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This is not
my idea of
"every town
and village"...

Friday, December 5th, 2003

Izhevsk, Russia

Every Town and Village

Or so it seems...

We leave Tolyatti when it is still dark. It has been snowing all night, so the roads and the road markings are covered with dirty snow, slush and ice. We cross the Volga River and head northeast to Izhevsk, a large city of 750,000, founded in 1760.

I don't know what it is about this tour, but none of our drivers seem able to follow a simple road map. When I look at the map it is clear: take the P228 north-northeast to Kazan, and the M7 northeast to Izhevsk. What is so difficult about that?

Well, somebody has the bright idea of shaving 100 kilometers off our journey, so soon we are on tiny back roads asking for directions from tractor drivers in the fields, road-workers clearing snow, and horse-drawn sleigh drivers (we saw four) driving to the market.

We drive through quaint, snow-covered villages. At any other time I might have appreciated the scenery, but right now I just don't want to be stranded in the snow in the middle of nowhere. This is not my idea of "every town and village"...

Ten hours after we left Tolyatti, we arrive, after dark, at the apartment of Lila Shakti Devi Dasi in Izhevsk. There are about fifteen devotees there to welcome us. After the introductions, they offer to leave us alone so that we can shower, have something to eat, and get some rest.

But suddenly I am not tired or peeved any more. This is what I have come for: to talk to the local devotees, to try to enliven them in Krishna consciousness. We talk for over four hours, until after nine o' clock, before I finally begin to nod...

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Layout by imonk — December 5th, 2003.