Kazan (catch up)

Trip Start Aug 03, 2010
Trip End May 04, 2013

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Where I stayed
Some cheap hotel

Flag of Russia  , Central Russia,
Thursday, August 19, 2010

After an overnight train, we arrive in Kazan. Our next city guide (or Honcho as Vodkatrain calls them) is on the platform to greet us. Her name is Natalia, 23, and to no surprise she is another typically pretty Russian girl. A student, studying psychology I think and her English is good, but still a little broken. She takes groups around once a month or so.

One of her friends joined us for the day who was also thinking about working for Vodkatrain and wanted to get a feel for what is expected, again another pretty Russian girl, Elrina (typed phonetically as I can't spell her name), 25 and studying micro biology. I could get used to this.

We are shown the city for the day and I didn’t know this but Kazan is famous for its football team, basketball team and is the third largest built up city in Russia?!? It is in an area called Tatarstan and some of the people here are proof that we are heading east, there is a hint of Mongolian in some and they are referred to as Tartars’.

I get talking to Elrina, she is really nice and we start talking about Hookahs, which Tatarstan is apparently famous for, and she asks me if we could go back to hers to try and fix hers, which was a present some time ago. Though this invitation was not just aimed at me, it seemed as if I was being hit on haha. Later, Emma said that caught Elrina’s vibes towards to me and thought the same.

After being shown some of the city, we meet Timo, Elrina’s roommate; he is about 6’ 8’’, Dutch and studying here in Russia. I like this guy, his English was excellent (as you would expect) and he is very, very good at sarcasm. He offers to cook us dinner, we go buy some food and head back to theirs.

I am immediately encouraged to set work on their Hookah, it looks small and cheap but I give it a go – there are some good photos of this.

They’re flat is interesting; it’s very small with only 2 bedrooms, a toilet and a kitchen with a bath in it lol. I must have spent about 10 minutes trying to get the toilet to flush; I bet they wondered what the hell I was doing in there!! It was not a simple operation – it had a manual stop valve FFS.

Although I really enjoyed the evening and the vegetarian pasta dish that Timo cooked was amazing, the night ended early, with an unsuccessful Hookah, Elrina crashing to bed early, Natalia getting quite drunk and sleepy after 2 beers and heavy rain outside, we headed back to our hotel.

The next day was much of the same, walking around the city, avoiding the cold and rain wherever possible and killing time with cards. In the evening, we briefly meet another friend of Natalia’s, Valery, and start drinking in a cool bar called IQ. The bar had an instrumental duo, a Jewish looking pair, and their music was excellent. The bearded man playing the violin was my favourite – he just looked so authentic lol.

The night was great; we were just enjoying ourselves chilling out with a Hookah (a first proper one for Natalia, Elrina and Emma), drinking beer and listening to the live music. Sadly though, at the end of the night we had to say our goodbyes and leave to catch our train to Irkutsk at 2.30am (WTF).
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