part 15

The bus journey was rather quicker as our connection involved only a 20 minute wait and the road conditions were better. Also it seemed quicker as I wasn’t ailing. We got to Bugolma with two and a half hours to spare, so we parked our luggage which was now considerably  increased as, although we had unloaded presents we had been restocked, presents to me, Mum and Rosa, about a kilo of sunflower seeds for Gulya, an enormous duck, about two and a half litres of jam and about one kilo of cream. We also had a big box containing a hand separator Rabfail had bought for me from a man in their village (на руке ie. sort of private sale) as I had said I couldn’t afford to buy one at home and I needed to separate cream from goat’s milk for my mother. It cost 35 roubles and Lord knows if customs will let me out with it.
In Bugolma we went off by bus to look at the town, ignoring the good smell of a cafe in the station. Rabfail bought a handful of tickets. I asked why as he doesn’t visit there regularly.
‘Можно  кататься’, he replied. (mozhno = one can / a most useful word) We didn’t кататься (sight seeing) much. Only looked at watches in two shops and then the cafe was closed.. So we went to bed on the train platz karta unfed. I would quite have liked some more food by then but I expect it did my stomach the world of good to rest for a while. Rabfail said he was full; not surprising! There were no free lower bunks so I had to climb up, or rather be pushed up. Now I realise I am decrepit.
We arrived in Ufa too soon for my liking. I climbed down to go to the loo and returned to find our bedding rolled up and Rabfail packing our bags. It was 5 am. by Ufa time but only 3am. by Moscow time. We had gone to bed by Moscow time. The clocks change by two hours as one enters Bashkiria. This is because Tataria should be one hour ahead of Moscow but they didn’t want to be so their republic’s soviet {council) decided to be the same as Moscow. Thus as one crosses the river Ob it is two hours earlier. This it seems is useful if one wants to purchase vodka after 7pm. It’s only 5 pm. on the other bank. We got home at  7 and Rosa had to get up to let us in. Still she waspleased to see us and I was delighted to feed on bread and fresh cream and jam with tea. Rosa at least now accepts that I don’t eat dinner for breakfast. I then slept till Rabfail woke me at midday with the firm announcement,
‘We have a lot of work to do.’
I’m writing this in self-defence. Don’t want to get on a bus again yet. However we did get on a bus after lunch and went to see an exhibition of where and what Bashkiria produces. It was pretty impressive, especially craft items – lacquered furniture in traditional designs and carved woodwork, all remarkably cheap by our standards. But the technological side of the oil and chemical industry was quite beyond me. Fortunately Rabfail has now realised this fact. Then we set off on a round the town bus trip to purchase a watch. Good small ones are now ‘дефицит’ so we bought a big good one. At lest I’ll never need glasses to tell the time.
In the evening Rosa and I went to see La Traviata in Russian. On the whole I agree with Rabfail about opera. When I asked him why he wasn’t coming he said,
‘They take two hours to sing what they could say in two minutes,’ But all the same it was a good spectacle.


© Daffni 2023
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I am looking forward to your conversation with customs when you try and pass all that food past them!

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