An unpleasant stay in Vladimir, Part 3

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Granddad cooks the dinner

Granddad went into the kitchen and, after a while, we smelled food cooking. I got out our two packs of instant noodles, a special loaf of bread purchased earlier in the day (it was baked in a monastery) and some mandarins to share.

I mentioned several times that we would perhaps have our noodles for our tea so that Artyom didn't feel obliged to feed us. He never commented. Time marched on. We decided to give Artyom the presents we had bought him from Australia and managed to start a conversation with him again. Every time he went to say something his eyelids would flicker a few times and he would think for several moments before speaking. His English was very good and we complimented him on it. He said that essentially he had taught himself English. I think he may be quite clever but somewhat socially inept. He told us his brother was doing post graduate studies in Australia in the subject of physics. He himself was a computer programmer and he worked from home. He said granddad was a retired surgeon and dermatologist.

Nice cooking smells were coming from the kitchen and I again mentioned we had our own dinner with us. Again Artyom didn't comment on the meal situation. Artyom did say that normally he ate at about 9:30 each night and usually went to bed about 3 am. He felt he worked better at night hence the late bedtime. I know Ian and I both wondered what the situation would be with us sleeping in the same room if Artyom were to continue working. It might be uncomfortable if we wanted to sleep and he wanted to work and was much less than a metre from the closer of the two beds we would be occupying.

When will we ever eat dinner?

Eventually granddad came out of the kitchen and announced (Artyom translated this of course) that he wanted to apologize but he would not eat dinner with us as he wanted to watch the world cup soccer on his TV in his room. Still there was no progression in regard to our own dinners. Eventually at around 10:30 p.m. Artyom decides we might all eat. He says he is sorry but there isn't enough for all of us. We say that he is not to worry as we have our noodles with us. We prepare our noodles and bring out the special bread and mandarins we wanted to share with him. Artyom dishes himself up some chicken and all the potato that Granddad had cooked. The whole lot looks extremely greasy. He sits down to eat his meal and doesn't realize Ian and I have only one seat between us. Half way through the meal Artyom announces that he is heading back to his computer so we finish our noodles by ourselves.

The bathroom stank to high heaven The bathroom stank to high heaven

Everything is dirty

The kitchen is not a pleasant sight. Nothing is spick and span. Food bits are on the floor. We are sincerely glad we are eating our own food. I eventually pluck up the courage to visit the bathroom. Oh my God! It stank! It was pokey and hot. The toilet bowl and seat are not clean. The plastic seat and lid are loose from the actually toilet fixture. The sink doesn't look like it has been cleaned in weeks. The shower curtain looks like it has melded into the actual bath. Phew!

I return to the lounge and Ian is waiting to see the expression on my face. The lounge room now has mosquitos buzzing around it. I remind myself that we must use some insect repellent before we hop into our beds. Artyom is of course engrossed in his computer.

We wait as long as we can and then ask him if he will show us how to convert the armchairs into beds so we can get ready to sleep. Around midnight we get into our PJ's and dirty as we are, we slide into bed. We cannot face a shower in that bathroom.

The socks I wore here had to be thrown out The socks I wore here had to be thrown out

Artyom still works on his computer. He then announces he will get a desk lamp set up for himself so we can have the ceiling light turned off. A gracious offer I suppose.

So Ian and I try to get to sleep with mosquitos buzzing around us and his lordship still working on his computer. Ian went to sleep fairly quickly but I lay awake for hours. We had eye masks so that reduced the light a lot but for hours all I could hear was Artyom tapping away at his key board. He appeared to be researching something. Eventually at 4:34 a.m. he turned off the computer. He was in the bathroom for ages after that and then exactly one hour after the computer was turned off he went into his bedroom.

So here we were at 5:30 in the morning with me not having slept at all and his nibs just heading off to bed. Did he not realize that it is inappropriate to sit far less than one metre away from your guests heads and keep them awake for hours. He had told us last night that next morning, when we were ready to head off out, we should just knock on his door to wake him up.


See how close his desk was to the "bed" See how close his desk was to the "bed"

Let's get out of the place

By 8:30 am we were packed and ready to go. We wanted "out". We weren't prepared to stay in that house a moment longer. Too bad he thought we were staying one more night. We weren't. We decided we would try to find ourselves a hotel room for the second night. We left the room tidy and then knocked on his bedroom door but there was no answer. In the end I had to bang louder and eventually open the door to call his name. We would have just disappeared quietly without waking him but we needed to know the house was locked securely before we were willing to head off. He came to his senses and wandered out to the hallway where we were already packed and ready for flight.

He never queried why wanted to leave a day early. To be quite honest I don't think he even cared or was aware that we were unhappy. We wondered why on earth he ever became a Couch Surfing host to start with. He was totally unsociable and made us feel totally unwanted. Strange man!


Next page - Luxurious Vladimir Hotel


Our trip in the order it happened:

Travel Planning Necessities
World time zones, world weather, currency converter, language translator services.

Search over 25,000 hostels.

Trip Advisor Forum - Russia
The place to find information about Russia when you can't find it elsewhere.

Way To Russia
Another very good forum

Getting A Russian Visa
The process is explained

Trains between Moscow & Saint Petersburg
Explanation of the types of trains on that route.

Firmenny Trains
An explanation of what they are.

Moscow's Railway Stations
A map of their locations and proximities.

Learn How To Speak Russian
Free lessons.

Map of St. Petersburg
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Map of Moscow
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Moscow Times Newspaper
English version.

The Russia Club
A forum for all those interested in anything "Russian".

Russian Rail Timetable
It takes a bit of mastering but Ian managed it (eventually).

The Art Of Travel
Very interesting travel information for all locations.

Smart Traveller
Australian Government's site dealing with current travel advice.

Travel Independent
A site written by travellers for travellers. Lots of information.