22 June, 2008

A midsummer night's dream.

There I was in one of the more remote and off the track areas of Russia, in a tiny village, 100km south of Bijsk - in the middle of nowhere. Cows, goats and sheep wandered down the street and gently nudged the Burgie.

It was a warm evening, around 10pm and the sky had a golden glow as the sun was setting on the summer solstice.

I pulled off the road to stock up with supplies at a local shop (magasin), entered and it was like stepping back in to a time warp.

The shop manager, a plumpish lady probably in her mid to late 30s, not unattractive but no beauty either, helped me to a selection of biscuits, canned fish, water, chips and beer for tonight's meal. She weighed each biscuit individually and recorded them all in a ledger - what I had bought - and how many were left (this is traditional in Russia where there is more emphasis on recording the transaction than provision of the sale/service).

As I wandered back to the bike and loaded the goods onto the bike I looked back and she stood in the doorframe of the magasin watching me.

I could see a far away dreamy look in her eyes, wondering who I was, where I had come from and thinking that she too should have an adventure like this some day, but never would.

I realised at that point just how fortunate I was, not just on this journey but for everything in my life - travelling so far from home in such a magic country. I camped that night in the middle of a wheat field and waited until midnight for the midnight sun.

I went to sleep that night feeling all was good with the world.

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