good fortune led me to a man called Boris. An enigma of a man with a commanding personality, Boris offered me a ride to Volgograd with his family. Two weeks later I said goodbye to him.

Boris told me what I was to be doing. Without discussion I was taken to his Moscow soviet-era communal apartment and given it for as long as I wanted. I lived there within the tangled lives of my flat mates who had been together a long time. Boris would suddenly appear and tear off with me out of town. I stepped into his complicated family and would wake under a vodka cloud inside their postage-stamp sized flat or contrasting palatial Dacha (country home).

Slowing down and letting Boris take over allowed me to feel like I got to know Russians. I lived like a Russian, ate like a Russian, tried to speak like a Russian, and, of course, got drunk like a Russian.

I was also shamed into looking like a Russian. It was time to bury my almost sole-less boots and look the part in much more stylish leather. I left them in a pile of rubbish behind my flat, to solider on there forever as a part of me.

This post has been entered into the Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition.