Copyright �1998 by Dan Philgreen - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
A JOURNAL OF MY THIRD TRIP TO RUSSIA
by Dan Philgreen
all rights reserved
Jan. 31, 1993. It's 1:00 AM. I'm on the midnight train from Moscow to St. Petersburg. I spent most of the day lying in bed reading. I finished the book of Norman Mclean stories, the first of which I read on the plane called "A River Runs Through It." I just finished the third of the three stories this afternoon. I took a nap this morning and was just trying to rest and get over this cold. I'm feeling much better. Then we had dinner and then it was time to go to the railroad station and get on the train. On this particular leg we have Jan Saulsberry, Dave Zoellar, Paul and Kathy Read, Nancy Vandercar (the still photographer from Paragon) and Josh McDowell. All of us, except for Josh, sat in Jan's compartment for about an hour or so and everyone listened as I read from Dave Barry's Only Travel Guidebook You'll Ever Need, which was a present from Esther as I left home.
We had quite a few laughs and then it was time to do another episode of "Toilets of the World!" with the unique train car toilet. So, right off the bat here we had some crazy fun that the video department is known for. ("Toilets of the World!" is a series of highly educational and humorous spots that so far have only been seen in the API editing room and a few hotel rooms in far-flung corners of the globe.)
Sunday, Jan. 31, 9:00 AM, The Pulkovskaya Hotel, St. Petersburg.
Staas met us at the train. Nice to see him again.
This morning we got in from the train. Just before lunch we shot a little interview with Marku Happonen. Some of the excess clothing that has been brought over, I think four shipping containers full, is being given to the Mission Volga people to distribute as part of their follow-up. We're just returning to the hotel now from shooting one of the main groups arriving at the airport. Col. Miranov got us special permission to take the camera out to right where the plane parked on the tarmac, so we got everyone coming down the stairs as Josh greeted them. There were just over a hundred in this group.
Saw another first out their at the airport. They had aircraft jet engines mounted to the front ends of large trucks. They were driving around slowly blowing off the snow from the parking ramps and taxiways. They were driving very slowly, so I suppose the engines may have been melting the ice as well.
(Missing section? May have recorded over part. This part apparently comes later. Tape accidentally rewound to beginning.)
This is a DC-10. It's light enough now for me to see out on the wings and note that there are no winglets on the tips.
This trip I'm traveling with Dave Zoellar. Paul and Kathy Read are going to be with us, but they're coming on a separate flight. They're cashing in frequent flyer miles and coming on Delta. We're working with Jan Saulsbery out of the Josh McDowell Ministry and we'll be covering "Operation Carelift II," an evangelistic outreach and humanitarian aid project similar to the one that was done last Christmas time.
We got in to Moscow about noon. There was a little snafu with getting through customs because the arrangements had not been made as far as the paperwork on the part of the fellow who was supposed to take care of it on this end. But, they ended up letting us go through anyway with the promise that we would come back and fill out the appropriate papers.
Finally got checked in at the Cosmos Hotel. In Russian it looks like "Kokmoc." About 3:00 o'clock, Dave and I got a little bit of sleep and now it's 7:00 PM and we're going to go down for dinner.
"Ochen priatna" = "very nice to meet you."
"Meen ya za voot Dan" = "my name is Dan."
(another phrase meaning "this is my friend,___" is on the tape, but I'm not going to try to guess at it.)
And Jan's number one Russian phrase: "Ya hochu copeet etta" = "I would like to buy that!" (Jan laughing)
"Ya hochu" is "I would like", "copeet" is "to buy"
Friday, Jan. 29
I'm not sure what happened to Thursday. I think it got lost somewhere over the Atlantic. This morning we went over to the warehouses and shot a little bit of video. I climbed up on the roof with a couple of soldiers and got a high angle through a window. The warehouse is at a military air base. (There was a KGB building nearby and this incident ended up causing quite a stir, we found out later.) Went over to Red Square and walked around a little bit. It's very cold today. I sure wish I could have found my long underwear. We wandered through Gum and I was kind of looking around thinking maybe I might find something there, but no luck.
Saturday, Jan. 30, 8:00 AM
I spent most of yesterday afternoon reading and napping. Went to dinner and could hardly hear anybody because my ears were so stopped up. It was quite uncomfortable. Last night I laid in bed and read quite a while and finally went to sleep. Got about eight hours of sleep. This morning I'm feeling somewhat better. I came across a good thing for stopped-up ears. Dave had some "Swimear" which is an eardrop medication of 95% isopropal alcohol and 5% anhydrous glycerin. It seems to clear out the ears for a little while. If it would only stop the ringing I might actually be able to hear. Kind of funny. I've noticed that I can only understand people well if I can see their lips moving.
This morning after breakfast, Chuck Price, who just arrived last night late to take over the leadership of the project here, talked for a little while. I was impressed by the wisdom this man has. He's done this kind of thing many times before. With just the spirit of what he had to say and the wisdom he shared, I'm sure the project is in good hands.
Paul and Kathy, David and Nancy (who is here as a still photographer from Paragon Productions) took off to do some shopping and sightseeing today. I'm staying in the hotel to just try to get over this cold.
I just discovered I backed up over a bunch of stuff I recorded on the plane apparently and erased it. So, I don't know what I said, but maybe I'll remember at some point. Okay, I figured out what happened here. It was the songs I recorded in Jacksonville which were the bulk of what got erased. So, from the beginning to "Jet engines on the front of trucks" comes after what comes after the section from "Jet engines" to here. What starts here comes after the "Jet engines on trucks." Got it? Good.
We left Wednesday, Jan. 27, 1993
Finair. Seven hour flight from N.Y. Kennedy to Helsinki.
Population of St. Petersburg is about five million.
Get hold of John & Kathy Burke who were the Stint directors for St. Petersburg for last year.
Monday, Feb. 1
We've done a lot today. We shot Josh over at the St. Petersburg warehouse sorting clothes and talking to people and doing stand-ups in a couple of places. In front of stacks of boxes of shoes and dried milk and flour. And then we went to city hall and shot Josh meeting with a bunch of guys there in a fabulous room. You may recall from my last journal that city hall was formerly the winter palace of Catherine, so it's a fabulous palace which at some point was made city hall. Beautiful rooms. Shot a press conference. Tried to shoot at one of the distribution points, but there was a little bit of a conflict with some of the local Russian folks who were disagreeing with some of the distribution methods that the Americans had in mind and so there was somewhat of a conflict to be resolved and they thought that the video camera would just complicate things. So we got out of the way and then went over to see the vice-mayor of St. Petersburg. Josh had a chat with him and he was a very nice man.
This morning when we came down to breakfast, Masha was down there. She was surprised to see me and I to see her. She was there honchoing all the translators for St. Petersburg. HOSTS of St. Petersburg has been contracted to handle getting all of them together for this group here.
Anyway, I called over there to Jenya and Sveta's place when we got back this evening and talked to Masha and Sveta. Jenya is out at the port or the airport (they weren't sure which) dealing with handling the four containers of clothing given by Carelift to Mission Volga follow-up. Jenya is dealing with the distribution of all that, so he's real busy dealing with shipping and such. So, if he comes back in time, they are going go come over and see us before we leave tonight at about 10:00 to catch the midnight train back to Moscow.
Interesting thing about the railroad between Moscow and St. Petersburg is that when Peter the Great (or one of those czar types) wanted the railroad built he put a ruler down on a map, drew a straight line, and said, "build it there." They say that his thumb was in the way of his pencil at one point, so there was a little curved place in the line. So, they built the railroad perfectly straight except for one curve that went around this thumb. It was rather sad because the straight line didn't take any engineering into consideration and so the railroad rather needlessly had to be built through swamps and over hills and such and many more serfs died in the building of it than would have otherwise. It's the world's straightest railroad.
We just had dinner. At our table across from us was Pat Greene who goes to Naperville Bible Church. Small world!
"Beautiful" = "Classiba" (not sure if that's a b or a v)
Feb. 2, 6:11 AM
I just climbed up out of a dream. Maybe it was a nightmare. I was climbing and climbing and ended up climbing awake in my berth here in the number one compartment of the night train to Moscow. I was climbing in my dream up out of a tunnel. The floor was padded. The tunnel started out with me and my son going through a brightly colored hall decorated with aviation advertisements. It was an attractive, happy looking kind of thing. He and I had just spent the evening in some kind of a place. Moving along some interesting kind of a tunnel arrangement, a place frequented by lots of children. To get out of it you have to go through this very closed-in tunnel and there was a tiny little boy who apparently was asleep on the floor. When we passed by him he looked like he was asleep, but he was dead. Apparently someone knew his name and it was commonly known that no one cared about him and he just died there. And there seemed to be another dead kid there, though the image was not as clear in my mind as this first one after I woke up. I decided that I would never go through that tunnel again, although I had been through there before. I recalled that the last time it was quite distasteful and I didn't want to go through there again. But, this time I decided I would never go through there again. I recall at this time there was a cute little girl in front of me. Even when I woke up, I woke up with the distinct impression, maybe like deja vu, but the impression was that I had had this experience several times before. It was such an odd sensation that I decided to get up, get my recorder, and put these thoughts down. Also, interestingly, in this same experience of the evening there was a dream where there were wonderful family songs I recall wanting to remember. Wanting to get put onto my tape recorder. I also recall seeing some fabulous futuristic cars that had front wheels that were like casters, or something like that, which were on extensions from the car and there was an automatic system to right the car if it went into a spin or a skid. I saw it operating. It was obviously computer controlled with the speed with which it corrected the car's sliding and spinning. Then there was a very strange toy. And I recall that I knew a kid that had a version of it, but it wasn't the version that worked real well, because of something he didn't have. Kind of like the way a piece of software will work on a computer, but it doesn't work as well as it's supposed to because you don't have the best processor, or something like that. What this toy was, one version of it, looked like a motorcycle wheel. You get it going and it would go right up a tree and go sailing straight into the sky a couple of hundred feet. Then it would come down and it would land perfectly. It was gyroscopically stabilized and it would go all over the place. Another version of that toy was some kind of a car or something. Of course, if you didn't have the right version, which my friend didn't have, it would come down not spinning fast enough and it would just smash and break. I have all these images of this thing coming apart in slow motion, breaking. Through that whole dream I remember it was some kind of another world that I didn't feel very comfortable with. And the whole dream was a journey trying to get out of the place. I recalled having been there before by myself, and this time I had my son with me. The feeling of deja vu was so distinct and powerful as I woke up, that I wanted to make a note of it. When I awoke, my legs were literally moving and I didn't know where I was at first in the train compartment here. It appeared to me, though, that I had just climbed up out of this tunnel and came up through the floor of the compartment and found myself looking up at the ceiling.
Well, my alarm is going off on my watch, signaling that it is 7:00 AM and we are approaching Moscow.
The little lady who is the stewardess, or conductor for this car just came knocking at the door, saying "Muskva! Muskva!" Time to rise and shine.
I have had this compartment to myself. Last night I pulled the curtains open and laid there with my head against the outside wall and drifted off to sleep looking up into the star-filled sky. My compartment was being lit dimly by starlight with occasional flashes from a train passing in the other direction on the adjacent tracks. My last Russia journal tells more about this train experience.
I think I'm over my cold. Yesterday afternoon I finally started feeling good and last night for the first time I didn't take any decongestant pill. This morning my head is pretty clear. Fortunately, yesterday was the first day we really had very much to shoot and I felt good the whole time. Before that I was pretty miserable and numb to the whole experience. I didn't really want to talk to anybody. Worst of all was that I couldn't hear very well, because my ears were so clogged up. I noticed yesterday that I could finally hear what people were saying without looking at their lips.
Tuesday, 10:12 AM. On our way to Zagorsk, outside of Moscow.
Josh speaking on the bus:
"...and yet Russians, right now, are going through six of these things simultaneously. Let me show you what I mean. First of all, in the last several years, there's been a very dynamic, intense political change; going from communism to democracy, more or less. Now, think if that happened in America. If we went from democracy to something else, almost like that. Think of the stress that would cause in your life. The fear of the unknown; what's going to happen. What's our future going to be? Most Americans - that would bury 'em. Second, they have gone through intense geographical change: from the USSR made up of republics to, now, Russia and, what is it, twelve, thirteen, fourteen different nations. Think what that would be (tape stops)
It came over CNN, Clinton was out jogging. I guess it was yesterday. He was out jogging in front of McDonald's and somebody threw a beer at him. And it missed him because it was a draft and he could dodge it. (The interpreter doesn't get it.)
But, just think if New York broke away, or New England. And then the Midwest. Think of the stress that would cause in your life. What's going to happen to us? What's our future? Not knowing. Working things through, just geographically. You've got the political, the geographical. Third, you've got the economical. All at the same time happening, a drastic change from a planned economy to a free market economy, more or less. Can you imagine what that stress would cause you; your finances and everything else? Do you realize for the Russian people who have saved their life earnings in rubles? When I was hear just two, two and a half years ago it was seventeen rubles to the dollar. Now it's six hundred fifty. Do you know what that means? You have six hundred fifty rubles in the bank, it's only worth seventeen now? I mean the inflation. Think what that would cause in your life. The fear of the future, your children, your family, everything right out the window economically. Just that factor for most Americans would sideline us. Then, you not only have the political, the geographical, and the economical, you have the philosophical. Going through, all simultaneously, a philosophical change from dialectical materialism, to I'm not sure what you would call it yet. And philosophically, that would throw us for a loop. You not only have the philosophical, you have the religious. From atheism, to more the acceptance of orthodoxy, evangelicalism, etc. and all the cults. Think of the turmoil that would cause the United States, to an American, the stress, just that. Then, you have the anthropological. You say, "What do you mean, anthropological?" To me, this is the most crucial change, or the most crucial element to understand what's happening in Russia, and to understand what I believe is going to happen in the next twelve to twenty four months. Anthropologically, most westerners and Americans, Germans, English, etc., make one major mistake in dealing with Russians and Russians make it in dealing with us. This is what it is: We have in our mind, Russians look like us. And so we say that they think like us and we think like them. That is wrong. We do not, as westerners, think like a Russian. A Russian does not think like a westerner. Even they look like us, everything. You say, "what do you mean?" I have found the best way to understand and to work and get along in a harmonious way with Russians and Americans, or just westerners, is to realize, as an American, we have occidental minds encased in occidental bodies. Now, a Russian has an oriental mind encased in an occidental body. They don't think western. They think oriental. And that's who they are. We think occidental. An illustration of the oriental thinking: the matrushka dolls, the perpetuation of life is not western, is not occidental. It's oriental. Of the various dolls the same in perpetuation. Ah, another one which is oriental: With oriental thinking, it's very difficult to say no. Very difficult. Occidentally, no! It's like in China. They'll say, "oh, yea, we can do that," but they know they can't the next day, but they say, "yea, we can do it." But when we understand their thinking, it's not whether it's right or wrong, it's just different. And the same way with them to understand us, how we think. But even more important, one of the biggest differences is this: (and I think the comparison for you, as an American to understand it is this, and it might help our Russian friends here to understand us) especially older Americans, older Russians, as we cherish freedom, with our occidental thinking, the average Russian, especially the older Russian, cherishes order, according to oriental thinking. And, to me, that is the best illustration. As you think, if our freedom was taken away, what that would mean to us, because everything we believe, more than anything, is based upon the decision of the individual, the value of the individual, determining their own course, their own order, everything. To oriental thinking of all order determined. And for us, loosing our freedom would mean the same impact to us as for a Russian loosing their order, especially the older Russians. This is why it was so easy for communism to come in and take over. The order of the oriental mind. Where it would have been very difficult in America for communism to come in because of the occidental thinking. Order. Almost, I think it was 72% of the last poll show that of the older Russians, thirty, thirty five and older, 72% are at the point where they are willing to exchange a major portion of their freedom for order. Now we would think of that, "That's awful! How could anyone even ever think of that?!" To the Russian mind, they think, "Well, that's logical. How could you Americans think anything different?" Or you westerners, you Germans, you English people. And this is why I think in the next few months, even with the referendum in April, it is going to be very crucial.
begin tape 2, side 1
Taking aid is hard for them, it's embarrassing to them. And yet, they know they need it. And it could be very easy for us to develop a pride when it needs to be humility and compassion, cause mark my word, we will see the day, or our children will, when Russia will be helping America. I guarantee it. History will prove that. Russia is one of the wealthiest nations in the world. They're just not taping the resources. And when they tap their resources, I can guarantee it, they will one day be bringing aid to us. And so, realize we can go and give these shoes to every person who comes to a distribution point, it's not easy. They agonize over it. And yet, because they come, it shows how deep the needs go. And so, I'm humbled to think that I can be here to be a part of meeting those needs. And yet, I've got to watch my attitude and my spirit in doing it. So that gives you a little background..."
Paul says it was 87 degrees on the train when we woke up this morning. (Maybe that's why I was having nightmares.) It tends to warm up over night.
Tuesday, Feb. 2, 4:47 PM
We're on our way out of Zagorsk, which is about an hour's drive outside of Moscow. We were in Zagorsk shooting at the monastery and seminary complex. It is one of three; there is one in Kiev, one in St. Petersburg, and this one. Josh, in an attempt to cooperate with the Orthodox church, supplied two thousand boxes of food. Each box of food contained packages of various things. It's about two or three months worth of basic food for a student at the seminary there. They also brought a fax machine, which was their dream request, and books, and enough black cloth to make about 190 robes for the students. This was especially touching to the leaders.
We had a meal their that was quite good. It was like a piece of beef and potatoes. Delicious cabbage soup. I loved it.
The day is quite pretty today. Lots of snow on the ground. But blue sky and sun. There were beautiful blue domes on one of the cathedrals at Zagorsk. Also, another one had gold domes that were gorgeous in the sunlight.
Tuesday, Feb. 2, 10:45 PM
There was, apparently, a row about our being on the base with our video camera here in Moscow the other day when we shot in the first warehouse. We had permission to be there, but nevertheless, the KGB people have had a big problem about it. There's a large KGB building right next to the air base and it is adjacent to the warehouse. It seems that though we had permission from the army, no one talked to the KGB, and now there's quite a power struggle going on. There is a General Kirshin who is on our side, but the KGB is wanting all the materials taken out of the warehouse within a couple of days and they certainly don't want us to be videotaping anymore of the activities at that warehouse. There is a meeting going on as I speak.
In the front seat of the van on the way back from Zagorsk after my last journal entry, I read a while in my book, and then slept for probably an hour. I came up and relaxed a while in the room and got cleaned up a little bit. Had dinner and then Josh gave a talk. He shared some of the things that he said earlier on the bus, which have been transcribed earlier. The people really seemed to connect with what Josh was sharing about the differences in the way these folks think over here and I think it will go a long ways toward helping them to be patient as they deal with the problems that are coming up.
Anyway, after dinner, I talked to Jan. She had smashed her finger. A porter closed a door on her finger today and broke a nail. She was hurting pretty badly because of that. And she seemed to be close to her wit's end about this problem with the KGB. Apparently it's quite a big deal and some of the top people were saying that this could impact the first meeting of Yeltsin and our new president Clinton. So, it's quite an international incident, I guess. (That may have been a little heady thinking, but I was told many months later that the repercussions were still being felt by Campus Crusade.)
Well, I hope and pray that doesn't cause a bit problem and that it all works out. I prayed with Jan briefly before she went in to continued meetings tonight with Chuck Price, who is the head of this whole thing, Bob Teady, Gen. Dick Able, and Gen. Kirshin. I told Jan I would go do some praying, so I wandered around the lobby for a while and just prayed as I walked. I sat there for a while and then came upstairs and down to the end of the hallway. I've been down there praying. So, I put in about an hour and a half. I hope that does some good toward the resolution of the problems. I'm getting pretty tired, so I think I'll get some sleep.
Wednesday, Feb. 3, 12:45 PM
I slept in this morning until about 9:30. We shot a press conference where Josh and Dan Peterson shared with the folks from the press. Now we're in a van headed to a couple of distribution points. We're going to be eating our sack lunches. (Which got to be a daily routine in the van.)
Last month, December, inflation was 25%. The paper this morning said it's now 50% per month and the government has injected a trillion rubles into the economy.
We just stopped at the first distribution point and all the stuff had already been given out. But there were all these kids around. We decided to have Josh get out so we could get some shots of him with the kids. I noticed that some of them were sliding down an icy hill. I jokingly told Josh he should try it. He said, "Right, that's what I need to do; get soaking wet!" It didn't take long before the kids were all ganging around Josh. We went over to watch the sliding and pretty soon Josh was sliding down the hill in the middle of a pile of 50 or 60 kids. I got some tremendous shots. Everybody was shouting and laughing. The kids loved it. And he was hugging them and picking them up. High-fiving all over the place. It was great.
We were in a hurry to get to the next place to get some distribution, so Josh said, "Okay, we gotta go." I kept shooting on the way back to the van and as we walked, he just started into an impromptu stand-up with all these kids walking along with him. It was entirely unplanned. (We almost had no sound because something had come loose on his radio mic during the sliding and it had stopped working. But the on-camera mic picked it up okay and parts of this stuff ended up in the final show.)
After shooting Josh on the hill we went over to an orphanage. We shot kids trying on shoes and interviewed some of the people on the team here. We shot Josh helping some kids with shoes and doing a stand-up. Then we rode back over here to the hotel with Josh. I just went over and shot some of the folks in the "war room," the room that's being used as an office here in the hotel. I shot Gen. Dick Able on the phone arranging for army trucks to move stuff.
Up to today we were just getting coverage, but today we got some incredibly good stuff. I was kind of lamenting this morning that we hadn't really gotten anything outstanding, but today we did. Paul mentioned that it seems on every shoot there comes a time when we realize that we have the story covered and even if we were not able to shoot anything else after that point that we could still put the story together. Today we hit that point. After this, everything else will be gravy. Maybe we'll get some better stuff, but in any case, we have coverage.
I do need to get some more faces, though, especially of kids getting their shoes and emotional reactions at that point. Up to this point I've been concentrating on Josh since we only have him through today. He's having to leave early for some other commitments back in the States.
In 1992 inflation jumped an average 32% per month for a staggering 2600% over the year. An injection of one million rubles happened in December.
Just got finished shooting some interviews with some of the folks participating, which was after the evening session where Josh spoke on Mark 1:40 about the leper who came to Jesus saying, "If you're willing, you'll heal me."
We're at the Cosmos metro terminal. We just bought... whoa! I went through the wrong one. I paid for this one. Ha, ha! I just bought 10 tokens for 430 rubles. So since September it went from 1 ruble to ride up to 43 rubles to ride. (Actually, it only went up to 3 rubles. The lady in the booth pulled a fast one.)
Another interesting note: the tokens here used to be brass, now they're yellow plastic. They look similar, but plastic. (I was told later that they did this when the fare went up to 3 rubles.) We're going to ride down a couple of stops and then turn around and come back, I guess.
We just did a little up-periscope and figured out that we were not on the ring route. We were three stops out on the orange route. So, we're going to go one more stop and go hit the ring route and see one of the neat stations and then I guess we're going to go back. Where the Cosmos is it looks kind of like "B," and then a funny letter that looks like and "a," but isn't an "a." And then "HX," that's where the Cosmos is. It's the third stop outside of the ring on the orange route.
On the front page of today's Moscow news there is a picture of old ladies standing there holding bottle and cans of things they are wanting to sell at the metro stop there by the Cosmos. We saw the exact same thing; a line of about, probably, 50 or 75 of them standing there with various kinds of groceries trying to sell them to people coming off the metro. They say most of these old people are pensioners and they are just trying to keep body and soul together.
This isn't really the orange route. There is another orange route. This is the dark orange, or "burnt umber" route.
We're back in the hotel and we just bought Pepsi's, which are probably what, 10 oz. or so, in bottles, from the key lady down the hall. She has them for 62 rubles and 50 kopeks ea., which is about 10 cents.
"Veer boyd rusiek" = "you are my friend"
Thursday, Feb. 4, 10:00 AM
Just met our neighbor across the hall. His name is Kumar. He's from New Jersey. He's a chemical salesman and comes here every couple of months. We loaned him an adapter plug and he's got a microwave in there. He's going to make us coffee sometime.
Today we're going to ride with the red bus and go to an Orthodox church for distribution and to another orphanage this afternoon.
Well, Paul rode the metro for 3 rubles last night, so apparently they saw us coming.
Stalin's wedding cakes were designed in 1954. (These are the big gothic buildings which Stalin had built all around Moscow. There are six or seven of them. Moscow State University is the biggest one, Hotel Ukraine is another.)
This morning I had breakfast with Jacob and Michelle Aranza from Lafayette, Louisiana. Jacob travels a lot speaking to high school groups. He does a lot of speaking for Student Venture. They have three boys. The oldest is nine and was born the day before Nathan. They're really neat people.
The church we're in today was built in the 17th century, during the time of Ivan the Terrible. This church is St. Nicholas Impuge. Not too far from the Kremlin, actually.
We got some great shots at the church of little kids. Most of the time was spent waiting because the truck didn't get there until just before we left. We didn't get any actual distribution, but I did get some good shots of unloading the truck. Now we've been at a place that is supposed to be an orphanage. Again, there was some confusion. It seems we are now trying to get to a veteran's organization or something. We were supposed to be there at 2:20. It's now 4:00 o'clock. There is, unfortunately, quite a bit of confusion about where things are and when things should be there, as hard as everyone has tried to coordinate everything and make it run smoothly. It's just difficult to make it happen in Russia.
We've been waiting here for about four hours at the veteran's building. There have been about 150 to 200 mostly little old grandmothers who have been waiting outside in the very bitter cold and drizzling rain some of them since 9:00 this morning. The truck is not going to be coming. Today was the day that, due to some snags, they had to move everything out of the warehouse on the air base by 5:00 o'clock. Apparently that has messed up the delivery schedule and the truck is not forthcoming.
Apparently about 70% of the aid was promised to military families per the insistence of their leaders, but they only have given information for distribution for about 10%. So now we have bus loads of people wanting to help deliver stuff, we've got stuff to deliver, but not enough places to take it. So, that's the latest problem. Then this having to change everything from one warehouse to another has thrown the whole system for a loop. So these poor people are not going to be getting anything today. It breaks your heart.
Total food, medicine, vitamins, shoes, boots, socks, clothing, everything in the whole Carelift was about 374 tons of material. About two thirds is in Moscow, and about a third is in St. Petersburg.
A lot of disappointment on the bus. We're heading back. Kevin Morell has come over with Carelift '93, but he's going to be staying here for the whole year riding heard on the book printing operations over here. They've contracted to print about 5 million books, about half of which are flip books with More Than a Carpenter on one side and The Living Gospel of John on the other side. They've contracted a price of seven cents per copy. Kevin will be seeing to quality and secure storage. Books will be available for other evangelical groups coming over here. They can get them here rather than having to bring them over. Quite a great idea.
About six million copies of More Than a Carpenter have already been distributed throughout Russia.
Well, only about three sites got anything today. Most of them were the same as we experienced, getting nothing. The warehouse didn't quite get changed over today. But, they still have time to do that, apparently. It's a massive reorganization and it's having to happen right in the middle of everything. It has the appearance of being very unorganized, which it is, but there was nothing anyone could do about it. It was an out of control, unforeseen kind of situation.
Friday, Feb. 5, 10:30AM
We're riding along in a van on the way to a warehouse. Then we're going to be going out to a military installation of some sort for a distribution. Last night there was a meeting after dinner of about forty of the leadership people, the bus captains, to try to figure out how to straighten out the situation. The majority of the material has been moved to the new warehouse, but it's not organized, so it's very difficult to get things prepared to truck out to the various sites. So, quite a confusing puzzle to solve. I was talking to Norma Slevcove about the cellular phone situation and we provided some information on how to get some phones much cheaper than they thought they were available for. So, it looks like they are going to get some more; possibly eight additional phones to the two they already have. She was wondering if I had some Sudafed or something like that and I told her I did. So, she and Rochelle came up and got some of that and we showed them some footage of Josh and the little kids we shot over the last couple of days.
The Moscow Times today quotes the Russian Center for Public Opinion and Market Research who defines the rich as those whose income exceeds 20,000 rubles per month per family member or $35.00 at the current rate of exchange. This is three times the minimum wage. Only 1% of the country's population falls into this category compared to 80-90% who are living below the poverty level.
It's storming sleet outside. Blowing sleet. I don't think I've ever seen it quite like this ever. The murder rate has doubled her in Moscow in the last year, but it's still half of that in a comparable U.S. city.
We just got shut down here at the warehouse. Apparently this site is also military. They will not allow any videotaping at all. I jumped out of the van and a fellow with three stars on his shoulders said "Nyet! Nyet!" So, they won't let us shoot anything inside or outside here. (Kind of funny as the warehouse had mostly plumbing fixtures in it. Rows of toilets were stacked up. Very security sensitive material, don't you know.)
As of Jan. 1, Russians no longer need exit visas to travel outside the country. That's the good news. The bad news is that the officials can't decide what the logo should be on the new passports, so they haven't printed them, so you can't get a new passport, so you still can't leave. The debate is whether to retain the hammer and sickle, or to go with the double-headed eagle, apparently. So, the bottom line is, you're free to go, but you can't leave. Reminds one of the Yakov Smirnov slogan for the Moscow Express Card: "Don't leave home."
McDonald's here has 27 counters, 1,500 employees, seats for 715, has 35-40,000 customers per day. It and the one in Beijing, China, are the two biggest in the world. The managers of the one here are Canadian and they say that Russians order twice as many Strawberry shakes as chocolate, which is the opposite of Canada. They also found that they've had an inordinate number of marriages among employees. Says here, "One wonders, is it because they smile so, or is that why they smile?" (laughs)
Well, the ruble fell to 572 to the dollar for the third day in a row. The ruble is not completely convertible, but it says twice weekly sessions on the exchange give limited opportunity for about sixty banks to trade them.
I see here that Motorola is going to use Russian launch vehicles to launch twenty-one of the sixty-six satellites for the Iridium satellite phone network. The satellites are supposed to be sent up in '96 and the system is supposed to be on-line in '98. They are supposed to be spending 3.37 billion dollars on the system.
Maybe I mentioned this earlier: On the front page of the Moscow Times today it shows that the mayor of Moscow has banned sales of military uniforms and medals and such, so guess we won't see those anymore. At least not here.
We're outside the Kremlin coming over to see the Armory. Last time it was just a few rubles to get in, now they've changed it a month or so ago and it's ten dollars to get in. That's the foreigner's price. It's still something like fifty rubles if you're Russian.
Just went through the Armory museum again. A couple of interesting notes to add to what I said about the stuff in there in the last journal: The fabulous china set I think I talked about with all the different pictures on every piece was a gift from Napoleon to the Czar in 1806, I believe. It was to be desert service, just ice cream and fruit and coffee and stuff like that. And then another thing I saw was that some of those carriages and the guns that I was so impressed with, many of those were gifts to the Czar, some of them made in Russia, but others made in France and Belgium and other places. The painting that I like so much in the stairway to the top floor of Ivan the Terrible riding through Red Square on a sled with the white Kremlin walls in the background, I noticed something about that I hadn't seen before and that was that the top dome of St. Basil's is incomplete and there's scaffolding up. This definitely dates the painting at the time of Ivan the Terrible.
So, we're walking by the Cathedral of the Assention, which is the one that has the jasper floor, and is across the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael, and there is the Cathedral of the Assumption, which is Mary's rising to heaven, which was indeed the great assumption. Since it's not in the Bible, you just have to assume that it happened.
Then there's the bell tower over there where the Faberge exhibit was. The little one back in the corner is the Cathedral of the Deposition of the Robe. The one that kind of looks like the rooftops of London with gold domes is where the Czarinas worshipped, which we can't remember the name of. Then there is the residence of the Patriarch, which also looks like a cathedral. Yes, in typical Russian fashion, it's his residence, but he doesn't live there. It's also called the Church of the Twelve Apostles. That's probably why he doesn't live there. It's too much like never going home from work.
The Arsenal building here is the barracks and headquarters of the guards of the Kremlin. There is also an arsenal museum in there, but in typical fashion, you can't go in. It's not open to the public. The museum that no one can visit.
As you pass through the Trinity Tower, which is the main entrance to the Kremlin, you can see some of the original white stone.
Paul, Dave, and I just ran into a cute, little, about eleven year old kid in front of St. Basil's selling little medals. We each bought a hundred of them from him for five bucks a set. And then I gave him a pack of gum and a little flyer, a sports "mini mag" that has the Four Spiritual Laws on the back. Nice kid. Said he was one of nine kids in his family.
Friday, Feb. 5, 10:00 PM
Looking out the window of our 17th floor room here. The snow is a comin' down. It is quite a winter storm outside. After the blowing sleet this morning, it got sunny and was quite nice most of the day, but by morning there should be quite a bit of snow on the ground.
Tonight we arranged to meet Galena, who was our translator last September. I ran into her yesterday morning out by the buses. She was with another group of folks from the U.S., a small tour group, and she was absolutely shocked to see me. She didn't know anything about Operation Carelift and had no idea that we were here. So, she was surprised and gave me a big hug and was delighted to see us. We saw her in the lobby this morning and arranged to have dinner together tonight. She came and ate with us with the big group. As we realized it was the only time we would have to get together. She, in typical Russian fashion, brought us some gifts, a couple of books. She brought Paul and I each a little book on Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and she brought me two children's books, one a hardback book of some popular Russian poem stories for kids, and also another one that is a Russian fairytale that I think my kids are going to enjoy. I had her write in the one book and she put a little note in there to my kids telling about how these stories were popular with the kids here and she hopes they will enjoy them too.
Paul and his wife, Kathy, and I had a nice talk with Galena after dinner. We left the dinner after the night's talk started. We slipped out and chatted for a while before she had to leave. She told us that to get a flat here now you have to buy them and they cost six to seven million rubles. If you paid dollars, the price now is around ten our eleven thousand dollars. This is for a one-room flat, a small one.
The night before last, Paul and Kathy went to visit the Kaisers, friends of theirs from their days in Cyprus. I met them briefly my last time here. They just arrived in September to help with the administration of the Co-Mission project. They live across town and Paul and Kathy had to ride the Metro over there. On the way back, about eleven o'clock, they met a fellow who was selling some very cheap Matrushka dolls, the very poorest of the quality. But they thought they'd buy some from him for gifts. He only wanted two dollars a piece. He had eight of them and Paul bought all of them. Paul said that after they had done the business deal, it was no longer business and they could talk as friends. They found out that this fellow doesn't have a job now and the only way he has to make money is to buy these dolls and try to sell them. He had been riding on the Metro all day since early in the morning and had not been able to sell any of them. It was now around 11:00 PM and he was on his way home despairing because he would have nothing to feed his family. He was so relieved that Paul bought these dolls because he said now the family would be able to eat. And he shook his head very solemnly and said, "Is this any way to live? This is just no way to live a life, not knowing from one day to the next if the family would be able to eat."
Galena told us about a friend of hers that to supplement the family income has gotten involved in making those matrushka dolls. There is a place we found out about called Ismylova and this is where the artists sell their materials and a lot of that makes it's way over to Arbat street. But, this friend of hers makes theses dolls and then goes there on Saturdays and Sundays when Ismylova is open to try to sell them. She said that there are so many vendors trying to sell things that often she'll stand there all day long in the cold and no one buys anything. But, for quite a while her husband didn't have a job and it was their only income.
I just finished talking on the phone with my wonderful, beautiful wife. There is a wonderful new service now called U.S.A. Direct that AT&T has. You can use your calling card, dial a local number, and go straight through to an operator in the States. The cost is a fraction of what it cost a year ago to get a direct line. It's, maybe, a dollar a minute instead of four or five dollars a minute. I tried to keep it short, but it ended up being a half hour. I got to talk to both of the kids and everyone seems to be in pretty good shape. This is my eleventh day away, and I'm really getting homesick for them. They seem to be missing me to.
Here's a note for a possible field trip for the kids. The American Licorice Company is in Alsip, Illinois. Makers of Red Vines. (which have become kind of a travel tradition with me)
Saturday, Feb. 6, 10:40 AM
On our way down to the Metro, riding the endless escalator to go to Ismylova. It's cold and sunny outside and we've got the day off. So we're going shopping for goodies. We were supposed to go over to the military base this morning, which we were originally supposed to go to yesterday, but it turns out they will not allow videotaping, so we're shut down.
We're on the Metro once again, leaving the Ismylova Park stop. Got all the stuff Mary Mattingly wanted and the matrushka doll that Kathy Nixon wanted for her niece, and quite a few things to give away. Ismylova is at the Ismylovaskya Park metro stop on the blue line.
We're doing an up-periscope here at Arbotskya stop. We're going to go back down and try to get a couple stops closer to the Pizza Hut we're trying to get to. Just saw a sign in one of the kiosks here offering 640 rubles per dollar.
We made our way over to Pizza Hut and had a wonderful pepperoni and mushroom pan pizza and even had ice cream for desert. I ordered vanilla and got pralines and cream. It was great! $27.00 for a medium pan pizza, a pitcher of Coke, an order of garlic bread, and ice cream for two.
There is just something about Pizza Hut pizza in Moscow. It's so good! Tastes better than at home even.
Over at Ismylova they had lots of fur hats. Lots of fox. I turned down a gorgeous fox that fit me perfectly. Twenty bucks was the bottom line after a very short negotiation, but Dave said it didn't look good on me, so I didn't buy it. It's so cold today, though, that I almost should have just to stay warm.
Okay, new tips for riding the Metro. When you get off at a place where two lines intersect and you have to change levels to get from one route to another, there are little blue and white signs with a graphic of a person on steps. That's what you follow to get from one line to another. Then you look on the wall on the opposite side of the tracks and you can see a white line with the names of the stops on this line and then there are little color bars with arrows pointing down showing all the stops on intersecting routes. You just count the number of stops to the colored route that you want and that's where you get off and change. Once you get the hang of the color coded routes and how to read these arrows on the wall, it really is easy, even if you can't read what the signs say. It still really helps to have a Russian Metro map. (But I still ended up getting lost as often as not!)
Made it back to the hotel on time. Dumped our load, shed a few layers, and it's off to the circus.
Intermission at the circus. First half we had bears and seals and a huge sea lion; had to be four or five hundred pounds. And the bird people were there with their doves, and eagle, and a big buzzard, maybe some kind of condor, a huge bird. Had some great aerial acts; trapeze. They did all the ice acts at the beginning this time.
Show's over. We saw the greatest juggler we have ever seen, right Dave?
Dave: This side of the Volga, at least.
A lot of great stuff. And dancing bears. We had dancing bears.
Dave: And seals.
What did you think of the show?
Rochelle: (just giggles)
What did you think of the show?
General Dick Able: I thought it was a fantastic show. Just like I've always heard the Moscow circus was.
Okay, Rochelle, you have to say something.
Rochelle: (giggles again)
Well, we had a comment there by General Dick Able, and a non-comment by Rochelle Abate. (One of the travel agents on the trip.)
Dave: My question for the evening is: Did the dog trainer have any clothes on? (laughter - it was hard to tell)
It came out in the news today that the former Soviet nuclear folks sunk about 27 nuclear reactors in the ocean up north, not far from Norway. Apparently they sunk ships loaded with these old reactors and spent uranium and plutonium. Most of it is encased in steel, but the fear is that the steel will rust and eventually there will be massive radiation exposure in those seas.
There is an island up there where they have done most of their nuclear testing and the stuff was dumped in the waters not far from that island.
Sunday, Feb. 7
The leaders here decided to keep the camera low profile for a while, so we had the day off today, basically. I went with Chuck and Jan to Ismylova. Found some more military medals for my friend in Jacksonville. Got a framed etching of St. Basil's Cathedral.
Got back from Ismylova, had lunch. Dave and I came upstairs and shot a little bit out of our 17th floor window at the space monument. It's a rocket with a stylized exhaust. It's got to be a couple hundred feet high, I guess. Then went over with Dave to shoot by the Metro station; all the little old babushka ladies standing out in the cold trying to sell a few things. It's become very common as their pensions no longer provide enough for them to even feed themselves. Got all the way over to the monument and was shooting a little bit. I went to use the tripod and there was no mounting plate on it. We came back and were supposed to go over to Arbot this afternoon. Met Crawford Loritz and his daughter, Heather, and Wendy Hill was going to go with us. We thought we had a van, but all there was a Volvo sedan. So, Chuck and I were the last ones in line to get in and there was obviously not enough room, so we told them to go and we'd stay. Got up back to the room here, unloaded my coat and everything, and realized that it's about 6:30 in the morning back in Birmingham, Alabama. Esther's probably waking up about now. She's speaking in the opening service of the missions conference at Springville Road Community Church. She was somewhat nervous about it the other night. She asked me to pray for her and I realized that this is the perfect time.
I was ready to walk out the door to go shoot some of the folk dancing troop, or whatever it is that's going on tonight. The phone rings. A pleasant voice on the end of the line says "Excuse me, are you interested in ladies for sex?" I was taken aback, but I said, "Yes, but the lady I'm interested in is 6,000 miles away right now - No thank you," and I hung up. Lends a whole new meaning to the term "telephone solicitation."
We went to the children's dance troupe. Got some great footage of folk dancing and also a couple of interviews with some folks and people from our group meeting with the dancers afterward. Great material. Now they've just come for our bags and we're heading for the train to St. Petersburg.
3205 N.E. Kingsbriar Dr.
Lawton, OK 73507
We're aboard the "Strella." This is something new. A top-of-the-line train. It has better curtains than the other ones.
The story of the Moscow Hotel: The architects submitted two completely different plans to Stalin. He decided which one he wanted and verbally held it up for the architects to see and said, "This is the plan I want." Then, they went out and he signed the second plan by mistake. So, here he delivers the two plans back, one with a verbal approval and the other with the written approval. They were afraid to go back and ask him which was which. So, they ended up mixing the two. So, if you look at the Moscow Hotel, it's in two distinct styles.
We're speeding toward St. Petersburg. The party has broken up after our traditional reading from Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need. This is the third time we've had a compartment party with our whole group crammed into one compartment for the nightly reading from Dave. But everyone's going to bed now.
A travel note: You'll know that you're on one of the fancy trains because it has blue mood lights in the ceiling. (Dave: Whooooo!)
Monday, Feb. 8, 8:10 AM
We're rolling into St. Petersburg. The train didn't get so hot this time. It was 22 degrees centigrade this morning on board. Looks like it's raining outside, so it must not be as cold as it was in Moscow last night. Kind of funny, this is the second time we've come north to warmer temperatures.
Back at the Pulkovskya Hotel. We had a little delay getting into our room because Dave broke the key off in the lock. Exchange is 670 rubles to the dollar at the bank today and about 750 on the street. It's gone up about 100 rubles to the dollar in one week.
Just got done shooting some good distribution at one of the sites here.
We ate at a Chinese restaurant where they have "cabbage and some beef" and "pork that tastes like a fish." A little ambiance for your listening pleasure. (Chinese music plays on tape for a little while) This restaurant is called "Shanghai Restaurant." The won-ton is very good, only they don't call it won-ton. It's dumpling soup.
Voice of Alex: Bistini Vour y Nevsky Prospect (or something like that) - That's the Metro stop where you get off for Maple Alley. It's also Nevsky Prospect.
Absolutna Da - That's "absolutely yes"
Alex shares some more Russian expressions:
Pushavsna - "terrible"
Fignya - "bull____," not really a swear word here, but strong language
Statue in middle of St. Isaac's square is Nicholas II ("two points of support" - only support is by horse's two legs) The four people underneath him are his four daughters. A new fact to know and tell.
We were on our way back to the hotel and I spotted St. Isaac's. I thought, shoot, they're open 'till five. So, here we are now inside. Taking advantage of an opportunity. The French architect, Auguste Montferrand (1786-1858), who built the cathedral took forty years to build it, and he died eight days after it was finished. There are 1,000 tons of gold in this place. Most of the marble was imported from northern Italy. It's 101 meters from the floor to the inside top of the dome. The malachite columns are solid all the way through. The bases are guilded with gold. Interesting insight that in the orthodox way of thinking the name of God is not to be mentioned in everyday life. Only the people in the choir are allowed to sing.
There is a sculpture of Montferrand on display in the cathedral made in 1857. It is made of different colored marble; samples of the various marbles used in the building.
We just did the math, and at today's rate of $320.00 per ounce of gold, there is about a billion dollars worth of gold in the guilding of this place. So, the big question is how many rubles is that?
Half a million serfs died in the construction of this place.
In St. Isaac's there is no one spot to really take it all in. There is no perfect visual perspective. You wander around and every angle is a vista. From everywhere you look it fills up your eyes with a visual feast. Such incredible beauty, but at what cost?
The prices have changed to get in here. It's now 20 rubles, or 8 dollars for a foreigner.
From a plaque near the iconostasis:
The floor area is 10,000 square meters, or 2.47 acres. Construction took from 1818 to 1858. There are over 150 murals painted by 22 artists. The main inside iconostasis bear more than 60 mosaics which were made to copy paintings by some of the great Russian artists. There are over 500 reliefs and statues that decorate the vaults and walls. About 300 were made by the well-known Russian sculpture I. Vitali. For facing, large use was made of malachite, lapis lazuli, jade, granite, and various marbles. It's been a museum since 1931. It was considerably damaged during World War II and restored between 1947 and 1963. The main iconostasis measures 45 by 25 meters. The "Christ Resurrected" stained glass panel was built between 1841 and 1843. The surface is 28.5 square meters. It was made in Munich.
Alex says this place will hold 10,000 people for a service. (standing up)
The side door that you actually go in and out of is about a foot thick.
For us it's $140.00 a night at the Pulkovskya Hotel where we are. The Russian price is 6,000 rubles per night for two people.
Alex Kim was our delightful translator/guide. Here he tells some of his family history:
My grand-grand father came to Russia in 1916 to make some business here to the far east of Russia. He was on his way to go back home to Korea in 1917, but he was unlucky because the Russian revolution of 1917 took place and the Soviet authorities didn't let him away. My grandfather who was 15 years old at the time went to St. Petersburg to study at the year of 1920. He came to St. Petersburg minor's college and met my grandmother who was pure Russian. So my grandfather was pure Korean and my grandmother was pure Russian. That's why I'm one fourth a Korean.
Back at the Pulkovskya Hotel. I fell sound asleep on the bus on the way back here.
------------ Start of tape 3 ---------------
We've just finished eating the itsy bitsy chicken. This is a non-stop eating marathon today. All day long.
I ate some "something-grudinka," that is "tasty breast of pig."
Me speaking to friend Jenia Rudenko: "Say it slow"
Jenia: "Pashausta, pemisiti minyem cusno grudinku" Okay, that's please will you bring me some tasty breast of pig.
Pemisiti minyem, will you bring me. (several attempts by me on the tape with corrections from Jenia)
It is grudinka, but if you want it brought to you then it's grudinku. Six different cases, don't you know.
Just met Rainer Harnisch who's here and a fellow with him by the name of Brian Kelley who's a video guy. Maybe I'll get to see him tonight after the banquet.
Okay, a note here to get a copy of the Mission Volga tape to Jenia.
Note for grips to check the lights every morning before leaving the hotel. We got here and had a light that wouldn't work due to a faulty bulb or something. We have redundancy, but it's all back at the hotel.
Shot over at a big auditorium where lots of people were getting shoes. Now were on Nevsky Prospect about three or four blocks from the big tower where they used to signal to the summer palaces at the government souvenir store. Paul and I were here last time. They have an ice cream trailer outside and I'm on my second cone. We're standing here in the winter eating ice cream cones on the street. That maroshna was from the Penguin. Here's some other people with cones. It's a big day for ice cream.
Pashlee, that means "let's go."
I bought a little cast metal truck for Nathan for 249 rubles in another souvenir store that was across the street and down a ways closer to the tower actually.
We went over to Maple Alley and wandered around. The ground was totally covered with ice. Very slick and cold. Probably at least half of the booths were empty. Kind of a bad day for Maple Lane. I saw the chess sets that I've been eyeing since my first trip. The particular ones that these guys had were wet from melting snow or something. I talked to them a little bit and they were interested in trading for a Walkman, so maybe I'll go back and see what we can work out.
Canal Gribyedova - that's Jenia and Sveta's place (their street)
Staas says a long statement into the recorder. It's instructions to Jenia and Sveta's flat. He tells me it's in some accent that sounds like a gangster so the driver won't give me any grief. He thinks this is pretty funny. He also tells me that Gribyedova means "mushroom eater." That was somebody's last name.
Well, I got Rodney Love's driver, Sasha, who's been driving him around today. Sasha slept three hours last night. He drove 300 kilometers today and has had nothing to eat all day. He's quite tired, but he's trying to get me to Jenia and Sveta's place. He doesn't know exactly where their street is, so he's out asking someone right now. We were going to look at his map, but apparently he left it somewhere or forgot to put it in the car. He said that he's almost out of gas also, so it could be interesting.
Ploshod Torgenyova - the square down around the corner from the flat.
Toloney is tickets.
Voice of Sveta Yakushina:
Yes we used to have for trams, trolley busses, and busses, but now we have tolony for everything. (you buy these from the tram driver - about 2 rubles)
Muskovsky Prospect is where the Pulkovskya Hotel is. It's the road to the airport. If you go the other way, you're going more or less toward the flat.
Tuesday night, 1:30 AM
Back at the hotel after a wonderful evening with my friends at their new flat. It is roomy and comfortable and is coming along nicely as far as there "restoration" is going. It's going to be a very nice place when they get it all finished.
They used to have two apartments in two different places. Because of some red tape they had not been able to get their housing allocations as individuals in the same location. Eventually, though, they were able to trade their two flats to some families that were living in two flats that were adjacent to each other. Now they've made those two flats into one. As I mentioned earlier, they had to pay about $10,000.00, which was provided for them. This did not give them ownership as we would understand it, but gave them the permanent right to live there. Now they have the stamps in their passports, but they still have to pay monthly rent (or whatever the fee is called) of 200 rubles. Last year it was 12 rubles per month. Their gas fee is about 6 rubles per month. They may be able to fill out papers eventually that will allow them actual ownership, and then they will have to pay real-estate taxes.
Jenia said that this flat is a gift from God to them. It's so much better than the situation they were in a year and a half ago. They have a washing machine. Sveta and Masha did my laundry. They have a TV. Actually two; a little one in the kitchen. And a microwave. All the comforts of home! They even have their own hot water heater. The central system doesn't always work and when it does the water is yellow and smells bad. But the cold water is clear, so with their own heater they have clean hot water all the time. Well, not totally clean. They have to boil drinking water, but at least it's not yellow and sulfery. I think I mentioned earlier that they have a fax card in their computer and the ability to make direct calls. Their place is on a canal (mushroom eater canal). It's quite nice. Only bad thing is that it's a long way from a Metro stop.
Jenia fell asleep and then woke up to say good-bye. Masha and Sveta drove me back to the hotel in their 1978 Lada which took a while to get running. They were trying to show me how to ride the tram because it's quite a ways from their flat to the closest Metro stop. It's a bit complicated to get out to their place if you're not familiar with the tram system, which I'm not. They said they keep changing the routes almost on a daily basis, so it would be a hard thing for someone who doesn't know much about it to do it.
Here's an English spelling for matrushka from a sign: matryoshka. I don't know how good a translation that is because the same sign translates paper mache as "paper masher."
Pat Greene says her address and phone number into the recorder.
Pol Nikife - another word for "awesome." Kind of like "classna."
The little remote garages are one to two thousand dollars, Alex says.
Jenia and Sveta said that they had to pay $10,000.00 for the stamps in their passports to give them the right to live in the flat that they have now. That money was provided by a Bible society in Finland. They brought back all kinds of stuff from the States. Bathroom hardware, telephone jacks, and about a dozen doorknobs and lock sets. They got an old master craftsman to do their woodwork and doors. It cost them 8000 rubles per door; 6000 for the work and 2000 for the materials. The outer moldings he bought pre-cut but the panels were worked by hand. Quite nice.
What is one? - Perasho. And two is? - Perushkia. That's the little bread things with the good stuff inside. What are the big ones, I've seen big ones. - One big one is Perok. More than one are Peragi. We're talking about the little rolls or loaves of bread with cabbage and egg and goodies inside like one of the guys found in the park outside the Kremlin on the first trip here. They served us some of the little rolls here at the orphanage at a little tea.
Wednesday, Feb. 10, 5:00 PM
Alex has a very illustrative explanation of what it's like to ride on the Metro during the rush hour.
Voice of Alex:
If you want to get a free massage of all the parts of your body for free, you have to ride a Russian Metro either early in the morning or during the rush hour, like 5:00 PM in the evening and you will get a free massage from beginning from foot ending with your head. If you want to say it in slang you have to say like that. As one of my friends told if boy stands next to the girl in a very crowded trolley bus Metro, and if he is like a good person or a reliable one he will have to marry her. (laughs all around)
The sun is setting. Got done at the orphanage at about 5:30. Went to two and, interestingly, both had buildings that were laid out almost the same in terms of architecture. Both of them had what they called an auditorium, a small hall that was kind of connecting two parts of the building, and it had windows on both sides. It made it very nice to shoot in with lots of light. The kids at the second orphanage put on a program that lasted an hour or so. Kids from little tiny four year olds, probably, through jr. high age or so, maybe high school. They danced and some of them played the piano. They did folk dances. Some of them are quite good. One little girl named Tanya Ivanova, who is ten years old, almost eleven, was fabulous. They said she is the hope of the orphanage as far as making it as a dancer; she's so talented. She also plays the piano. I never really gave adoption a serious thought until this afternoon watching her dance. They said a family from Minnesota is going to be adopting her. She's been at the orphanage since she was one year old. By the way, I got some wonderful footage of the kids dancing and then afterwards of them getting their bracelets, candy, and toys being passed out. It was a veritable feast of children's shots. If a person couldn't get good kid's faces shots today, they better just put away their camera and forget about it. It was all just ripe for the taking today. The two other photographers along shooting stills had the same sentiments.
As I was putting the camera away, I was sitting there turning things off and a little girl, maybe five years old, came up to me, put her arm around my neck and gave me a big hug and a big smile. I about melted on the spot.
We're driving along here seeing a mosque which is being rebuilt. The story goes that it had been blown up by someone. Paul says it Persian style, like in Iran.
Wed., Feb. 10, 6:00 PM
We're going into a souvenir shop. Interesting situation: The driver of the bus is supposed to be finished by 7:00. We have to let him go or pay lots of money, like ten dollars is a lot of money. We were done at the orphanage at 5:30 and he has to be done by 7:00. The orphanage is one hour drive away from the hotel and the restaurant we want to go to is a half hour back, so he should be done by 7:00. Well, they said we wouldn't be able to quite make it and the driver didn't want to do that. Come to find out that if he brings a group to this particular shop, the shop pays him a fee. So, if we would come and look around this shop for a while, he'll get his fee and then will be glad to take us to the restaurant, even though it will be passed 7:00. So, the bottom line is, to solve our problem of not getting done in time, we're spending extra time. Welcome to Russia.
We're crossing a bridge. I'm looking out across the iced over Neva at a gorgeous sunset with the Peter and Paul Fortress in silhouette. There are some beautiful views in this city. The highest price at our hotel is $140.00 per night. There are seven prices for foreigners and eighteen different prices for Russians.
Stoa is 100. Ciemdeshet is 70. Stoa ciemdeshet is 170.
We're at the Sadko restaurant at the Europe Hotel. We realize walking up to this place that we'd eaten here before last time with Alla. As you remember there is no guide but Alla and more dollar is her prophet. Last time it was for lunch. This time it's for dinner and we have a guitar player over here getting ready to crank up.
The lasagna here and the ham and cheese salad has come highly recommended by one of the people in the group who was here the other night.
The lady who was the head of the second orphanage we were in today said that most of the kids in there have been taken away from their parents because the parents were alcoholics. A few of them are true orphans. Some of them were abandoned. A typical thing was that they were abandoned at the hospital at birth. The smallest percentage was from parents that could not take care of them.
Well, it's not just a guitar player, it's a whole reggae band. (sounds of Jamaica play on the tape for a while) This hotel is right across the street from that signal tower I mentioned earlier as a landmark. The cheapest room at the Europe Hotel is $190.00. The most expensive is over $500.00 and they're getting ready to raise the prices once again. It's a nice place to come and stroll through. There is a nice atrium area. Also, there is an American Express office.
Voice of Alex: Nastia is a Russian name for American Stacey.
Now I have a new pet name for my daughter.
I have some of these chemical warmers in my pockets courtesy of John Boberg. The kind that you just open the package and when the oxygen hits them they heat up. Really quite nice to have in your pockets on a cold night. They last about six or eight hours.
Down in the tunnels once again. (Sound of accordion and a drummer.) Voice of Dave: All I need is an accordion player and I'm set! (He's a drummer) That was Dave. The wheels are turning.
Outside our hotel are two auto carriers. One is loaded with brand-new Jeeps and the other has Cadillacs on it.
After we got back from the restaurant we spent quite a bit of time making arrangements for tomorrow's final shooting of the distribution and arranging for Paul and Kathy to get a tour of the Hermitage Museum in the afternoon. Perhaps we'll get over there tomorrow afternoon as well, we're not sure. After all this was arranged, our interpreter went home at about 11:00 PM. Then we started in on a meeting with Uri and his wife. This man is a chemist for a chemical company and he also works in a research institute. At night he works for a company that makes log house kits that are exported to European countries for vacation homes. He has three children and is involved with an association of about a thousand families that have multiple children. That is, and association of large families. They work together to try to help each other find work and make it through these difficult times. He is very interested in helping us show the situation in this country for the sake of these other families. He has invited us to come and shoot his family in his home, to show him in his various jobs, and to document a day in his life, which starts early in the morning and ends up late at night. He only gets to see his children awake on weekends, sometimes only on Sundays. He likes to go to church, but can only do so on holidays. Two of the guys here who have met him at their first distribution have developed a relationship and have had a chance to talk to him about spiritual things. He at first said he didn't believe there was any god in Russia; how could there be when things were so bad here? After talking to him he seems quite interested in Jesus Christ. We've been praying tonight that we would see him pray to receive Christ before we leave. We're planning to spend all day Friday with him and possibly Saturday morning as well.
A couple of notes on equipment squawks:
The Energex battery #00221, which had a new cell installed 10/5/92 will not go green. Something is wrong with it. Also, the microphone connector on the Ike for the on-board camera mic has a problem. It is shorting out.
About 7:30 this morning Uri called wanting to call off the whole shoot of his family and work and all. Apparently he's become frightened about who knows what. I told Dave I thought it was a spiritual battle going on here. Something is putting ideas in his mind to make him afraid. Dave tried to talk to him, but he basically said no. We're praying that we will still be able to get through to him and he'll change his mind.
He seemed very afraid of something. Afraid that something bad would happen to his family. He thought we were going to make him look bad somehow. He seemed convinced that we were not dealing truthfully with him. Talking to Alex Kim and some of the others there seems to be no reason to be afraid. That's all in the past, but somehow this information has not filtered down to everyone. Some simple people, like this poor fellow, are still living in fear. Maybe they have good reason as things are certainly subject to change here. It could easily fall back to something bad. In any case, some seem to be easily spooked.
Thurs., Feb. 11, 11:00 AM
We're in a large ruble store. There is a musical instrument department. They've got a piano here for 225,000 rubles. Chaikovsky brand. A big name in guitars here seems to be Hohner. Interesting. Thought they only made harmonicas. Also, there is quite a display of accordions.
I see stamp albums. Supposedly in this store there is an exchange office where one can get a cash advance on a Visa card. I'm going to go find out if that is true. Yes, you can get it with a 2% commission charge, but you have to have your passport and mine is over at the hotel. They are open until 20.00 (8:00 PM), and also on Saturday, so I'll get another chance, I guess.
Ah ha, I see some perfumes here. Maybe I'll grab some of these later on when I have some rubles. There are several Russian brands.
The Pulkovskya Hotel, where we are staying now is adjacent to the Siege Memorial and museum. Their was a lady scientist who was involved with the Novgorod school convocation and took us to the airport here on our way out of the country. We asked her to take us to Maple Lane, but there wasn't enough time, so she brought us to the lobby of this hotel where there are some shops. I just discovered this because the hotel has another lobby on the other side which we have been using. Upon entering on the other lobby, I recognized it from that brief stop on the first trip.
Oplishna - means "perfect"
Thurs., Feb. 11, 4:22 PM
I am at nursery school #33. Been here all afternoon and shot about an hour and a half's worth of tape. Some really good interviews with folks on the trip. Wonderful shots of little kids, and great stuff of kids getting shoes. Some kids have come in here from the cold wearing little knitted slippers. (During the shooting I thought these were their only shoes. Later I found out that their outside shoes were stored in lockers.) It was neat to see them getting winter boots. Met another lady from Naperville today. She goes to Naperville Bible Church. Trisha Brock. Shot interviews of her and of Pat Greene, also from Naperville.
Very different architecture here. The front and back of the building look the same. And the wings on each side look the same. It's so symmetrical that it's confusing to find your way through it. You go to another nursery school on the other side of town and it's the same.
We spent about 4 hours at that school. Altogether today I shot about 2 hours worth of tape including this morning at the warehouse. We got a couple of interviews there. My shoulder is pretty sore. The camera was on the shoulder all day today. It never went on the tripod.
We just stopped at the Aurora. (The military ship that fired the first shot of the Bolshevik revolution. Actually, it was a signal shot.) Originally we were going to go to the Hermitage museum today and the Aurora. Well, we ended up having a gold mine of a day shooting at the nursery school, so the Hermitage was out. We were going to still try to do the Aurora, but we got there right after it closed. So, it's back to the hotel. Tonight is a banquet. That should be nice.
I managed to read 3 books on this trip: A River Runs Through It and other short stories by Norman Mclean, Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need, and a novel by Ken Follet (I think that was the name.) The only thing I have left is Reader's Digest. Guess that will be the flight home.
The Cathedral of the Spilled Blood is in memory of Alexander II who was assassinated at that spot. Nicholas II was killed by the Bolsheviks. He was the last Czar.
(12/29/93 - A week or so ago I saw a piece on the TV show "Unsolved Mysteries" about Nicholas II's youngest daughter, Anastasia. The story goes that during the revolution, the whole family was taken away and kept in a house. During the night they were all awakened and led down to the basement. An execution sentence was read to them and then a squad of gunmen sprayed them all with bullets. Unknown to them at the time, a fortune in jewels had been sewn into the girls' corsets. The jewels may have deflected many of the bullets. Anastasia was supposedly still left standing after the rest of the family lay dying on the floor. All the bodies were taken out and buried. Along the way to the grave site, the truck carrying the bodies broke down. Two men were left with the truck and while they were waiting for another to come, the men discovered that Anastasia was still alive. They spirited her away and she was nursed back to health and escaped the country to spend years hiding in some kind of an asylum. She had many scars that could have been from bullet wounds. Someone who had been a devote of the Russian royalty finally recognized her and eventually some of the surviving Romanov family members came to see her and confirmed that she was really Anastasia. They did this not only by her looks, but by examining her leg abnormality and a cousin confirmed she knew things that only the two of them would have known from games they played together as children.
Since things have opened up in Russia, the grave of Nicholas II and his family has been made known and the bodies exhumed. Two were missing and none were found to be as young as Anastasia would have been. The man in charge on that night claims to have burned two of the bodies, but other witnesses reported that he said this to cover himself when two of the bodies came up missing.
Just when Anastasia was being authenticated by her surviving relatives, she mentioned to one of them a fortune of 300 million dollars (worth billions in today's money) that her father had deposited in a Swiss account. The relatives then changed all their stories and tried to discredit her so she would have no claim to the money. She never wanted the money, but just wanted to be recognized for who she was. It never happened and she died. Fascinating story.)
Ya plevu puetucheniu - "I swim with the river" That's a better way to say it than the last time they tried to teach me "we swim..." and I couldn't say it.
Back over at the Muscovska shop across from the Pulkovskya Hotel. I see they've got an enlarger here for 2700 rubles. That's less than $5.00. Here's a microscope for 3500 rubles. They've got Zenit 35mm single lens reflex cameras, model ET, brand new. One is 8875, the other is 9075 rubles. There is a 2 1/4 twin lens reflex camera, Rubitel Universal it says on it, for 1875.
The Visa card advance is at the booth of the Savings Bank of St. Petersburg, Muskovsky branch. This one happens to be #1877 in this store.
Whodathunkit. I got a cash advance on my Visa card. Then I went over and changed $10 into rubles at about 570 to the dollar. Then I paid 1160 rubles for a stamp book that I'll take home and put all the stamps in that I bought the first time I was here.
Friday, Feb. 12, 12:00 Noon
We've been waiting all morning for a chance to shoot a family that has some children which was the "plan B" after our friend who came by the other night at midnight backed out. They called him again last night and he said "Please don't call me anymore. I'm an honest man and I don't want to do this." So, anyway, Ron Black, who we've been waiting for, to set everything up is out shopping. We are not really mad at him, but we oughtta be. (laughter)
We're standing here on the dock at the warehouse. The warehouse is locked, and Ron has the key. Our friend who is shopping. And the gate to the yard is locked, so nothing can get out. So, there's some kind of a hassle here. How things can change overnight. It's amazing. Since we're not going to go shoot our planned thing for today, we were going to go over and be tourists, but I guess we're going to stand here and guard stuff on the dock instead. Someone had the marvelous idea to call Pizza Express and bring in pizza for lunch. Now there's a party!
Apparently, what's going on here is that somehow an agreement was made, unbeknown to anyone in the leadership of this operation, that anything left in the warehouse after the 11th, which was yesterday, would become the property of this district, wherein the warehouse is located. This is Miranov's district and it seems he made this agreement without telling any Americans. Miranov is on his way over to solve this problem, hopefully. Sounds like a bit of a communications snafu. This warehouse was provided free. Miranov arranged to have the use of it, and now it appears to me that the motivation was that anything left over would become property of the district. Who knows.
New word. Beastra (with almost an "L" sound after the B) - "hurry up!" Voice of Alex: This is "a" sound, this something in between like "e" in leave and "a" in live.
Vasile (the warehouse superintendent and a stand-up guy) says the thieves here have a 20 ton hydraulic tool that they can fit in a briefcase that they use for breaking walls and safes and such. I'm looking at a lock here that is massive. The bale of the lock is 3/4" stock, but it's aluminum alloy! (chuckles) Not the most secure thing in the world. But it sure looks impressive! As Vasile says, "It's defense against earnest men." We say, "It keeps an honest man honest." Nothing can stop the thief.
Blotnoy - is a man with connections. Blot - connections.
Podmoska - a slang word. Halfway between a gift and a bribe. I think there's a lot of podmoska around here.
We left the warehouse after pretty much just baby-sitting some stuff. Ate the pizza and had a nice time in the little cafe on the ground floor of the building. We loaded a couple of carts of boxes onto trucks. Actually did a little warehouse work. Miranov showed up, but the militia was still barring the gates and it's yet to be seen whether or not they'll let any stuff out of the yard. Anyway, we're leaving that to the relief crew who showed up. We went back to the hotel, saw Ron who has not gotten in touch with those people yet. Maybe tonight. So, we're going to go see some sights this afternoon and check in with him at dinner time.
We're finally going to the Hermitage. There were all kinds of little details happening at the hotel which delayed us. But, now we're on our way. We just passed the Navy research building and Lenin's statue is standing there and his coat is billowing out. The bus driver said he was passing wind.
3:30 PM Inside the Hermitage museum.
The Italian room is where the mosaic tables are that are so awesome. This one was done in 1846. Dave Zoellar, Alex Kim and I are enjoying some of the great art of the world. The mosaic tabletops are adjacent to the ambassador's staircase. A beautiful part of the building with lots of gold leaf.
Cockdela - "how are things?" An informal greeting.
We looking at Paul Gauguin. We've seen the Rembrandts. We've seen Henri Matisse, Monet, and of course, Picasso. There are several Matisse figurines.
I made it down into the Greek and Roman statuary area this time. Went by a vase that probably three people could take a bath in. There are quite a few halls filled with Greek and Roman stuff. We made a dash down here just before closing time and we're getting to see it all. Alex says he hasn't been here before. He's been in the museum about 20 times and we're in a whole wing of statues that he hasn't seen before. We have to petrapis - hurry up. The lady says it's closing time.
The latest low-down on the Hermitage is that you can pay $16.00 at the hotel and you get a tour with a guide. Or you can come over here and pay 200 rubles and get an entrance ticket, but you get no tour guide.
We're looking for a chess set now. We went into a little shop, but they didn't have what I wanted. Now we're going over to Maple Alley. Picked up a gal name Katrina from our group, who missed her bus at the Hermitage. A couple of Russian girls are with her. We just saw a whole dump truck load of pig's feet. Some guy drove up behind and bought a few of them.
Alex says it's Maple Alley, not Maple Lane as I may have called it somewhere above.
Klenovya leya - Maple Alley
The Rostrall columns are the big red towers with the ends of ships poking out of them. They were lighthouses originally, fired by gas.
Friday, Feb. 12, 7:15 PM
We went to Maple Lane. It was dark and everyone was leaving. I went around and nobody had the chess sets. The guys were gone. I went out and Alex had talked to a guy who had them. Turns out that the guy I talked to the other day was there. We went on the bus and I found the perfect chess set. It came from his storage place and hadn't been outside to get wet like the others. He wanted $110.00 for it. I traded my Walkman with headphones (that I had paid $17.00 for) and $70.00 cash and did the deal. I bought 3 watches from another guy for $27.00.
Padoshdedia - "wait"
Somacheche - "crazy"
Chocknate - "crazy"
Krishepyekova - "crazy", literally "the roof is sliding"
Whoa! Three words for the same thing. I can't keep them all straight.
Feb. 12, 11:20 PM
We've been to the Choika, the "Seagull" place for the world famous apple something or other. Let's see, who all's here? Mark Brusard is here, and Ellen Werner, Trisha Brock, Pat Greene, and Rochelle Abate. We've all had apple stuff and a fun time. We rode a taxi and we're all going back on the Metro now. None of them had been on the Metro yet and this was their last chance.
Okay, I need a third party to explain this situation here.
Voice of Trisha:
Well, the situation now is that some young Russian impersonating a Frenchman comes down, tries to give us champagne bottles, I don't know, I think maybe selling. But, anyway, insisted that Dan take a bottle. So, in turn, Dan shares a pack of Wrigley's Big Red gum and the Four Spiritual Laws just to balance things out a little bit.
1:00 AM Back at home sweet hotel
Said good-bye to all my new friends. They're all leaving in the morning. It was nice to get everybody out of the hotel and ride 'em on the Metro. Everybody seemed to have a great time. They said it was a fun way to spend the last night. I've had a lot of people show me a good time and it was kind of fun to be able to be the spark plug to help some other folks have a some fun. Besides, no trip to Russia is quite complete without riding the Metro.
I've been trying to call Jenia and Sveta's place, but either there's something wrong with the phone, or I'm not dialing right, or they've been on the phone for the last hour. They did tell me the other night that the phone rings until about 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning every night, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised if it's busy. We're supposed to spend the day with them tomorrow and I'm supposed to set that up tonight. Maybe I'll just have to wait 'till morning. Looks like we're going to be shooting a fellow at his apartment Sunday morning about 10:30 or so. We may get our Russian family yet.
Friday, Feb. 13, 12:00 Noon
Got up this morning for breakfast, I think for the first time in this city this time. Then talked on the phone for quite a while with Steve (not his real name) and then Billy Patterson who has been here for the better part of this year. He's doing some video work. We were discussing some ideas about using video here in the ministry.
I was supposed to spend the whole day here with Jenia, Masha, and company. We were a little delayed. Rode the bus over to their flat and now we're riding to the medical center with Jenia and friend Andrew (the computer whiz.) Dave Zoellar is along, but he's getting ready to bail out and go see Jill Marbach again.
Jenia's mighty, red, '78 Lada has gotten us here in one piece.
On Feb. 17, four days from now, Jenia is going to be at an auction. They're going to try to buy a building which will house a (Voice of Jenia:) Christian bookstore, medical clinic, a hotel for missionaries, and a Christian coffee bar. (!)
(12/29/93 - They ended up getting a very large space for his clinic in a hospital)
Voice of Jenia:
Maybe in future, church, but for this we need big hall, more than 100 square meters. And Bible institute. Bible institute want to combine with us. He want to have some buildings separate, but maybe in part of this building we can give for Bible college. It depend how many space we have. Because, it's house not big, but big amount of land. It's very big space. (i.e.: the place they were going to bid on at the auction) Me: Can you build on that land? Jenia: Yes, we can build more for space. Take more space, we can build maybe underground we can build something. If it's possible we make big project. It depends everything because it's inflation very high and every time, but sometime, but now I discuss with building corporation. If we pay one time all amount money, it don't go up because he put this money to bank and protect from inflation. If we pay now everything, we can make contract. But since this is a Russian corporation. We cannot use foreign corporation because it's very expensive, but maybe some foreigner Christian can help us and build this, and maybe from Canada and from America come and live in small container nearby this house. But, first we have to buy and later...
Me: Is it one piece of property you have in mind, or are there several that are possibilities?
Jenia: Ah, several possibilities. But it's depend how develop our relationship with authority, local authority of this region. If we help this district very much, he help us.
We have close contact with St. Nicholas hospital, it's children's hospital. Usually chief doctor of this hospital coming for Bible study. Me: This is where you have the storage place? Jenia: Yes, yes. And he gave us maybe more than 100 square meters. Me: Is this a warehouse? Jenia: No, no, this is a usual hospital place, but we use for storage. And it's very nice because it's, some people stay here and take care and it's very secure. And we don't pay for this. But same time, we provide for her so many things. For example, now she has problem with glucose and with send it and we help to buy glucose and sulfur in England. Vehicle from Mission Europe and England bought glucose and send here and now we bought the children milk because it's same problem. We try to help for children and she help us with storage place and whatever. But, usually what we have we have spiritual contact. We have Bible study and what I develop first is spiritual contact and after this we have this job relationship. It's very important, because if we first build practical relationship, it's very bad. But if we first build spiritual relationship and next step job, it's work. It means it's Jesus' job, it's not our job. Because I realize we make many mistakes because we try to make deals with people, but not first spiritual relationship. But now you know Rainer (Harnisch) send word to us and some problem with Nishny Novgorod because someone take computer. Me: Oh really? Someone stole it? Jenia: Yes, yes. I don't know exactly what happening because it's far. Some people coming after time. Me: Now, what's in Nishny Novgorod? Jenia: Nishny Novgorod, it's one of Mission Volga cities. This is a computer for communications center and he sent with van, but someone stole.
Feb. 13, 3:37 PM
We moved some boxes and things over there at the medical center office. (This is the flat that Rainer Harnisch procured. He stays in it when he's in town.) We left Andrew over there. Jenia and I had tea and cookies and berries. Kind of a berry jam with Masha's mother who was there cleaning and cooking getting ready for Rainer who is coming in this afternoon. Then we got in the car and took Dave over to meet Jill Marbach at the Russia museum which I've not been to. Now we're back over here at the flat and I'm sitting here drinking tea and having bread and grudinka. Tasty breast of pig. It's kind of like bacon. Smoked pork; really quite delicious.
We're supposed to go over to the airport at about 4:30 to pick up Rainer. Then there's a banquet tonight at 7:00 at the Astoria Hotel for all the translators and Russian helpers from Operation Carelift.
-------------- Beginning of tape 4 -------------------
Sat., Feb. 13, 9:15 PM
We've just finished a wonderful dinner in a beautiful hall with sconces on the walls, beautiful arches and mirrors. A gorgeous room at the Astoria Hotel (the one Hitler had planned for his victory party that never happened) with all the rest of the team that is still here. This was a dinner in honor of all the Russian friends who helped, the interpreters, drivers, security guards, and others who helped out. We had steak and vegetables and maroshna (ice cream) and lots of Pepsi and other good stuff to eat. Martha has been sitting next to me. (Jan Saulsberry's assistant) Say hello, Martha. Martha: Hello Martha. Me: And Sveta is sitting on the other side. We've been joking. Say hi. Sveta: Hi! Me: There's proof positive. And Jenia is the next one down Jenia: Hi! Me: And we've had a great time.
I told the vodka story from my last trip to Sveta as we were eating desert and she doubled over laughing. I have a feeling I'm going to get a lot of mileage out of that story.
Last night over at the Choika I told the two motorcycles story from New Guinea. I got a laughs for that one too. I have really gotten a lot of mileage out of that one.
I think I may have mentioned this earlier. Daryl Link caught me this morning at breakfast and said that Uri called him this morning and apologized for acting harsh with him the other day and he felt that he couldn't show the life of a Russian family in one day of shooting. But, he was sorry he had told Daryl not to call him back. Anyway, so they parted friends. That was really nice, especially for Daryl. (Daryl was a young farmer from the Midwest somewhere who was a volunteer on the trip. Meeting Uri was a major event of the trip for him and when things went sour it was a painful disappointment. I was so glad that the situation resolved before he left.)
Note: on the last tape (#3) I ended up turning it over from side B to side A and recorded over a couple minutes. So, the beginning of A belongs at the end of B and I lost a little of whatever had been on A.
Minyazavut - My name is...
After the dinner I rode with Jenia, Sveta, Masha, and Staas to the Hotel Moskva where Brian Kelly is staying. He is an American who's been in Germany for 7 years with Crusade Europe. He and another fellow are engaged in marketing video programs from Christian producers to secular TV stations. They have a catalogue and total package that looks fairly innocuous, but it still delivers a Christian message and they're having quite good success getting this stuff on the air. He's delivering, it looks like, about 6 or 8 hours worth of Betacam SP material to channel one, which is one of the major stations here in Russia.
Just rode the Metro back from the Moskva. I followed a family through the tunnel onto the train; A mother, father, two little girls, and the grandparents came along. As the doors closed on the train, the grandparents waved good-bye and the little girls were kissing just before the doors closed and waving back. Quite a touching little scene. Then the mother, father, and little girls settled into the seats. The father was snuggling one of his daughters. They were really tired. It was a very tender little scene. Daddy's are the same about their little girls all over the world. No matter where you go, people love their families.
Now I'm on the street walking back from the Metro stop to the hotel. I'm really quite delighted with the way this trip has worked out. We got pretty good coverage of Operation Carelift, I think. I've made some wonderful friends. Made a new one today: Brian Kelly. Had a great time with my Russian friends. And I'm really quite excited about the potential of actually coming over here for an extended stay. There is something about this city that does draw me. Normally I'm not much for cities. Being out in the bush is what usually appeals to me. But, I do enjoy this city. I enjoy the people. I'm starting to be able to at least catch names and am getting a few peeks into the language. This afternoon over at Jenia's place they were all helping me to learn some words and phrases and giving me some insight into the complexity of the language. There seem to be more exceptions than rules.
I just witnessed a sad little scuffle between a man and a wife on the street as their little daughter looked on rather fearfully. It was as sad as the other scene I saw a few minutes was happy.
Looks like a whole wagon train of trucks from western Europe has pulled into the hotel tonight. There are about 8 of them here sitting in the front parking lot. They sure make some cool looking trucks in western Europe.
Back at the Pulkovskya. I sure have packed a lot into this day.
Jan and Chuck are here with Dave. They've been watching footage. Chuck and who? Jan: Brian. Chuck and Brian broke in my new chess board with the first game. So, it works, apparently. Jan was here to witness; here's her report:
Jan: It worked. I wasn't really sure what all the directions were that the pieces moved in. I saw some pretty creative moves going on there. But, the game ended and they declared a winner, so I would say it worked.
Me: Sounds like we had a couple of chess masters here on the premises tonight. Boris Spaasky, watch out.
Sunday, Feb. 14, 8:45 AM
This morning I have one more short thing to shoot at a family's flat, if it works out. Then we leave the country for Helsinki this afternoon where we will spend the night.
Once again, it's the bitter-sweet experience of leaving this place. I didn't sleep very well last night. There's such a range of emotion when you've met wonderful people from virtually all over the world, and it's time to say good-bye. As always is the case in times like this, I think of heaven and look forward to endless fellowship when we won't have to say good-bye.
Of course, I desperately want to get back to see my family, but I've enjoyed my old and new friends so much that it hurts to realize that I won't see them again for a long time. Some of them, maybe not until heaven.
At breakfast. The group leaving yesterday had a little bit of hassle getting out through customs. The Aranzas had a lot of matrushka dolls and ended up having to pay about $100 in duty. They originally wanted $500, but he talked them down. Then, I believe one painting, two ornamental daggers, and a trumpet that someone paid $15 for were left behind. They wanted $30 duty for the trumpet. I picked up a customs information form last night at the other hotel. It said that you can take out 300 rubles worth of stuff, which is about 50 cents worth, and after that the duty is supposed to be 600%. Fortunately, they don't really go by it, but that's the letter of the law. I'm a little nervous about getting my medals out. I'm hoping that I can do it.
I've been sitting here eating breakfast with Tamara, the Intourist connection here. She just was telling me that her husband is a cameraman. He's made a lot of documentary movies on the Bolshoi Theater and a lot of sports movies. One of his sports pieces won a silver medal at a Vienna festival. So, we exchanged addresses and maybe I'll get to meet him one of these days. They live in Moscow.
Bleenie - the little pancakes
Pelemenye - boiled dough, like a dumpling
Pieyekale - we go (by car or bus or train)
Pashlee - we go ("if just by walk")
Vocabulary tips by Igor (#2) who is driving a right side drive Toyota Tercel as we're racing back to the hotel.
Igor: It is quite familiar, 'cause you called it Tercel. It's not Tercel, it's Corsa. It looks like Tercel. More powerful.
We were supposed to leave at 11:30, but we'll make it somehow. The plane leaves, actually not 'till 4:00 or something, but the bus leaves in a hour and 45 minutes and we're a half hour from the hotel and my stuff is all over the room! (laughter in the car) Deb came along in Dave's place this morning. Dave went to church with Jill. What's your last name? Deb: Shipley. Me: I knew that. S-h-i-p-e...? Deb: l-e-y, S-h-i-p-l-e-y. Me: That's Debbie. She's from Baltimore. Deb: Hi, Bob! (laughs) Me: She's saying hi to Bob. We've told her all about Bob. (Rictor, our single coworker at home, also from Maryland.) Deb: I say "werter" too. Me: So, there you go. I mean, what more can you ask? Anyway, we're going to send Debbie a picture of Bob. (she laughs) You know, a bio sheet and big boxes for a check mark: yes or no! Well we've had a good time. Deb gets to have 2 more weeks of a good time before she goes home.
Igor's daughter, Julia, gave us some little gifts of some little pins. On the cover it says "toys from Zagorsk," and the pins depict toys made in Zagorsk which is where we went two weeks ago. Very lovely.
Voice of Igor:
When I was as small as Julia I started with badge collecting. I can't say that I continue with this now, but my collection of badges is big enough to involve Julia in this activity, so she is my helper.
Julia's birthday was yesterday. She's 8 years old and we brought her a little bag of candy and gum and cookies and things.
Igor (Julia's Dad): "The best thing for children: chewing gum and candy."
So, she had a big smile when she saw it anyway.
A discussion is recorded on the tape about cleaning up neighborhoods.
Dad: A couple of times a year, usually these days were the birthday of Lenin and maybe just in advance of, the eve of the October Revolution.
Me: So everyone would work on cleaning the streets and outside buildings and things like this.
Dad: Yes. Of, course it helped to keep the city clean. Just, ah, along with what Igor said, people were first. And when there is no party ruling and no one can force people to do it there result is dirty streets and people don't care about it.
Igor: They are complaining and complaining. Everywhere you can hear it in the buses and in the crowds on the street. They are complaining, "Ah, the city is so dirty, everything is so bad," but they are sure that somebody must to do it. Somebody, you know, but not me. The local authorities, city authorities, they must organize, they must do it, but nobody thinks about himself.
Dad: I hope to think that it can be the future of Russia. I don't want to think so, but it can be a future of Russian people of 80's or 90's, people complain but don't find any strength in themselves to do something. To do cleaning.
Igor: And you know, to tell you the truth, the bad side of your very kind and good activities, this humanitarian aid, the bad side I can see is I can notice, I can hear people talking, many, many people, they are now expecting that. They don't think about getting a good job and earn money. They are just thinking about next time maybe somebody else will come and will bring us something else. This time it was shoes. Maybe next time they will bring us clothes. This is the wrong way.
Igor: Last year I used to work with JDC, an American group, distributing food in this area. A Jewish organization. I could hear people talking, I mean a lot of people, who were getting this aid and some of them were complaining, "Ah, but it's too small, this parcel is too small, there is nothing in it. Oh, we were expecting, oh, something, oh!" They were telling me, "Please tell them for the next time, I want shoes, I want a coat" and like this.
Late May to late June is the time of "white nights."
Well, Igor has been telling me that the family has some relatives that live about an hour's drive outside of the city in the forest near the gulf of Finland. It's a beautiful county spot.
Sunday, Feb. 14, 1:00
Valentine's day. I love you Esther!
We got back here to the hotel. Dave is still not here. He went to church today. We haven't heard from him so don't know what's going on. Igor gave us his address. So it would be nice to come back here and see him again.
He told us an interesting story that we videotaped. It's still not possible to actually own a flat here, although there is some kind of a paper you can get that is pretty close to ownership. At least no one can kick you out of you place in the current state of affairs. I think I talked about this earlier in relation to Jenya and Sveta's place. Well, their aunt, the wife's aunt, is retired and she spent some months working out a situation where an 86-way move happened. If you want to move to a different flat, you have to get the people there to move to another flat and the people from that one have to move to yet another flat. It's a big musical chairs type of exchange. This woman put together an 86-way exchange so they could get into the flat they are in. It's quite nice compared to some of the others I've been in. The location, as in all real-estate, is the primary factor. They are right near the center of town and right by a metro stop. And they are on the top floor, which for security reasons is preferable when you're in the downtown area, they tell me.
We shot pages and pages of a graphic chart she made up. It looked like a big flow chart of individuals moving in together and families splitting up. There was a divorce and they wanted to separate. That's how they initially got into the place they are in. A couple was divorced and wanted to get two separate places. It was a phenomenal thing. The people in the housing authority here, or whatever it is, said that the trade that she arranged was the biggest one ever in the history of the city. They commended her at being so skillful at talking people into moving.
Okay, I got a little banner here for a buck with Lenin on it.
Rigor's voice: On top it says "Welcome to the victory of communism. V.I. Lenin." On the bottom it says, "The team of the communist behavior."
3:15 At the airport.
We made it through customs. We had a mad dash to get everything packed in less than an hour. Crazy, crazy, but we made it here. Unfortunately Jenya and Sveta and Masha have not shown up to see us off, so I haven't been able to say my good-byes which is sad. If they don't show in the next couple of minutes I'll miss them altogether. But, we got all the stuff through customs. No problems. Looks like my x-ray avoidance system worked.
Voice of Dave: "Thank you for shopping in St. Petersburg"
Now, if we can just get it all back to the States.
Well, we're 210 kilos total. We're allowed 20 a piece. So, we're a little overweight here with our 9 cases. $514 for the St. Petersburg - Helsinki leg. We'll see how much it will be for the other leg. Could be more.
We were all concerned about getting through customs and the only question the lady had for me was, "What is that bracelet you're wearing on your wrist?" So, I quickly went through the gospel with the colored beads bracelet and gave it to her and she was real happy.
I'm looking at a book in the airport. They want $40 for it. It's called "Imperial Splendor: Palaces and Monasteries of Old Russia." A Prince George Galitzine. It's all exteriors. It's about Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novgorod, a lot of places I've seen. Beautiful photography. Maybe next time. They also have some models of Soviet WWII fighter planes. The Yak-3, looks like an Ilusian-153 biplane. Also and Ilusian-2 which kinda looks like a Stuka dive bomber. $9 for ea. of those. But I think I'll pass. (on a later trip I got some of these models for a couple of dollars ea.)
Also they have Balalaikas here for $100 that you can buy for $20 anywhere else. There are bottles of champagne like the one that was given to me the other night for $9. Levi's denim shirts for $45. Levi's sweatshirts for $39. Here is a chess set that is not nearly as nice as the one I got with a price of $319 on it. So, things are a bit steep in airports all over the world.
Hey, these are nice: sweatshirts with the Moscow Metro map on the front. You should never get lost in one of these. $21.40.
4:45, aboard Finnair flight 713
We're supposed to leave in 5 minutes for Helsinki. Everything is on board safe and sound.
Well Jenya and the girls never did make it so I missed my good-byes. I'll have to come back.
We are rollin' out of St. Petersburg and the wheels are coming up. We've taken off to the west and just passed over a military airbase with a bunch of Hind helicopters lined up in a row along with a lot of other aircraft.
We're on the ground in Helsinki. That flight was only about 35 minutes long.
A note here: the square in the back of the Hermitage, opposite the river, is called the Palace Square. The building with the chariot on top is the General Staff Building. The big column is the Alexander Column. The poster in my office is of the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, also known as The Sailor's Church.'
Maybe I'm wrong, it could be Smolney Convent Cathedral.
9:00 Russia time. 8:00 here in Finnland.
We're at the Rosso-something pizza restaurant, down in this business district. Had some good pizza. The thing crust was better than the hand tossed. For desert we had raspberries in caramel sauce with ice cream and cappuccino. The raspberry and blackberry tart also looked real good, but if you come to Helsinki, this is a great spot for dinner. Much cheaper than the hotel and not a far walk from the Intercontinental where we are staying. Delicious. I have a happy tummy and I think I'll sleep like a baby.
Brian and I are walking back from the movies. (laughter)
On a whim we went in and watched a movie on the way back from dinner. It's now snowing. We're just thinking that it was worth our 35 Finnmarks, or about $7, just to say we did such a crazy thing.
Feb. 15, Monday morning, 1:20am
Back in Alabama it's the afternoon of Feb. 14, still Valentine's Day. I tried calling about an hour ago. Talked to my father-in-law. Esther was gone, but I just caught her and talked for about 20 minutes. Had to wait up, but I just couldn't miss Valentine's Day.
Monday morning, Feb. 15, 10:00am
We're sitting in the restaurant here at the Intercontinental eating a delicious breakfast with some of the most outstanding bacon I've ever eaten in my life. I wish we could get some like this at home. Very tasty, smoked.
Last night Esther said that the kids have been pestering her every day, "When is Dad coming home?" Stacey said, "I want Dad to come home and THEN have Valentine's Day." Esther said that the missions conference at Springville Road went very well. She said she talked about Russia the people were extremely responsive. She was very pleased with how it went. (But we never did get any regular support from that church.)
Here's a note about a book Dave's talking about: Max Lucado. "Six Hours One Friday," and "The Applause of Heaven."
"Thank You" in Finnish is "Keetos."
Monday, Feb. 15, 12:45pm
In about an hour and 15 minutes we should be taking off in a DC-10-30 for the Finnair flight to JFK in New York. I'm wanting to be with my family again so badly right now. I just wish I could bottle this feeling and during the times when the kids are irritating me or there are hassles at home I could open it up and take a wiff of what I'm feeling right now for my family.
Thinking back on some of the conversations I had here:
Steve (not his real name) said that things are changing here already spiritually in St. Petersburg anyway. A year ago, 9 out of 10 people you talked to would be open to talking about spiritual things, now maybe 6 or 7 out of 10 are open. He said the trend would no-doubt continue. So, what we've all been saying about the window of opportunity being open but closing slowly is already happening.
Steve and his wife were back in the States for about 8 months and have been back in St. Petersburg for about a month. Staas, one of the Christian leaders among the young people there sat across the table from Stewart and said, "Well, you Americans just don't have the clout you had a year ago."
Finnair flight 101 is rolling on the start of our 9 hour flight to JFK. The ground roll took 30 seconds to lift off. 45 seconds after breaking ground we're in the soup.
We're 47 minutes into the flight. The cloud layer has broken. I'm looking down at what I think is Sweden for the first time. There are lots of trees. There's lots of snow. And roads here and there. Some of them looking like they might be impassable.
The Mickey Mouse cartoon is over. The map is back on the video screen and yes, we are over Sweden after having passed over the Gulf of Finland and we're right over the middle part of northern Sweden. So, I've finally gotten a glimpse of the land of my ancestors. With any luck this clear weather might hold and I might get a view of fjords when we pass the Norwegian coast.
The clouds are closing in again under us. Bummer.
We've passed the coast and are out over the Norwegian Sea, which I can see beneath the clouds below. But, unfortunately, all the way over Norway the cloud deck was solid. So, no fjords this time.
It's dinner time.
11:15pm our body time, 4:15 eastern
We just coasted in over New York. We're about ready to turn onto the approach to JFK after almost 9 hours in the air.
On final approach. The approach has been a curving course to the threshold. Wheels down at 8 hours, 58 minutes and 58 seconds. (sound of clapping)
And so it starts: the delightful experience of jet lag.
We're rolling out of JFK.
10:00pm, on the ground in Orlando
1:30am, Dave Zoller's apartment
I repacked all my stuff. Put some in a box. I dug out all the stuff I hid in the equipment cases and I'm repacked and ready to go.
Tuesday, Feb. 16, aboard USAir flight 5566
This is a Beechcraft 1900-D "airliner." It's a high ceiling cabin, wingletted, souped up version of the old Beach 99 airliner which is basically a stretched King Air. It's clear, blue skies, sunny, calm winds. A beautiful morning to fly.
8:46 we're rolling.
Been on the ground here at Jacksonville for about a half hour or so after a 40 minute flight from Orlando. Got about another hour flight to go to Birmingham.
We're up in the air on our way to Birmingham. Tried to talk to Bill Parnell there at Jacksonville and called Esther. Didn't get to talk to Bill but left a message for him.
On final approach. Just broke out of the soup at about 300 feet. Took almost 2 hours to get here bucking the headwinds and flying around the cells. I got invited up to talk to the captain. Getting on the plane we had chatted a while and he invited me to come up during the flight, so I did. He showed me all the toys in the new cockpit of this thing - the EFIS displays and all. Told him about my experience flying the Antonov in Russia last year and he wants me to send him a copy of the article (which I did.)
It was beautiful around Jacksonville. Then it started clouding up and the radar started showing some red sections. It looked like it was going to get bouncy, so I came back to my seat and strapped in again. It hasn't been too rough though - just a little bumpy.
11:59 Wheels on the ground.
It's wonderful to be back with everybody. (family sounds in the background) So, the captain of the USAir was Terry Zarnowski who lives in Jacksonville. A neat Christian guy was driving the airport shuttlebus and took us over to our van. Had a nice meal at Pizza Hut.
Esther: "Here, have some good American popcorn."
Now we're all sitting here ready to watch a Disney movie. Nice to be home.
Me to Esther: What do you have to say into my journal for the last page?
Esther: "I'm ready to have a nervous breakdown. Dan, don't you ever do this to me again!" (laughter all around)
Copyright �1998 by Dan Philgreen - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED