Mankind's only alternative 5   FEB.   23  
Mankind's only alternative
Welcome
MAIN  RUSSIA  WAR NERD   [SIC!]  BAR-DAK  THE VAULT  ABOUT US  RSS
 
 
EXILE BLOGS

The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
June 11, 2008 in eXile Blog

War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
May 28, 2008 in eXile Blog

Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
May 22, 2008 in eXile Blog

Cellphone Democracy Cam If this girl was exposed to Jeffersonian democracy...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Dyev Photos Yet another hot Russian babe imitating the Catpower look...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

Proof That Genetic Memory Is Real! Sure, the Ottomans shut down the Istanbul Slavic slave markets centuries ago...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Russia's Orthodox Church Youth Outreach Program The priest is going, "Father Sansei is very impressed with grasshopper Sasha’s...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Blogs RSS feed

City Beat April 6, 2003
 
Death March II: the Nature Walk
By John Dolan Browse author Email
 
Page 2 of 3
 
When the bookseller's spiel was over the Russian said calmly, "1937 was not so bad, because the Bolsheviks started to kill each other...."

A new voice now, an American hiker telling the Bjork-woman, "I don't BLAME my mother, OR my father!"

And instantly another peddler, a middle-aged man of great dignity who obviously hated his embarrassing job, forcing himself through a set speech on the virtues of "leg cream," then vanishing, relieved no one wanted any.

All the shouting peddlers had loosened the hikers' tongues. They all blathered at once like a Modernist play:

Brit: "I went to see Slade and Sweet..."

Russian: "In 1948 my father was imprisoned..."

American: "My brother has two children..."

Brit: "Bangkok was so hot, I could've walked about naked at midnight..."

American: "We're still a very CLOSE family..."

By this time, we were indeed. Then Mr Lee stood up sternly; we were at Yakhroma, and he marched us out of town to a huge snowy hill and charged up it without a pause. As we went higher, the snow got deeper. I was dying, trying to gasp quietly. Napoleon's troops did this for 2,000 miles? Those French were insane. And tough.

Then relief: a snowmobile track. Before the hike, I hated snowmobiles; now I'm kind of soft on them. They make a nice firm trail. If it hadn't been for those snowmobile tracks, Katherine would have had to drag my poorly-maintained carcasse up that hill by the hood of my polarfleece.

Behind that hill was another, higher and snowier hill. There was a snowmobile track leading up it, but Mr. Lee's coddling phase was over; he marched us straight up through the snow, double time. I was starting to wonder which Korea he was from. There was something of the Korean People's Army in his hiking style.

Then we hit the ridgeline, and oxygen debts paid off sufficiently that I could look around for Nature. Hello? Animals? Birds?

There was nothing. The trees were a curtain of identical birches. No birds but crows. Kitai-Gorod has more wildlife.

The rest of the group had no interest in "Nature." Some kind of hiking cult, with Mr. Lee as their Rev. Moon...We moved at top speed through a nest of gigantic, fortified dachas-and it was only there that we found any mammals, a few dogs. But these were not the proud strays of Moscow. They were the saddest dogs I've seen: wretched, lonely creatures chained to their doghouses, sentenced to life in solitary, the worst fate in the world for a dog.

Though we twisted around the hills for five hours at full speed, I never lost the feeling that we were trespassing in people's backyards, never coming close to anything that could be called "Nature." And we never slowed down.

After a few hours of travelling with strangers, you can work up a good vicious hatred. In fact, this is called the Paul Theroux Method of Literary Composition. In five-odd hours of following Mr. Lee, I worked up a case against everyone trudging ahead of me....gung-ho bastards, showing off....When you think that this sort of march is what Army guys do, and the fact that they do it with automatic rifles, it's surprising there aren't more service massacres.

The last hour, the fifth, was the worst, crashing across a huge snowy prairie. The skinny disciples up front ran over the snow like Legolas; I crashed through every time.

At last the snow sloped downhill and the walking was easier, through a huge, muddy graveyard. It was a very comfortable place, the graveyard. As we went downhill, the snow vanished and there was good muddy ground, soft yet firm The gravestones all had pictures of the dead, a startling effect. Every grave had a railing with a sign of some sort. The new graves, high up the hill, had Orthodox crosses, but many of the older ones, further down the slope, had red stars. Last we came to the Muslim sector where railings were marked with red crescents. Tired as we were, we stopped at one grave, one of the freshest-looking ones. It was for a sailor who "died in the Barents Sea in August 2001." That seemed familiar. We all got it at once: that was when the Kursk sank.


SHARE:  Del.icio.us  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit

Browse author
dolan@exile.ru
 
 
FROM THE VAULT

Extreme Murse-Over :

Backstabbers! : America's Vichy Left vs. Michael Moore
Luke Harding
The Guardian Apologizes For Plagiarizing The eXile : Luke Harding Gets Nuked!

The Messiah Is Mobile : Jesus called, and he wants his old number back
 

 
 
 
LATEST ARTICLES

Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
Editorial
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
[SIC!]
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
[SIC!]
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...

 
 
 

    MAIN    |    RUSSIA    |    WAR NERD     |    [SIC!]    |    BAR-DAK    |    THE VAULT    |    ABOUT US    |    RSS

© "the eXile". Tel.: +7 (495) 623-3565, fax: +7 (495) 623-5442
E-mail: office@exile.ru