As we left our heroes last time, they had just arrived in Tyumen.
The next few days were spent exploring the Core Store that was to be their home for the next 2 months. Having hears some horror stories our Heroes were cheered by what they saw.
A modern facility with all the mod cons awaited them. Core Storage was either an exemplary example of how to store core or an exemplary example of how not to store core. Chatting with the locals was enabled through one of our heroes and relationships were eased by Dutch cheese and chocolates. With a visit from the arch overlords and a fourth, expert hero in the second half of the week and several more conversations, a plan was formed.
Given the nature of the work, our hero should nt say too much about what and where they were doing but believe him that when the cores were cleaned and ordered, there was a enough of geo-nerdery potential present to make both our heroes very tingly.
Meanwhile in the evening, our heroes explored the sights and sounds of Tyumen night life.
Lunches at the core store were decent if a little school dinnerish, Soups were commonplace and meals mainly comprising of rice, mashed potatoes and buckwheat with several varieties of stew or meatballs. Several traditional Russian fruit pastries were available and rice pudding on good days. Mostly of course it was CHEAP letting the heroes explore a bit more in the evening. The heroes decided that as decent as it was, ransacking the hotel breakfast buffet was the way forward for the future…
As mentioned before, Tyumen is a strange city mixing the old wood and concrete of the USSR with the modern buildings, built by oil money that could have come from anywhere. Interspersed with these are brightly coloured, gold roofed churches and large column fronted municipal/government buildings that look like a psychedelic Parthenon.
Bars and restaurants are a similar story, some are traditional wooden bars with plush benches and an overdose of curtains. Some are modern shiny metal and chrome jobs. As in every other city in the world there is an Irish Bar decorated in the stereotype way that all Irish bars are decorated, selling terrible Guinness and imitation Irish food (this one seemed to be more German than Irish, but if you call it Munster Bratworst, it’s obviously Irish!).
A slow, cold and wet start to the week led to some quiet nights in several places. Particular props must go to a very pleasant Uzbek restaurant where our heroes had their first samples of Russian Food. Good quality Beer was supplied by some admittedly foxy waitresses, but our hero had to wait until later in the week to try his first Russian Vodka. Obviously, this was entirely accidental as our hero was trying to sample some of the local delicacy’s and made a mistake, ordering the “homemade Lard”. One of the arch-overlords informed him that this was something only to be eaten as an accompaniment to Vodka – so obviously he had to partake! (only one!)
As the weather improved, the city came to life a bit more and places started to get some atmosphere. Our heroes were able to spend some time walking around in the sun.
Most places serve a weird, but very pleasant mix of Western and Russian food. Starters are commonly soups or meat/cheese selections. Most have some form of grill or barbeque style section alongside some vinagery salads and stews. Commonly these are served with some roasted vegetables, potatoes or rice. Again an honorable mention to the Uzbek restaurant for an excellent Russian take on a Cornish pasty.
ALL restaurants have a unique mix of either of modern house/trance music or early 90’s classics played uncomfortably loud. Our heroes have been to subjected to some absolute classics this week including a blast of “down town” and a bit of “do you know the way to San Jose”. Safe to say a copy of The Love Album II would go down a storm here! Come the weekend some live bands start to appear usually playing an eclectic mix of Russian and British 80’s music. Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran appear to be especially popular.
The week has ended and out heroes have a day off! This hero has been shoe shopping as the box of kit we were supposed to get did nt make it through Russian Customs. He is now the proud owner of a rather spiffing set of new boots. The Arch overlords have gone and are expert heroes and local heroes are home. Our two heroes are, once again, alone….
Until next time, До свидания!