Told You It Gets Cold Here!

Told You It Gets Cold Here!

It’s mid-December, and so there should be no surprise that the temperatures in Siberia are in the double digits below 0. The display here is in degrees Celsius. Most of these temperatures aren’t quite as fierce as they appear, since “0” on this scale is actually +32...
Siberian Fall

Siberian Fall

The Russian poet Alexandr Pushkin wrote a lot about autumn. In his novel in verse Eugene Onegin he beautifully sums up the nature of the season in Russia: Golden fall has come; Nature, trembling, pale, Is luxuriantly decked out like a sacrifice. This is certainly an...
Don’t Drink the Water!

Don’t Drink the Water!

People who travel to other countries often hear warnings about the local water. It’s one thing for tourists to buy bottled water to use for a few days or weeks, then go back to their carefree habits at home. But what do the permanent residents do? Russia, including...
Which Bus Is This?

Which Bus Is This?

Just when I thought it couldn’t possibly happen again, the other day I heard yet another person, a minute or so after boarding, ask, “Which bus is this?” I’ve heard this now too many times to count. Each time I, a highly organized and efficient American who plans...
If You Walk in the Woods

If You Walk in the Woods

Akademgorodok (something like “University City”) was founded in the 1950s and 1960s as the seat of Novosibirsk State University and a number of scientific institutes. Its planners strove to make it a nice place for scientists and scholars to live and work. It was and...
Spring Snowstorm

Spring Snowstorm

  Novosibirsk is in the throes of a typical March snowstorm. It’s really coming down. For days now the ice has been covered with a new layer of snow–very treacherous for walking and driving. None of this will last long, with the high temperatures hovering a...