Life is full of the unexpected. Yesterday I didn’t catch the sight of any polar lights at all. Thus I cancelled the plan to go to Teriberka today and decided to stay one more night. The first thing to do is move to a cheaper hostel with the dried clothes, put my luggage away and walk around. The weather here was somehow, abnormal. The sun was getting up out from the horizon when it was almost 12 at noon. Even in the daytime, the sky was dark without too much light.
I made my way hard towards the Lenin nuclear-powered icebreaker, for the roads were slippery with snow everywhere. Along the way, I dropped by at a McDonald’s where there were many Chinese tourists and had a brief meal. The burger set was much cheaper than that in China but I had to pay extra money for the ketchup. I supposed the same money would only afford a simple burger in China (as least in Beijing).
As a typical industrial city, Murmansk has quantities of factories which release pollution all day long. I could see the heavy smog coming out from the tremendous chimney. Besides, there were old-fashioned trains of all kinds with goods running here and there over and over again. What scared me a lot, however, was that big-size hounds shouted loud at me when I was trying to take a photo of them with my camera. I would have run away with all my stuff left if they had shouted louder or rushed in my direction.
After crossing hundreds of railways, I finally arrived around the titanic ship where there were already crowds of people waiting. The water was clean but from time to time, oil showed up on the surface and disappeared. I was excited to capture the wonderful moment when I was faced with cool wind from the waters. Later around two o’clock, we were allowed in to be led by a decent gentleman. Unsmiling and standing straight, he gave a so fast introduction to all the things around that no one would notice he had already started! I typed “you spoke Russian really fluently” and let him see it. He was like, ”okay I couldn’t agree more”. But after that I realized even if he had slowed down, I wouldn’t have understood him either because of my limited understanding of Russian language. Realizing this made me feel easier and concentrated on things around me more. The internal structure of the ship was complicated, sophisticated machines living in harmony with elegant decoration. But the steps were without doubt unfriendly to average tourists with each approximately 60 centimeters high. Where we waited to be allowed in, I met four guys from China who were studying in Moscow but on their holidays in Murmansk. Along the way, I was interested in their story of living and studying in Moscow. The Internet speed sucked, the teachers spoke fast, and the boys and girls lived in the same building, all of which we couldn’t imagine to happen in China. When teenage boys get together, topics easily shift to girls. “Beautiful girls were everywhere. Russian girls were cold-looking and wouldn’t start a conversation. But they were willing to help if they were asked to” (As I wasn’t closest to the truth, I would quote their words.) Another funny thing, one of them was asked to help take a photo of a BEAUTIFUL Russian girl. I didn’t know the detail but he kept mentioning this even after we were already out of the ship. More interestingly, he would rather secretly take a photo than ask for her vk directly when she passed by.
As an old saying says, “Meeting people from home brings tears to the eyes”. We decided later to have a meal together at the famous ТУНДРА restaurant. Since it was best-known for its crabs, we ordered two parts of a crab to make them a complete one and some other things. As for me, I had a steak set with deer and chicken. The food tasted awesome but the only bad side was the astoundingly high price. The total money we paid was enough for me to eat well at McDonald’s for 40 times. Luckily, the other four set a good example as seniors and thanks to their kindness, I paid actually less than the price of what I ate. When we separated at the snow field, I got nothing to do but wish they could find their beloved ones.
My initial purpose of coming to Russia was to have a look at the aurora before I would turn 20. As it was my 20th birthday according to Chinese lunar calendar tomorrow, I decided to make one last attempt tonight before I would leave for St. Petersburg. I was scheduled to set off at 10 p.m. so I chose to take a nap before I went.