Cold Showers in Siberia
Tyumen was to be a brief halt as we waited for a train leaving the next day. The whole town is a construction site, quaint old wooden houses were being demolished to make way for new concrete and brick high rises. It smacked of progress and we wondered how much the town would change in the coming months and years.
For some reason, all the hotels in Tyumen were fully booked! We still don't know whether there was some big event going on that we didn't know about, or whether the appearance of two forlorn foreigners who hadn't showered for a while might have made them scared to admit us! After scouring the whole town, we found one hotel which turned out to be another soviet establishment. We were issued forms to fill in, and eventually our guest ID cards and keys from an unhelpful and perfectly useless receptionist. Then we were shown to a dingy twin room. The bathroom curiously had only one tap which swivelled between the shower recess and the wash basin, the latter appeaingd to be held suspended by some cabling. The toilet was lopsided so if you weren't careful you would fall off and end up in the shower... which only dispensed cold water!
After a freezing cold shower, we explored the town- which we found to be quaint and somewhat charming.At one end were all the modern facilities and amusements, at the other was a village of wooden houses. These traditional abodes were quite beautiful, but unfortunately deteriorating and poorly maintained. We walked out of the main town to a local monastery and then found a gem of an eatery a little off the main street. We were greeted by friendly waitresses who recommended some delicious food after seeing the looks of puzzlement on our faces upon encountering the menu.
We retired, exhausted, to our hotel room to watch some hollywood action movie with the original voices in tact, interspersed with Russian dubbing which followed the dialogue at five second delays.