Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Emails to the Big Chief: Day 1 - The Long Unwinding Road

1960s furniture, no CNN and a dreadful bathroom. Casino, noisy disco and a bar full of prostitutes. You’ve guessed it – I’m back in Kostroma. The plane wasn’t hijacked and I’ve not been kidnapped, so you can stop worrying.

Earlier today, in Moscow, interpreter Sasha and I stopped for lunch at Boris's apartment before hitting the road. Remember the first time I met him? He spent an hour telling me the history of the project and how his company had been screwed by the multinationals. He’s given a repeat performance whenever I’ve met him since, and today was no exception. But it’s a small price to pay for being welcomed into someone’s home.

The road to Kostroma is five hours without bend or corner. Bored, I thought about other times I’d made that journey. I never told you about the first time. Our driver, speeding like Schumacher, swerved between the right side of the road, the left and the gravel verges, depending on the potholes. The road in front of us was empty for much of the time; but we always seemed to be about to meet a lorry each time he made a particularly violent swerve. Today was much quieter and slower. I had time to think about the training I am here to deliver.

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