No way could this be Natasha, she wouldn’t waste any more of her time, plus didn’t she have a job to do??? This time it was ANOTHER food services girl by the name of Tatyana! Tanya was about eight years younger than Natasha and was prettier in my eyes. She had no real reason to come to my cabin except she probably had heard from her colleague about the American in Cabin number 2 who spoke really great Russian and was traveling alone.
|Tanya and me|
We talked some and after about ten minutes she started asking the same question Natasha did, “can you buy us some champagne”? She said it’d be fun, we could talk and get to know one another and besides what else was there to do, we had two more days on the road. She explained that life on board the train for them was very boring. They worked a few hours during the day but the rest of the day was spent watching the scenery go by and sleeping. So, what better entertainments than try to swindle a nice American guy like me into buying champagne? I politely declined, but she kept pushing and pushing hard. Finally her beauty and charm broke me wide open and I agreed! She was overjoyed, so she went back to get Natasha.
A few minutes went by and who should walk into my cabin but Natasha looking pretty smug as if she’d just pulled a huge coup, she’d gotten the “foreigner” to buy them champagne!! I gave her my credit card knowing in my heart I should’ve just kept saying no. You’d’ve thought I’d’ve learned my lesson after being swindled out of $60 or 400 Chinese RMB back in Shanghai for a “tea festival”, see “Teachable Moments”.
I opened the bottle and pop, the party in my cabin had begun!! The girls loved every moment of it, toasting to our "friendship" and talking about all types of different things. Their Russian sometimes was hard to understand as they spoke very fast. I was pretty disappointed in the alcohol, I thought it was going to either make my Russian perfect or get some type of romantic action from one of the girls, neither of which happened. Tanya asked what I would be doing once we arrived in Novosibirsk, a 45-minute stop (the longest of our two-day stops and Russia’s third largest city). I said nothing really! She proposed we go walking together around the city. I was super excited!!
Eventually after swindling me out of about 1,300 rubles or $20 worth of champagne the girls went back to the restaurant car. Once the train pulled up to Novosibirsk I disembarked and saw Natasha on the platform smoking. She said Tanya was doing something and it was best for me to go walking by myself. What little result of our champagne party in my cabin quickly melted away like snow flurries in the middle of April!
|Left to right: Natasha, me and Tatyana|