Saturday, May 28, 2011

Last night in Moscow

On our last night we were a group at the restaurant of the hotel: one Russian, one Dutchman, one German and two South Africans. This is what I enjoy about travelling, mixing with all these different people, learning about different perspectives.

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."
Mark Twain

...nothing so liberalizes a man and expands the kindly instincts that nature put in him as travel and contact with many kinds of people.
- Letter to San Francisco Alta California, dated May 18th, 1867; published June 23, 1867 Mark Twain

What a clever man! And it can be travel anywhere, it does not have to be in other countries, but go and travel in your own town, often people only see the "sights" when they have to show other people around. (that includes me!)

What was our surprise when I heard a man speaking with a distinct Afrikaans accent from across the room, then we hear more people speaking thus... The South African Embassy comes once in 3 months together in a bar on a Friday, and once in 6 months they invite the other South Africans living in Moscow to come along, and we managed to be there with this combined group. A jolly lot, full of jokes, a Herman and a Henry, and Henry's wife came over.

When they left I called a young man, named Theo Prinsloo over, just because I loved his typical Afrikaans accent. He grew up in the Free State and got his engineering degree in Pretoria. He told us funny stories about his time in Iran, and how innocent Afrikaans words like "goeie" has a rather dirty meaning in Russian.

He said in Iran the language was a real problem. So as he was working along with the Iranians, he would show them thumbs up when things went well, some times with both thumbs. Only later did they tell him that thumbs up is the same as sticking up your middle finger, and that his name among the workers was f$ck finger!

Piet and I went to bed at 12.45am and got up at 2.45. We are sitting in the Heathrow lounge, spending a full 12 hours before we can get a flight home. Normally I would have taken the Express train into London, but now with the old leg...

Thank you for all the people e mailing, phoning smsing about my leg, I had no idea so many people read my blog! My leg is much better, and I am very greatful.


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