May 12. 2005
The Calm Before the Storm...sunny and hot
Since we don't have to go to Serov, we sleep in. Well, sort of. I know Wendy will want to go to breakfast so I get up at 8am. Katya stops by so Wendy can sign a document and then we eat and look at the remaining pictures we had printed the day before. Katya took six photos for the judge so we have seven left. I try to figure out which ones went but I can't remember them all.
After breakfast, we hit the town. I quickly shed my fleece as it's damn hot outside but still, you wouldn't know it by looking at the locals. We go and exchange money at the bank. We stand in line and someone who's obviously a bank employee comes out and says something to me. I give him my very best blank expression in response. He says "Change?" and I say "Da?" and he leads me to a booth where I can exchange my pretty American fifties into pretty Russian rubles.
Armed with the correct currency, we go down to the souvenir row where I bought Alex his nesting dolls in November. It's much more crowded now that the temperature is above zero. We scan the tables but nothing catches our eye so we go off in search of the ГYM store (GUM store...think Macy's or Filene's) and the bookstore. We find neither so we end up at our same grocery store for snacks and drinks.
We get back to the hotel around 12:30pm and do some laundry in the bathtub. We're at a disadvantage here in the hotel because we're lacking in appropriate drying space but we are nothing if not resourceful so we manage.
Then we spend the rest of the afternoon watching random shows and playing video games. Wendy writes out answers for tomorrow's court visit and then kills brain cells with mad amounts of Tetris. It's good for stress. Around 5:30pm, I call Joe and to be nice and help us save our phone cards, he calls back. He's then good enough to check the weather forecast for us. (Nothing but sun, heat and humidity. It's Siberia. What else would you expect?) After that, he's nice enough to email a bunch of people on our behalf and tell them random things. What a good guy!
Just as Wendy is taking the hairdryer to our clothes to help expedite the drying process, Katya calls to check up on us. She says to be ready to leave for court tomorrow at 2:20pm. Then it's back to playing video games as the random TV watching has really played itself out. Why is the selection better at 3am than now?
We go to bed at 11:30 after we realize how late it really is. It's not our fault the sun doesn't go down! But we settle in for the night. Big day tomorrow after all.