Novosibirsk Nights: Beer and Hippies

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Our lovely Yana

Our lovely Yana

Yana arrives from her work and joins us.  She is a rather beautiful Ukrainian woman with jet black shoulder length hair, a striking and very expressive face enhanced only by her firm, but curvaceous figure.  Her heart is large enough to care for the whole world, which is why she and Vortex Yulia are such natural partners in crime; they share this feeling.  We turn and head for the first meetup for Couchsurfers in Novosibirsk.  We will congregate in a pub rather creatively named “The Old Irish Pub”.

The Old Irish Bar - This is the one that was literally moved from Ireland

The Old Irish Pub - This is the one that was literally moved from Ireland

Why is there an Irish pub in the middle of Siberia? I’m not sure, but there is more than one in Novosibirsk.  This one has some good live music, featuring a beautiful Russian woman who can’t speak English, but is happily singing in English.  We discover that any pint of Irish beer is priced around the 220 rouble (AUD$12) mark, so we choose Baltika at the more normal 100 roubles (AUD$5).  We settle in to meet the few people who come early and Vortex Yulia starts taking messages and calls from the people we will find later in the night.  An Irish pub is much the same the world over and it takes little encouragement for us to head for the next stop, a delightful place called “Cardamom”.

This features an outdoor area covered by tent fabric of the style you might find in Arabia or Central Asia.  The inside is fitted out with styles from Central to South East Asia; beautiful carvings, furniture, ornaments and pictures.  We immediately feel at home and settle in for a few hours.  Ordering wine proves more difficult than expected, of course the menu is in Russian, but no-one knows what kind of wines these are exactly.  The list is extensive and after a bad time with some Spanish sherry, eventually I’m happily sipping a particularly good Spanish red wine.  The manager is an amazing character in her own right, she’s travelled extensively and almost everything in the café/bar belongs to her personally.  Don buys a bottle of vodka and we all share shots randomly while we talk.  During the three hours we spend here, a number of friends of our hosts and other Couchsurfers arrive to swell our numbers to around ten people.  We become the last customers and they keep the place open for us as long as we’re ordering from the bar and can manage to keep the noise down.

Cardamom - I think we were keeping him at work

Cardamom - I think we were keeping him at work

“You look like you’ve got your shine on Yulia”, observes Lari with a warm smile.
I turn to look at Vortex Yulia, who is sitting holding a glass of red wine that almost matches her glowing cheeks.  She moves with the languorous ease that alcohol provides as her broad, warm smile furrows into a frown.
“What does that mean?” she asks, checking her clothes and body generally.
“It means you’ve arrived at the stage of drunkenness where you feel warm and happy, like you’re shining from within and you don’t care about the rest of the world anymore”, Lari explains.
“Oh that sounds good!” Vortex Yulia bubbles, returning to her normal happy, world-embracing self,
“Where did you get that from?”, I ask, “I like it.”
“Some old friends of mine use it all the time.  The idea is to get your shine on and then stop drinking while it lasts.  When you feel the warmth ebbing away, you have some more”.
I consider the idea and can’t fault the logic.  Now if only my drinking style hadn’t been developed around men in the Northern Territory of Australia I’d probably be able to do the same.

Cardamom Fun -  Those little bags held our two bills, so cool.

Cardamom Fun - Those leather bags held our two bills, so cool.

We meet our first ever Russian hippies.  They’re from the Altai region to the south of Novosibirsk. Nick in particular has long, red dreadlocks and the kind of warm calmness that would not be out of place on the Dalai Lama.
“You have to visit the Altai while you’re in town”, he implores us passionately.
“You can do so many other things in town and around here, but this is one place you must visit to understand.”
We once again vow to do exactly that.  His friends are mostly students at one of the universities and all are fascinated that these crazy Australians would travel so far to see an eclipse.
“As soon as I found out that the best viewing would be in Russia for this one, I was very happy.  This is a country I’ve always wanted to visit and then suddenly I had the perfect reason to come here.”
“So do you ever go to countries that don’t have eclipses?”, Nick asks with a particularly quizzical look on his face.
“Well, not since I made my vow to follow them.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t, just that travelling for the eclipse takes priority.”

We spend our time at Cardamom trading small stories of our lives in different countries, but eventually the manager wants to close and go home; so we have to go.
“Davai davai davai”, Vortex Yulia stands up and encourages everyone.
“But we haven’t paid the bill or finished our drinks yet”, I point out.
“Okay, first we must wait a while, then we go.”
I remember her words as the best summary of the Russian capability to take forever to get anywhere.

Yana decides she also needs to sleep; mostly to avoid what she knows will become a huge night.  Lari takes the opportunity to leave with her and all the rest of us walk into the night with Vortex Yulia and Nick in the lead.  This is another time where I largely have no idea where we’re going or what is being planned; but I have faith in my host and follow blindly.  Don and I merge with the six or so Russians and just keep close.  We arrive at a large supermarket and are told we’re here for the purpose of buying beer.  I’m not sure why exactly, but we get into the spirit of things and emerge with a bag of bottles of various kinds to share around.  The group manages to gather together a vast haul of beery goodness by the time everyone gets through the registers.

While we’re waiting I find myself talking to someone about music and I sing lines from some Australian songs to provide some examples.  This leads to me singing a couple of songs in their entirety and drawing the attention of a large group of people gathered outside.  This is the first time I really notice that there are quite a few similar groups to ours dotted around the pavement in front of the supermarket.  Everyone has beers and is drinking them while chatting amongst themselves.  We’ve just joined a Russian outdoor pub.

A Russian Outdoor Pub

A Russian Outdoor Pub

These can be found in every city, the largest (and most popular) are normally right outside supermarkets.  We’d passed one in Moscow on the way to see the film on our transfer day and we’d seen a few in Yekaterinburg as well.  Smaller ones are located near the strips of small shops found near train stations and Metro entrances.  The style and quality of them changes little and generally involves lots of people standing around drinking beers and chatting.  Small groups of immaculately dressed women will huddle together and the odd guy or pair of guys will try to infiltrate to bring their two groups together.  There might be singing or guitars at random points, there will probably be one or more unfeasibly intoxicated people staggering aimlessly around.  The police are normally close by watching for evidence of any real trouble, which I never witnessed, but feel quite sure it is dealt with quickly and remorselessly by the ever present militia.  Technically it is illegal to drink alcohol openly in public; practically we were only ever twice approached by police about this.  In both cases most people were speaking English, so the police may have thought it might be an easy shot for a bribe.  I did enjoy the look on their faces when half the group turned around to debate the point with them in Russian, our local friends were always fantastic like this.  By the way, arguing with a Russian woman is something to be avoided at all costs.

As more people join us from the supermarket I realise what has been taking so long.  A few of them have also picked up picnic supplies – we will be migrating to a Russian open air café tonight!  Nobody had said anything about this, so I offer to help pay for the food and I’m flatly refused.
“The guest is king”, nick reminds us with a broad smile as his friends nod.
My singing has now drawn a guy who apparently is part of a few local bands and wants me to come to a session with them.  My friends are all regarding him with extreme suspicion and they’re unashamedly indicating to him it’s time for him to be somewhere else.  I have no idea what they’re saying, but I’m hurried away as part of the group to find our café location.  On the way one of the guys tells me they don’t really know if he was alright or not.
“Maybe he is good person, but he knows you are foreigner.  In Siberia everyone thinks all foreigners are very rich”, he advises me.
“But it was singing that drew him over, not me speaking English”, I point out.
“You were singing in English with no accent.  This is very unusual in the middle of Siberia.”
I had to concede the logic but, I still felt they were being unusually harsh to the guy.  However, I always follow the advice of trusted locals and never found myself in a dire situation.

We’re being led to a nearby playground with a small concrete square that surrounds a sandpit.  Each side is only one and half metres long, the edges are about thirty centimetres high and ten centimetres wide at the top; perfect to sit on.  There’s a roof over the whole area, giving it an especially close and intimate feeling as we sit around the edge facing inwards.  There isn’t enough space for everyone, but people take turns standing up forming a second group then come and sit down as time passes.  I spend the whole time sitting down talking to whoever’s part of the sandpit group.  The conversation is mostly a comparison of life, studies and work between Australia and Russia.  Nick tells us more about the Altai region; beautiful mountains, rivers, lakes and forests that are still in their natural state.  Apparently marijuana grows wild once you travel a few hundred kilometres away from Novosibirsk and this does form a core part of the Altai lifestyle.  Our desire to visit this apparent paradise grows with each story.  We eat, drink, smoke, laugh and share our time freely and openly like old friends who are catching up after being apart for a while.

Another Nightclub

Another Nightclub

Eventually we run out of food and beer.  I have no sense of time by now, it’s night and I’m drifting with the Novosibirsk crew.  I’m told we’re all heading for a nightclub called ‘Alibi’ that Nick recommends and the walk begins.  A few of us discover some Beatles songs we all know and sing our way down the cold streets.  At one point the guy I’m walking and talking with stops and says he can get us on the roof of the building we’re passing.  There’s a brief discussion and when he realises we would have to climb a tennis court fence we carry on to the nightclub.  As we’re arriving, our Russian friends ask us to speak English loudly so we can all skip the queue and get everyone in easily.  This situation occurs because, once again, foreigners are seen to have money while most Russians don’t.  The plan works perfectly and the whole group walks in calmly with Don and I deliberately being very Australian and very loud.

Inside a DJ is playing electro music that catches our attention, Don and I decide we will be forced to have some vodka at the bar and then get into the dancing.  In a wonderful synchronicity, our entrance to the dance floor coincides with the appearance of a couple of beautiful young women paid by the club to stand in front of the DJ.  They are wearing very little and dancing very dirtily.  The inspiration works on the whole crowd and we lose ourselves in the moment of music and movement.  Well, thus it started, but kept stopping suddenly when the DJ just switched to the next song without mixing in any way.  It isn’t that the last song had ended either, he’s just changing it every couple of minutes to something vaguely similar.  Now there are many qualities of DJs and this one could best be replicated by a 15 year old with two CD players and a switch to swap between them.  After about ten minutes I realise the style isn’t going to change and no amount of go-go dancer inspiration is going to make me enjoy it – so I turn away to investigate the club itself.

I’m strolling towards the bar in order to find some more vodka when Don appears by my side with the same plan.  After sharing our shots, he returns to the dancing and I continue my wandering.  Opposite the bar are flights of stadium style stairs leading down to the toilets and up to the second floor.  The top floor overlooks the dancefloor, is a lot quieter and this is where I find most the crew we had come in with.  They are gathered around a table and I discover a shot of vodka waiting for me; these Russians really do look after their guests!  Vortex Yulia introduces me to Michael, a Nigerian guy who works as a bouncer in the club.  I think he’s one of the very few black men I ever see in Russia during our visit.  There’s nothing like hippies and travellers to accept everyone from everywhere.

Yulia in her Natural Habitat - on the phone

Yulia in her Natural Habitat - on the phone

This is the point in the night where things get hazy.  I’m upstairs for a while talking to two of the women in the group and then I’m dancing downstairs.  I have a drink and talk to Vortex Yulia for a while before going for a toilet beak. When I return, half the bar seems to have emptied out.  She says that’s been happening for ages, I just haven’t noticed.  Don is still dancing maniacally and is trying to get Yulia onto the stage with the go-go dancers.  I order some orange juice and sip it at the bar wondering if she will do it.  It turns out she won’t.  She decides it’s time for more vodka and is now standing next to me at the bar calling for the bartender who’s busy serving the only other person waiting.
“PAH….ZHAL…AAA…STAAA”, she cries in Russian whilst banging the bar with her hand.
I quietly sidle about two metres to the right before the bartender arrives.  He tells her she’s cut off and moves on to serve me.  I buy two vodkas with lemonade and hand one to her after he turns away.  She then bitches about the bartender for a while saying she just needs one more drink.  I point out it’s in her hand and she looks confused for a minute as she sips it thoughtfully.

A bouncer arrives and taps me on the shoulder to tell me my friend is now outside waiting for me.  I thank him for the information and wonder what’s happened as he saunters away.  I tell Vortex Yulia we should probably go find Don and see if he’s alright.  We finish our drinks and walk up the stairs to the street.  The sun is very much in the sky.  Don is busy explaining to the two bemused bouncers, quite loudly and with plenty of gestures, why he should be allowed back in.  I think the two bouncers are more fascinated and amused watching him carry on, than having any real concern over security.  Vortex Yulia and I watch for a little while in quiet amusement until one of the bouncers signals we should take him away.  As we do so, I point out to Don that neither of them speaks English and his diatribe was thus extremely funny.  He smiles lopsided drunkenly and says,
“Fair point.”

The three of us stagger off down the road holding each other in a line to find Vortex Yulia’s house.  The walk seems to take forever and Don keeps wandering off while we hold each other up.  On the street before her house Vortex Yulia starts repeatedly exclaiming incredibly loudly that we’re passing the drunk tank and if we’re not quiet they will lock us up for the night.  At last we make it up the stairs and into the apartment.  Apparently Don passes out in the entrance way near the shoes and leaves the door open, Vortex Yulia and I make it to bed safely around seven in the morning and crash into the black sleep that comes with that much liquid refreshment.

Near Lenin's Square

Near Lenin's Square

Yana arrives from her work and joins us. She is a rather beautiful Ukrainian woman with jet black shoulder length hair, a striking and very expressive face enhanced only by her firm, but curvaceous figure. Her heart is large enough to care for the whole world, which is why she and Vortex Yulia are such natural partners in crime; they share this feeling. We turn and head for the first meetup for Couchsurfers in Novosibirsk. We will congregate in a pub rather creatively named “The Old Irish Pub”. Why is there an Irish pub in the middle of Siberia? I’m not sure, but there is more than one in Novosibirsk. This one has some good live music, featuring a beautiful Russian woman who can’t speak English, but is happily singing in English. We discover that any pint of Irish beer is priced around the 220 rouble (AUD$12) mark, so we choose Baltika at the more normal 100 roubles (AUD$5). We settle in to meet the few people who come early and Vortex Yulia starts taking messages and calls from the people we will find later in the night. An Irish pub is much the same the world over and it takes little encouragement for us to head for the next stop, a delightful place called “Cardamom”.

This features an outdoor area covered by tent fabric of the style you might find in Arabia or Central Asia. The inside is fitted out with styles from Central to South East Asia; beautiful carvings, furniture, ornaments and pictures. We immediately feel at home and settle in for a few hours. Ordering wine proves more difficult than expected, of course the menu is in Russian, but no-one knows what kind of wines these are exactly. The list is extensive and after a bad time with some Spanish sherry, eventually I’m happily sipping a particularly good Spanish red wine. The manager is an amazing character in her own right, she’s travelled extensively and almost everything in the café/bar belongs to her personally. Don buys a bottle of vodka and we all share shots randomly while we talk. During the three hours we spend here, a number of friends of our hosts and other Couchsurfers arrive to swell our numbers to around ten people. We become the last customers and they keep the place open for us as long as we’re ordering from the bar and can manage to keep the noise down.

“You look like you’ve got your shine on Yulia”, observes Lari with a warm smile.

I turn to look at Vortex Yulia, who is sitting holding a glass of red wine that almost matches her glowing cheeks. She moves with the languorous ease that alcohol provides as her broad, warm smile furrows into a frown.

“What does that mean?” she asks, checking her clothes and body generally.

“It means you’ve arrived at the stage of drunkenness where you feel warm and happy, like you’re shining from within and you don’t care about the rest of the world anymore”, Lari explains.

“Oh that sounds good!” Vortex Yulia bubbles, returning to her normal happy, world-embracing self,

“Where did you get that from?”, I ask, “I like it.”

“Some old friends of mine use it all the time. The idea is to get your shine on and then stop drinking while it lasts. When you feel the warmth ebbing away, you have some more”.

I consider the idea and can’t fault the logic. Now if only my drinking style hadn’t been developed around men in the Northern Territory of Australia I’d probably be able to do the same.

We meet our first ever Russian hippies. They’re from the Altai region to the south of Novosibirsk. Nick in particular has long, red dreadlocks and the kind of warm calmness that would not be out of place on the Dalai Lama.

“You have to visit the Altai while you’re in town”, he implores us passionately.

“You can do so many other things in town and around here, but this is one place you must visit to understand.”

We once again vow to do exactly that. His friends are mostly students at one of the universities and all are fascinated that these crazy Australians would travel so far to see an eclipse.

“As soon as I found out that the best viewing would be in Russia for this one, I was very happy. This is a country I’ve always wanted to visit and then suddenly I had the perfect reason to come here.”

“So do you ever go to countries that don’t have eclipses?”, Nick asks with a particularly quizzical look on his face.

“Well, not since I made my vow to follow them. But that doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t, just that travelling for the eclipse takes priority.”

We spend our time at Cardamom trading small stories of our lives in different countries, but eventually the manager wants to close and go home; so we have to go.

“Davai davai davai”, Vortex Yulia stands up and encourages everyone.

“But we haven’t paid the bill or finished our drinks yet”, I point out.

“Okay, first we must wait a while, then we go.”

I remember her words as the best summary of the Russian capability to take forever to get anywhere.

Yana decides she also needs to sleep; mostly to avoid what she knows will become a huge night. Lari takes the opportunity to leave with her and all the rest of us walk into the night with Vortex Yulia and Nick in the lead. This is another time where I largely have no idea where we’re going or what is being planned; but I have faith in my host and follow blindly. Don and I merge with the six or so Russians and just keep close. We arrive at a large supermarket and are told we’re here for the purpose of buying beer. I’m not sure why exactly, but we get into the spirit of things and emerge with a bag of bottles of various kinds to share around. The group manages to gather together a vast haul of beery goodness by the time everyone gets through the registers.

While we’re waiting I find myself talking to someone about music and I sing lines from some Australian songs to provide some examples. This leads to me singing a couple of songs in their entirety and drawing the attention of a large group of people gathered outside. This is the first time I really notice that there are quite a few similar groups to ours dotted around the pavement in front of the supermarket. Everyone has beers and is drinking them while chatting amongst themselves. We’ve just joined a Russian outdoor pub.

These can be found in every city, the largest (and most popular) are normally right outside supermarkets. We’d passed one in Moscow on the way to see the film on our transfer day and we’d seen a few in Yekaterinburg as well. Smaller ones are located near the strips of small shops found near train stations and Metro entrances. The style and quality of them changes little and generally involves lots of people standing around drinking beers and chatting. Small groups of immaculately dressed women will huddle together and the odd guy or pair of guys will try to infiltrate to bring their two groups together. There might be singing or guitars at random points, there will probably be one or more unfeasibly intoxicated people staggering aimlessly around. The police are normally close by watching for evidence of any real trouble, which I never witnessed, but feel quite sure it is dealt with quickly and remorselessly by the ever present militia. Technically it is illegal to drink alcohol openly in public; practically we were only ever twice approached by police about this. In both cases most people were speaking English, so the police may have thought it might be an easy shot for a bribe. I did enjoy the look on their faces when half the group turned around to debate the point with them in Russian, our local friends were always fantastic like this. By the way, arguing with a Russian woman is something to be avoided at all costs.

As more people join us from the supermarket I realise what has been taking so long. A few of them have also picked up picnic supplies – we will be migrating to a Russian open air café tonight! Nobody had said anything about this, so I offer to help pay for the food and I’m flatly refused.

“The guest is king”, nick reminds us with a broad smile as his friends nod.

My singing has now drawn a guy who apparently is part of a few local bands and wants me to come to a session with them. My friends are all regarding him with extreme suspicion and they’re unashamedly indicating to him it’s time for him to be somewhere else. I have no idea what they’re saying, but I’m hurried away as part of the group to find our café location. On the way one of the guys tells me they don’t really know if he was alright or not.

“Maybe he is good person, but he knows you are foreigner. In Siberia everyone thinks all foreigners are very rich”, he advises me.

“But it was singing that drew him over, not me speaking English”, I point out.

“You were singing in English with no accent. This is very unusual in the middle of Siberia.”

I had to concede the logic but, I still felt they were being unusually harsh to the guy. However, I always follow the advice of trusted locals and never found myself in a dire situation.

We’re being led to a nearby playground with a small concrete square that surrounds a sandpit. Each side is only one and half metres long, the edges are about thirty centimetres high and ten centimetres wide at the top; perfect to sit on. There’s a roof over the whole area, giving it an especially close and intimate feeling as we sit around the edge facing inwards. There isn’t enough space for everyone, but people take turns standing up forming a second group then come and sit down as time passes. I spend the whole time sitting down talking to whoever’s part of the sandpit group. The conversation is mostly a comparison of life, studies and work between Australia and Russia. Nick tells us more about the Altai region; beautiful mountains, rivers, lakes and forests that are still in their natural state. Apparently marijuana grows wild once you travel a few hundred kilometres away from Novosibirsk and this does form a core part of the Altai lifestyle. Our desire to visit this apparent paradise grows with each story. We eat, drink, smoke, laugh and share our time freely and openly like old friends who are catching up after being apart for a while.

Eventually we run out of food and beer. I have no sense of time by now, it’s night and I’m drifting with the Novosibirsk crew. I’m told we’re all heading for a nightclub called ‘Alibi’ that Nick recommends and the walk begins. A few of us discover some Beatles songs we all know and sing our way down the cold streets. At one point the guy I’m walking and talking with stops and says he can get us on the roof of the building we’re passing. There’s a brief discussion and when he realises we would have to climb a tennis court fence we carry on to the nightclub. As we’re arriving, our Russian friends ask us to speak English loudly so we can all skip the queue and get everyone in easily. This situation occurs because, once again, foreigners are seen to have money while most Russians don’t. The plan works perfectly and the whole group walks in calmly with Don and I deliberately being very Australian and very loud.

Inside a DJ is playing electro music that catches our attention, Don and I decide we will be forced to have some vodka at the bar and then get into the dancing. In a wonderful synchronicity, our entrance to the dance floor coincides with the appearance of a couple of beautiful young women paid by the club to stand in front of the DJ. They are wearing very little and dancing very dirtily. The inspiration works on the whole crowd and we lose ourselves in the moment of music and movement. Well, thus it started, but kept stopping suddenly when the DJ just switched to the next song without mixing in any way. It isn’t that the last song had ended either, he’s just changing it every couple of minutes to something vaguely similar. Now there are many qualities of DJs and this one could best be replicated by a 15 year old with two CD players and a switch to swap between them. After about ten minutes I realise the style isn’t going to change and no amount of go-go dancer inspiration is going to make me enjoy it – so I turn away to investigate the club itself.

I’m strolling towards the bar in order to find some more vodka when Don appears by my side with the same plan. After sharing our shots, he returns to the dancing and I continue my wandering. Opposite the bar are flights of stadium style stairs leading down to the toilets and up to the second floor. The top floor overlooks the dancefloor, is a lot quieter and this is where I find most the crew we had come in with. They are gathered around a table and I discover a shot of vodka waiting for me; these Russians really do look after their guests! Vortex Yulia introduces me to Michael, a Nigerian guy who works as a bouncer in the club. I think he’s one of the very few black men I ever see in Russia during our visit. There’s nothing like hippies and travellers to accept everyone from everywhere.

This is the point in the night where things get hazy. I’m upstairs for a while talking to two of the women in the group and then I’m dancing downstairs. I have a drink and talk to Vortex Yulia for a while before going for a toilet beak. When I return, half the bar seems to have emptied out. She says that’s been happening for ages, I just haven’t noticed. Don is still dancing maniacally and is trying to get Yulia onto the stage with the go-go dancers. I order some orange juice and sip it at the bar wondering if she will do it. It turns out she won’t. She decides it’s time for more vodka and is now standing next to me at the bar calling for the bartender who’s busy serving the only other person waiting.

“PAH….ZHAL…AAA…STAAA”, she cries in Russian whilst banging the bar with her hand.

I quietly sidle about two metres to the right before the bartender arrives. He tells her she’s cut off and moves on to serve me. I buy two vodkas with lemonade and hand one to her after he turns away. She then bitches about the bartender for a while saying she just needs one more drink. I point out it’s in her hand and she looks confused for a minute as she sips it thoughtfully.

A bouncer arrives and taps me on the shoulder to tell me my friend is now outside waiting for me. I thank him for the information and wonder what’s happened as he saunters away. I tell Vortex Yulia we should probably go find Don and see if he’s alright. We finish our drinks and walk up the stairs to the street. The sun is very much in the sky. Don is busy explaining to the two bemused bouncers, quite loudly and with plenty of gestures, why he should be allowed back in. I think the two bouncers are more fascinated and amused watching him carry on, than having any real concern over security. Vortex Yulia and I watch for a little while in quiet amusement until one of the bouncers signals we should take him away. As we do so, I point out to Don that neither of them speaks English and his diatribe was thus extremely funny. He smiles lopsided drunkenly and says,

“Fair point.”

The three of us stagger off down the road holding each other in a line to find Vortex Yulia’s house. The walk seems to take forever and Don keeps wandering off while we hold each other up. On the street before her house Vortex Yulia starts repeatedly exclaiming incredibly loudly that we’re passing the drunk tank and if we’re not quiet they will lock us up for the night. At last we make it up the stairs and into the apartment. Apparently Don passes out in the entrance way near the shoes and leaves the door open, Vortex Yulia and I make it to bed safely around seven in the morning and crash into the black sleep that comes with that much liquid refreshment.

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