Saturday, 5 January 2008

Emails to the Big Chief: Day 7 - Dancing Shoes

Everyone passed their final tests today and proudly received their certificates. Ten years ago, we had ransacked one of the warehouses, a real Babushka’s Bazaar, for prizes for each delegate. The guy with the highest marks got a guitar and the top woman got an ironing board. Despite my misgivings, I was assured that she would appreciate this – and they were right.

We finished today with a small party with Boris.

‘Elizabeth' he said, looking at me over his thick Georgian moustache, ‘have I told you the history of this project and how we got to be where we are today?’

One hour later, he presented me with a beautiful gold watch and then sent us into town for a celebratory dinner. He said he wouldn’t come with us in case he got drunk. Seemed to think we would lead him astray.

At the restaurant we were seated next to a table of twenty, a raucous birthday party. Since most of the group was male, we were much in demand as dance partners. There was little time for eating but Russian restaurants are always like that. Dancing to music frequently deafening, drinking and food – in that order. I finally got away at 02:30, aware that I had to hit the road early in the morning.

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