Friday, 28 December 2007

Emails to the Big Chief: Day 3 - A Long Way From Swiss Cottage

Isn’t it typical – just as I’m getting ready to move out of the hotel, it starts to improve a little. I’m used to washing my hair with icy water; today I was able to take a hot shower. At breakfast, the waiter offered me pancakes, instead of pushing the dreaded fried eggs in front of me as he did yesterday – just like every other waiter for the past ten years.

My home for the next four nights is the company guesthouse. It’s a two-storey log cabin in the traditional Russian style. From the outside it looks quite ordinary, but inside there’s a swimming pool, sauna and billiards table. Less welcome, but equally impressive are the row of boar heads in the lounge. And as for the stuffed eagle and chicks on the top of the fridge – I don’t think I’ll be doing any midnight snacking this week.

Sasha and I share the cabin with Anna, one of the managers. She’s working late each evening to meet a project deadline and doesn’t want to drive back to town. The chattering and gales of laughter can be heard late into the night, like being back at college. Mind you, Swiss Cottage was never this luxurious.

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