Synopsis of My Russian Adventures
(The shorter alternative to my Russia Journal Updates)
By Winston Wu
For those who do not wish to read the hundreds of pages of my Russia/Eastern Europe journal updates, here?s a shorter alternative ? a synopsis of the main events.
First Trip 2002
- The first lady, Olga, had gorgeous looks but had an empty personality, as well as a spoiled high maintenance attitude.
- Olga ended up ditching me for another man she met at a social tour before I arrived, which I found out by accident when I went to a marriage agency office to get more introductions.? There, I met Olga?s sister?s fianc?, who explained everything to me.
- With time to spare, I go out on some guided tours with two guys I meet at a hostel, Jason and Jesus.? Together, we all have instant brotherly camaraderie and synergy.
While touring the
After a few days, Natasha?s tour bus takes her
This continues on when we visit her grandmother
in the village too. ?When we return to
- But then an opportunity comes for me to get a piece of her sexy tanned hardbody.? With her parents out of town, we make a semi-sex for money deal, which includes one photo, and begin.? Both of us used each other during this.? Afterward, Julia is elated and wishes to make more such deals.
- The next day, Julia introduces me to her friend Katya, a stunningly gorgeous blonde full of charisma, whom I found even more attractive than Julia.?
- On a roll, I arrange a similar make out deal with Katya, and we commence.? A photo was included as well.
- The following day, I decided I had enough of these emotionally draining episodes, and decide to leave.? Julia and her family give me a very warm goodbye, and escort me to the train station.
I arrive in
After a few days in
After a long train ride, I arrive in
- Elena and I have some mentality conflicts, and I find that I?m too drained from the past few weeks to even focus on her anyway.? And when she finds out that I visited other women before her, she quickly loses interest in me anyway.
We decide to part as friends.? After a long, deep philosophical talk in the
park, she escorts me to the train station to go to
After a few days, her mom takes her to
Next, I head to the
- There, I visit a marriage agency to arrange my meeting with my next backup girl, Irina.? When she arrives, she greets me and we go for a long walk through parks and zoos.
- That night, a fantasy of mine comes true.? I bring a sex worker to my room, and she lets me video tape the whole thing!
- The next day, Irina escorts me to her home in the village on the hilly outskirts, to meet her parents and stay with her.? The village, Perenalvoe, is situated next to an army training fort.
- Unfortunately though, Irina and I don?t hit it off.? She acts disinterested, passive, and aloof toward me.? So I decide to leave.? Before I do though, her father shows me around the army fort and on top of a tank.
On my last day, I visit
The next day, I board a train heading for
Second Trip 2003
I arrive in
There, I visit a long-time pen pal, Vika, whom I
had platonic relations with.? She shows
me around beautiful
After about a week, I prepare to take a train to
I arrive in
- The next few days turns out to be a flop.? First, she puts us in two separate hotel rooms at my expense.? How romantic.? Then she acts masculine and rough, making her unattractive to me, and was nowhere as tender and warm as she was last year.? She was also rude, clumsy, reckless with my money, and prudish toward me in regard to physical affection and intimacy.? And she was demanding expensive taxi rides and restaurants at my expense, but I was getting nothing out of it - no physical intimacy and no stimulating conversation either.? Furthermore, we didn?t seem to have any chemistry or connection, physically or mentally.? And on top of that, I was too sick and weak to even deal with it all, making me irritable instead.
We ended up parting on cold terms, and I was
glad to be rid of her, who was becoming a pocket-leecher on me for
nothing.? She though, assumed that I
would be coming to her home city of
- Relieved, I headed to my hostel to do things my way.? There, I contacted Olga, an English speaking Russian girl I met from a dating site.? We arrange to meet.
- I liked Olga a lot.? She was intelligent, sweet, charming, yet serious, and with self-respect and maturity.? I found her company to be very pleasant.? And unlike Natasha, she wasn?t reckless or high maintenance, and was glad to ride the metro, showing me around.? She seemed fond of me too.? But there was a limit to my attraction to her, for I didn?t find her feminine enough for me, for some reason.
- With my birthday coming up, I decide to visit Julia of Cherepovets again, for fun, since I felt that with her wild, crazy, and charismatic personality, she would be the funnest person to celebrate my birthday with.? Plus I wanted to see her mesmerizing girlfriend Katya again too, whom I paid to make out with last year.? I was stoked on her, and hoped to have some relations with the girl of my dreams, which she looked like.
- On my birthday, I got more than what I wished for.? Not only did I meet Katya again, who joined us to go to a nightclub, but when she found out that I was seeking a Russian bride, she offered to be my bride!? We got engaged instantly.? So on my birthday, I got engaged to the girl of my dreams!? I felt like a blessed king.
- Afterward, I didn?t know whether to feel like the luckiest guy in the world, or the biggest fool, having gotten engaged to a girl I only knew for two days total.
- For about a week, we all celebrated and partied a lot, going to nightclubs and discos almost every night (at my expense though) and while doing so, discussed my future life and plans with Katya, and the details of our wedding as well.? Julia?s English speaking Latvian friend, Sandra came along to translate between us.? Everywhere we went together, many men would look at us in envy, flattering my ego, as I had never had such an experience before.? I felt like I was on top of the world.? Sometimes, after the nightclub, we would go to a banya and sauna to cool down.
After about a week, we decided to head to
- There, it turns out that the first step in the fianc?e visa process is for me to go back to the states and apply through the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) department to petition for an alien fianc?e.? So at this point, we can do nothing further.? Katya looked somewhat disappointed and expressionless.
- That day, after Katya pressured me into buying expensive new boots and a purse for her at an upscale mall, I begin to get the sinking feeling that I?m being used and made a mistake in pursuing serious relations with her.? My conscience and dignity were bruised and giving me bad signs.? But my desire to maintain relations with my fantasy girl led me to stick it out, hoping it would get better, rationalizing away all contrary evidence and red flags in her behavior.
That night, Julia leaves after visiting her
Spanish sugar daddy Felix, going home to
- The next day, Katya has a cold sociopathic look about her, and pressures me into buying her an expensive new jacket to match her new boots and purse.? I dislike the idea at first, but being too nice and eager to please, I comply, though reluctantly.
When she finally left that night to take the
train back to
After she left, I felt relieved, as I did with
Natasha, for the stranglehold over my pocket book was finally gone, and I was
free to do things my way once again without pressure.? And I realized that Katya as well as Julia
were too emotionally draining to be around, and therefore I was crazy to think
that a marriage could work out with Katya, who was probably using me either for
gifts or for a visa to the
After I contact Olga again in
Next, I prepared to head east toward
After the long train ride to
- There, I also meet another girl I knew from the internet, Oksana, a pleasant girl as well.? One night, a lawyer named Igor whom I met on the train invites me out to meet a beautiful girl named Elena and a few others at a cafe dance area.? I fall for the gorgeous brunette Elena, and dance the night away with her, but she seemed quiet, passive, and non-expressive.
I end up liking
After a few days, I left
- That night, Alena finally showed up, but acted flighty and indecisive.? Although she proposed many plans with me, she flaked out the next day and refused to take any of my phone calls.? So I focused on Gulechka instead.
- Later that night, I ordered a sex worker to come to my room, and again, she let me video tape it, making my fantasy come true a second time.
- Gulechka turned out to be a nice quiet reserved girl, easygoing and honest.? But I wasn?t that attracted to her, and she moved way too slowly, so I had little interest in her, though she tried to persuade me to stay longer, shocked that I wanted to leave already.
I was supposed to go to
- But it wasn?t to be.? When she arrived, she insisted on bringing me back to Cherepovets with her that night, instead of staying overnight with me in Moscow, making up some bogus reason.? That day, we ate at an American restaurant, went to a museum, and an amusement park afterward.
With not much else to do, I took Julia?s
suggestion of going to
Julia and I go to
I meet a cool guy named Vadim in an internet
caf? there, and we begin hanging out, along with his girlfriend Olga.? They are the perfect excuse for me to start
avoiding Julia and Elena.? Soon Julia
leaves to go to
I had planned to join Julia in
- We spend a few days together.? I grow fond of her as I did with Olga.? She was sweet, intelligent, well mannered and well behaved.? Again, I noticed the contrast between her comfortable pleasant elegant aura vs the dangerous flighty aura of fianc?e Katya, which opens my eyes and makes me realize the folly of my ways.? At that point, I decide to get rid of fianc?e Katya, but not before I try to play her back.
After a few days, I ride the train to
- For some reason, Katya acts different from before.? Her demeanor seems wicked and sinister, and looks at me as if I?m some kind of joke to her.? I also get the feeling that she?s plotting something dangerous against me.
- Again, she continually breaks her promises to have sex, which causes animosity and quarrel between us, which only intensify as time goes on.
- Finally, we have sex one morning, but due to lack of chemistry and our feelings of animosity, it isn?t very good.
- Then we relocate to Izailovsky Park Hotel complex.? There, on the verge of breaking up, we meet a man named Yanis, who promises to reconcile us both.? Thus, the infamous ?The Negotiator Scam? begins, a black comedy fiasco which you can read about in full at www.happierabroad.com/The_Negotiator_Scam.htm or in brief at www.happierabroad.com/Russian_Scams.htm
- During the ?Negotiator Scam?, Yanis, Katya, and Julia conspire to con me out of hundreds of dollars, which only partially succeeds.? The next morning, I find the ?smoking gun? accidentally, which revealed that Katya not only assisted the con man in swindling me, but received her cut, and had sex with him in a separate hotel room as well, thus committing two crimes, assisted THEFT and INFIDELITY, in one swoop.
- Humiliated, shamed, and shocked, I soon flee the scene, glad to be rid of Katya and Julia finally, and relieved that my inner conflict over Katya was over as well.
- After going to Cherepovets first to pick up my luggage from Julia?s home, I head to St. Petersburg to take the train to Latvia, to apply for a new Russian visa, for mine was about to expire.? Upon returning, I planned to follow my original plan of cities and women to visit, which changed by the Katya fiasco.
While waiting for my new Russian visa, I head up
With my new month long visa, I return to
- We didn?t get along at all.? She was stoic, expressionless, too skinny, weird, and not very attractive.? We soon parted.
- Disappointed that night, I order a sex worker, who turned out to be a pretty petite slim brunette.? We have great sex.
Next, I headed over to
- Next, I meet a girl in a supermarket who tours the city with me for a while, before asking me to buy a mobile phone for her as a birthday present.? When I refuse, I never hear from her again.
I then pay a visit to
- After about five days together though, with the heated passion growing, she suddenly stops seeing me for no reason, first claiming that her grandmother was sick, then that she didn?t think we were compatible cause her feelings for me weren?t strong enough.
- Disheartened, I get another introduction, Oksana, who turns out to be sweet and nice, but I wasn?t terribly attracted to her.? We have a nice time together though, and she is a likable person.
When I leave, I head back to
When I return to
So I hung out with this spacey, alternative,
masseuse hippie girl named Anya, and ended up going with her to
- The camps and events there were fun and free spirited, but I ended up spending most of my time with a Chi Gong Group there, having deep conversations around the campfire until morning.
The next day, I miss my afternoon train with
Anya back to
- After a long train ride south, I arrive in a warm sizzling city with magnificent monuments and positive energy.? I immediately had a good feeling about the place.
- On my first day, I met three blonde girls.? First, I met this friendly woman named Olga on the street, who had a very bubbly personality and showed me around the waterfront.? Then I headed over to Volzhsky, a nearby small city where Anastasya agency set me up to meet a lady on my list, also named Olga.? I found her very attractive and sexy, but she was shy and passive, and showed a little interest in me.? That night, I meet two sisters at a waterfront caf?.? We drank together, flirted, and hung out.
The next day, I meet two more gorgeous girls,
Katya and then later
- The day after, I head over to Volzhsky to meet Olga again, who takes me to Mama Kurgan, the site of the Russian version of the Statue of Liberty, though larger.? The monument turned out to be impressive and glorious, filling you with awe.
- That evening, Olga comes to my hotel room, and our passion erupts, resulting in physical intimacy.? I was elated to score with someone I was so strongly attracted to.
- However, the next day, she becomes cold and distant to me, perhaps regretting what happened the day before.
Feeling a little let down, I go meet
- The next day, I move into a nice flat owned by Brad?s wife?s family.? Then I meet Irina again from Karmen agency.? She warms up to me and I could feel her attraction to me, but I had mixed feelings about her.? After that, I go see Olga in Volzhsky again, but she continues to give me the cold treatment, so I let her go, sadly.
The following day, Katya bombshell (the nickname
I gave her) takes me to the famous
- One day, when I went to Karmen agency to meet Irina, I saw this breathtakingly surreal blonde woman named Natalia, who was there to meet another man.? Since I was with my date though, I couldn?t do anything about it.
- Amazingly though, I accidentally run into Natalia on the street two days later, and stop her to declare my interest in her, informing her about my availability.? She reciprocates and we begin dating.
- For Natalia, I ditch my upcoming weekend plans with Irina, to be with her, whom I was head over heels for.
- On our first date, Natalia and I were on a night boat cruise on the river, where we kissed intensely and passionately.? It was like a dream come true.
- The next few days, I find Natalia very intelligent, analytical, and deep.? We seem to be a great match.
- But after three days, Natalia suddenly dumps me, giving me suspicious reasons, which remain a mystery to this day.
For the rest of my time in
I see Irina, whom I had ditched for Natalia, one
more time as well, trying to conceal my guilt.?
But it was too late to re-establish anything with her, for I had to leave
the day after for
The next day, a girl I met earlier escorts me to
the train station to head back to
- That evening, in the middle of July, I take the many bags I stored in a hostel luggage room, and take a taxi to the airport.
- After spending the night in the airport, I leave the next morning sadly, pondering the significance and meaning of the whole 6 month journey, and wondering when or if I would return again.
Third Trip 2004-2005
This time, over a year after the end of my
second trip, my third trip began three months late, delayed due to being in
My journey began in August by flying to
After about 5 days, I continued on my way to
Nevertheless, soon, due to my outgoingness and
aggressive flirtatiousness, I began meeting and dating more girls in
Originally, my plan was to be here 3 to 5 days
and then take the train way down south to
Oddly, this delay went on another six
weeks.? During that time, the only time I
- When I returned, I tested to see if I could get paying work in Moscow, instead of my originally planned volunteer work in Izhevsk in exchange for accommodations.To my surprise, I found that my skills were in demand, as I began receiving a lot of interviews. Though I went to them out of curiosity, I was soon accepted for two jobs - a journalist position at a European corporate real estate gazette, and an English teaching position.? Although my purpose of seeking work there was a mere experimentation, it instead led me into a commitment.? Now my original plans were definitely altered, thus creating a huge inner conflict in me.
I was now in an odd situation,
unprecedented and unforeseen.? Staying in
reader list for feedback, I heard a lot of good arguments from both sides,
those suggesting I stay in
- The conflict in me came down to feeling like I was tampering with the natural flow of destiny, as if I was stepping outside a safe path that destiny lay before me to risk reaping dire consequences, which put me in danger, vs. remaining to feel extreme anxiety and guilt over breaking my promises to others.? Somehow, I knew that I leaned toward relieving myself of the latter, and would be looking for excuses to go that way.
just what I did.? Eventually, after
justifying to myself that I could return to
- However, Vadim?s intentions were way less than sincere or benign, and it went totally beyond what I could imagine.? I thought I knew this guy, but I was dead wrong, in ways I had never imagined.? Thus, the infamous ?Private Police? scam began, the second of the group scams against me (the first being the ?Negotiator Scam? mentioned in the synopsis of the second trip).? Conspired by Vadim and his friends, he, whom I considered my close friend and brother, played an active role in it.? Suffice to say, Vadim also used drugs (marijuana I think) which might explain his sociopathic behavior and lack of conscience.
- You can read about the ?Private Police Scam? in full at www.happierabroad.com/The_Private_Police_Scam.htm with addendums and reader comments, or in brief at www.happierabroad.com/Russian_Scams.htm.?
- In a nutshell, Vadim and his cohorts used two girls from a disco to come over and steal my camcorder.? There was no way I could have seen it coming.? The next day, he committed extortion by forcing me to give him and his co-conspirators 300 dollars, claiming it was the fee for their ?private police? firm to retrieve it from the black market.? The scheme was very elaborate, and involved fake police badges and police reports from Vadim?s friend.? With no other choice (since I would have had to spend 300 dollars to get a new one anyway) I complied reluctantly, knowing that something fishy and shady was going on, but refusing to believe that my own trusted friend would be involved in this.? After some hours of paying the fictitious ?fee?, I got my camcorder back.
- But it wasn?t over though.? The next night, Vadim arranged to have me ambushed by an attacker in a dark section of a park, which he led me into.? The attacker, who jumped out suddenly, attempted to steal my backpack with the camcorder inside, so that Vadim would have a reason to ask me for another ?fee? again.? Fortunately, the plan failed, as I fought hard to hold onto it, and the attacker fled, though leaving me bruised and shaken up.? The obvious give-away in this was that Vadim lied about being hit in the stomach so that he couldn?t help me during the attack, and the sheer improbability that one man would come out and attack two men with no weapons.
that, I left
In spite of
all he did, Vadim and Julia?s friend Elena, who showed up unexpectedly, saw me
off at the bus station and gave me a warm goodbye.? Next, I headed toward
- However, that night, when I went to check out the caf?/bar on the boat, this super friendly and flirtatious cute blonde came to join me.? As it turned out, she was a ?working girl? but I liked her cause she was attractive, charming, and we seemed to have some chemistry.? So I took Tanya up on her solicitation.? I made a deal with her which was 100 dollars (3000 roubles) for all night, about 8 hours.
- However, when Tanya took the money and came back, she was like a different person.? Her makeup was gone, and she spoke like a run-down girl with a coarse deep voice, rather than the charming, sweet person she was before.
- Things got much worse.? Our sexual styles conflicted, and she constantly argued with me over everything.? I managed to just barely climax in her.? Then, to my horror, she reneged on our deal, pretending not to even remember it.? She claimed that I had only paid for two hours, and that if I wanted all night, I would have to shell out another hundred dollars.? In angry righteous protest, I reminded her that we already made the deal, which was even partially written down, so there was no misunderstanding or excuse.
infamous ?All night sex feud in
- Unable to resolve this diplomatically, I had the security guardsman come in to get his help.? Surely, I thought, he would listen to reason, since this was a simple clear cut case.? However, it turned out that since he got a cut of Tanya?s earnings, he had a vested interest in her ability to scam more money out of me, making him far less than unbiased.? Though he tried every way he could, he failed to persuade me to pay double, since on every point and issue, I made my solid indisputable case.? It was a mere matter of her breaking the deal, which warranted a partial refund, or else her follow through on the rest of it.? Tanya would accept neither, only more money.? Though the guardsman attempted to persuade me that perhaps I misunderstood the price and time, it was in vain, for the deal had been made in writing, so no misunderstanding was possible.? And he knew it too.? Knowing that he was in a no-win situation, the guardsman looked up above, as if asking God for what to do.
- Finally, when I threatened to report her scam and his support of it to the hotel administration staff, the guardsman gave up and left.? From the rest of the night til morning, Tanya slept with me in gloomy reluctance, giving me no more intimacy.? Instead, she repeatedly muttered, ?500 roubles please? throughout the night, even while half-asleep.? But being a tough and righteous cookie that I am, I refused to give in out of principle.
- I can honestly say that after that, I lost nearly all my trust and respect for Russians, seeing how even the nice mainstream ones (such as the hotel guardsman) lacked even the most basic morals of right and wrong, fairness, integrity, honor, etc., sacrificing all those traits even for a little profit.? From then on, I would never view Russians the same, or given them the benefit of the doubt ever again.
The next day,
I toured more of
returned, I went to stay with her and her mom in their home for a few
days.? A former model, Alina was
Westernized having spent a lot of time in the
headed over to
- When I arrived, I was harassed by the train station police, who dragged me to the station to write me up and play politics.? Fortunately, I was not asked for a bribe.? Afterward, they put me on a taxi to Julia?s place.
- Julia, a new mother, was now living with her boyfriend Igor?s family.? She seemed like a changed person; more responsible and kind than before.? Having a new baby probably had something to do with that.?
- Unfortunately, Julia was not able to get me accommodations that night.? Her boyfriend Igor would not let me stay out of mean-spiritedness, even though he stayed in my hotel room last year for two nights at my expense.? And her mother was against letting me stay in their empty home alone, though Julia tried to persuade her.? Katya, my ex-fiancee, also refused in spite of all the money I spent on her and all the expensive gifts she extracted from me.? And unfortunately, my own close friend Lyuba who had promised me accommodation in her home, reneged, giving some bogus excuse instead.? It seemed I was being set up for something that was destined.
- While over at Katya?s home, she showed me new photo albums which illustrated the extravagant life she had after she scammed me; her modeling shoots, vacations, make-overs, new wardrobes, etc. were all depicted.? It seemed that karma never did her any justice.? However, she seemed a bit more well behaved and mature than before, or so it seemed.? Because I wanted to spend time with her, I opted out of plans with Lyuba to visit her friend.
- That night, I elected to stay in town so I could see Lyuba tomorrow.? With no place to stay though, I was driven by Igor and Julia to an internet caf? that I stayed at in the past.? Unfortunately, they had no internet packages left to use, only video games.? So I was referred to another place and given directions to get there.
- Outside, I got tired of waiting for a taxi, so I took the tram instead.? On board, I asked some young punks for directions, who also came from the internet caf? I left.? They told me to follow them out at the next stop.? Outside, they gave me directions and then left.? But they seemed to give me wrong directions.? So I asked some other street punks, who in turn led me there.
though I was led to the right place, they deceived me about the entrance,
leading me to a secluded area behind the building instead.? I kept at a distance from them.? But soon, the punks I met on the tram showed
up behind me to seal off my exit.? After
one little punk punched me, I attempted to escape, but the biggest of them
grabbed me and attacked me in full force.?
Since I was having to defend the heavy backpack on me (as I did in the
- After a while, when I managed to pull myself up, I yelled for help, and a resident from a window above asked me if I wanted him to call the police.? I agreed and soon a police militsa car came.? After I told them what happened, they drove me around, calling all available units and vehicles to aid in the search for the suspects.
- During the next two hours, officers detained many suspects that matched my description, and I brought to see if I recognized them.? But no cigar.
- Finally, at my insistence, they took me to the internet caf? I went out of earlier where the punks I met on the tram were, to interrogate the staff about the two punks that were there.? Not only did they do that, but they arranged to obtain a copy of the security video camera overhead which the punks were taped onto.
- Back at the station, I was treated for the bruises, and then Lyuba was brought in as my translator.? When she arrived, I said, ?Well I didn?t expect to meet you like this.?? She helped us write up the necessary reports and paperwork.
- Finally, later in the night, a few of the attackers were caught, including the large one who struck the final blows.? They were brought into the detention area where I quickly identified them.? Not long later, most of my belongings were retrieved, along with the camcorder and video tapes.? I was very relieved.? It was like a miracle.? During the rest of the night, Lyuba and some police investigators helped me fill out more bureaucratic paperwork.
- In the early morning, I was driven to an internet caf? to hang out until daylight.? Later on, this young punk who befriended me, and two creepy looking acquaintances, attempted to bring me to their home, perhaps intending to mug me too. (Apparently, they had no sympathy for what just happened to me.)? I refused their stupid attempt, of course.
- That afternoon, I went to the police station to pick up the rest of my things and fill out more paperwork.? Upon arrival, I was greeted to smiling faces and professional video cameras.? It looks like more people had been waiting for me than I thought.? I was going to be on the news!
taped interviews, I picked up the rest of my belongings, finished up the
paperwork, and left.? That evening, I was
dating the stripper Natasha that I met before, and also a few others as well,
including a tall gorgeous Moldovan girl named Marta.? But as in
reader on my list named Armen, an Armenian American, arrived from
- I introduced Armen to my friend Alina, and though they liked each other, never seemed to get much going.? Through a marriage agency, Armen started going out on some dates, but didn?t hit it off with someone until his second week.
after several people contacted me telling me they saw me on TV, I found out
that the feature story about my attack in
I was also
told that my story was featured in the newspaper too, though I never saw
it.? However, there is an online summary
report of it in Russian at the
Soon after, I
prepared to go to
boarded my train for the long trip south to
- The next day, I hung out with Katya bombshell and her friends, going to some festivals and concerts.
- On Halloween, I arranged an introduction through a marriage/dating agency and met a cute blonde named Natalia.? Together we went to a fancy Halloween party that night in a big restaurant hall, meeting Katya bombshell and her friends there too.? I even got on stage during a show to do a skit and won a prize.? It was a lot of fun.? However, Natalia was cute and pleasant, but didn?t seem that into me.? She wouldn?t even dance with me, giving the usual BS excuses.
- The next day, I met Olya from the train.? She was pleasant, easy going, and I could definitely sense an interest in me.? Still, I was unsure about my feelings for her.?
finally headed Southwest to
- After a long train ride, I finally arrive.? Nelly meets me at the station with a heartwarming greeting.? We are glad to see each other at last.? From there, we take a taxi to her home where her family has a lavish dinner prepared.
the beach resort town of
unfortunate is that Nelly?s warmness and tenderness toward me was not
romantic-motivated, as she later informs me that she only likes me as a friend,
disheartening me as she was my best prospect.?
However, after thinking it over, she reconsiders her intentions toward
me, due to her desire to go to
After a few
days, I decide to leave go to back to
morning, Nelly escorts me to the train station, and I leave sadly, for she has
been the kindest most considerate person I?ve met in
I again sit
the ride the long route back to
After a few
days though, I decide that the hotel I?m staying in is too expensive to stay in
everyday, so I decide to head to my next destination of
northeast, it was another 30+ hour train ride to
- When I arrived late at night, Irina picked me up and took me to her flat to spend the night.? In the morning, I met her roommates and then went to my host family that she prepared.
- Though Irina was nice, attentive, and considerate, she was also nagging, attention-hungry, and a bit possessive.? On top of that, she was very pessimistic as well.? I could tell that she had many disappointments with men in the past, and surmised that she might be somewhat desperate.? But I wasn?t that attracted to her and didn?t like her personality much either.? I even was more attracted to her roommates.? But she became possessive and tried to stop me from going out with other girls I met there.? My host family was cool though, and their 15 year old daughter Yulia was fun to hang out with and had a smile like Drew Barrymore.
- In regard to the English school, Svezhy Veter, that I was supposed to volunteer at, they blew me off after my long delays in registering for the program, giving me a series of contradictory and fishy excuses that made no sense.? I finally decided it wasn?t worth it, especially since the temperatures here were now subfreezing, extreme, and deathly, which I didn?t want to endure anyway, along with the deeply slippery snow that made walking around a pain in the ass.
- Irina takes me to visit her parents in a remote village, where I get a glimpse at primitive Russian village life.? It turns out that these families build their own homes, and so have no debt, but no other assets either.? I also visit a grammar school class to be their guest and speak English.? The kids, who had never seen a foreigner before, treat me like a celebrity and they all get my autograph afterward.? It was very cute.
- One night, Irina?s sister and brother-in-law drive me to an even more remote village and secluded home to celebrate a birthday.? There, we ate, drank vodka, and sang with organ music for hours.? Then we went to a village disco afterward.?
The next day,
we headed back to
- With my purpose there finished, I decided to head to Yoshka-Ola, where the sexy Elena that I dated last year for five days, wanted to see me again to rekindle what we had.? She was my new and best prospect now.
Before I left
though, Irina and I tried to have sex, but I couldn?t perform for a variety of
reasons, the biggest of which was that I wasn?t attracted to her and our styles
were different too.? Nevertheless, Irina
saw me off on the bus to
overnight bus ride past my stop way ahead of schedule without informing me,
leaving me in
morning, I finally arrived in
- The next night, after some delays, Elena finally came by taxi.? Oddly though, she pushed me into paying a quadrupled price for the ride, both for her and her friend inside.? I was able to bargain it down a bit, but didn?t want to dwell on it cause I was anxious to be with Elena again.? She looked very happy to see me and gave me a look of longing.? I couldn?t wait for what would happen next.
- Up in my flat, we made out for a while.? Strangely, she kept asking if she could have a stuffed tiger in my flat, even when she knew that it was not mine to give.? Are these people that depraved?!? Then, to my dismay, she suddenly said she had to be back home in an hour to take care of her grandmother (an excuse she used last year to flake out on me as well).? Before she left though, she promised that she would come again tomorrow and would spend the night.? Sadly, I gave her 50 roubles for the taxi and she left.
- The next day, she didn?t show up at our appointed time and place.? And when I called, she kept avoiding my calls.? What the f***?!? How could she do a complete 180 on me like that?? And why did she bring me all the way over here if she?s going to do that?? What a waste of my time and money.? This made no sense at all.? Perhaps she was a plant by Virginia agency to get me to come during slow season so that I would order more introductions from them?
- Needless to say, I never got a hold of Elena again.? With 3 more days left, I went out to meet more girls; on the street, in front of the agency, etc.? I met some real cuties, and brought a few over to my flat.? One girl that I met on the bus though, named Alina, seemed to take an interest in me, calling me often to see how I was.? When she was over, I didn?t think much of her though, and found her to be simplistic, plain and average looking.
- When my flat rental period was almost up, I prepared to leave, to head back to Moscow and work again as I did over two months ago.? Before I left though, I called Oksana, the engineer I met last year there, to meet.? This time she seemed more interested in me and was willing to get serious about me, but I merely humored her as she wasn?t really my type, plus she had gained weight too.
- The evening I boarded my train, a girl named Tanya, who took a message for me when I called Alina, met me and escorted me to the station.? Along the way, she gave me a little gift of a chicken to signify the upcoming year of the chicken.? It was a cute gesture.
- On board the train, I was glad and relieved that my turbulent chaotic fling out of Moscow was over.? Now that I got it ?out of my system?, I could go back and try to get back in ?the flow? again.? I know I could get my journalist job back, but my English teaching job wasn?t confirmed yet.
- Back in Moscow, it was snowed over now, unlike the sunny scene I left before.? I was glad to be back in its routine, though I hated it so much before, it was now so refreshing and welcoming.? I appreciated that it was safer than where I had been.
- I made my way to my hostel in Galina?s flat, and prepaid for ten days.? Then I called my former employers, and immediately was scheduled to be working both jobs soon, the journalist one and English teaching position.? This time, I would take a break from pursuing girls for a while, and concentrate on more productive things instead.
- And that?s how it pretty much was for the whole month of December.? It felt good to have a routine again.? My first day of teaching English was a terrifying experience, as I had never taught a class before, but I soon got the hang and flow of it.? But the daily routine was tiring, as I had to walk a lot between both jobs, riding the metro through bustling crowds, snow, dirty streets, and creepy people.
- Early on after my return, I met this girl named Olya in a high class banya of intelligentsia people.? Although she was plain looking and not normally my type, I felt a strong attraction to her, and an unusual tender crush.? There was something about her, or perhaps it was the way she made me feel.? And with a lot of interests in common, we seemed to be a great match.? She seemed interested and flirty with me too.
- But after not following through on our next date, she suddenly told me that her heart didn?t love me, so we could only be friends.? I was hurt and sad, even though our relations had only started, and wanted to talk about it.? But a few days later when we met, she dragged me into the countryside with a group of campers.? I had no idea what was going on, but soon we were being lowered into a whole in the ground.? We were going spelunking!? I told Olya that I didn?t bargain or prepare for this, but she gave me all the gear I needed, and I went down.?
- The caves turned out to be a fascinating adventure, though physically taxing at times.? After hours of exploring around the tunnels with a guide, we camped in the main room, where groups of hippie-like cave dwellers were singing and drumming esoteric music in a chamber adorned with esoteric Eastern-styled tapestries and hangings.? I held Olya in my arms and hands in our own private corner as if she were my girl, since I still had a strong crush on her.? And that night, I cuddled with her in our sleeping bags.
- In addition, there was something about being in those caves that was spiritual.? It was like being in a whole other world, removed from the world above-ground, which felt like you were free of all your troubles and issues above, being physically as well as mentally removed from them far below here.? I grew to like that feeling quickly.
- In the morning, we headed back up to the ground above, and took the bus back to Moscow city, where we took the metro back home for a much needed shower and laundry.
- At my hostel, I also hung out with this tall Dutch guy named Oliver a lot.? He had a morbid curiosity for Russia and its corruption and immorality, coming back multiple times to visit.? Being philosophical in nature, he had some insightful musings, such as his observation that arguments here were not won by reason as in the Western world, but by power, money, and brute strength.
- Near the end of the month, I went through this residency mayhem where I had no place to stay for two nights straight.? My hostel was full, and the landlady of the room I had planned to rent broke our deal for another tenant, the other renters flaked out on me or weren?t available, and the other hostels were full too.? It was all a lot of bad timing that went against me.? I ended up not sleeping for about 50-60 hours straight, spending both nights in the internet caf?.? It was horrible beyond words.? I didn?t know if I could survive the second night even.? I began to really hate Russia now, as things like this would never happen anywhere else, since most people you know would give accommodations to you.? Things go wrong in this country that you would never expect.
- After the second night, one of my hostels finally had room, and I was relieved at last.? Amazingly though, I was still wide awake for the rest of the day so I didn?t need to sleep right away.? When I finally did, it was the best sleep I ever had.? And you realize how much we take having a bed for granted.? The next morning, I awoke to a smiling pretty face of a well-traveled Russian girl named Yulia, who had arrived in the middle of the night.? As we got acquainted, we went down for breakfast.? I stayed in that hostel for the rest of the week, alternating every other day with staying in the internet caf?.
- I hung out with some guys there, and we all went out on some double dates together.
- When it approached New Year, I wasn?t sure what I was going to do.? As I had no one special in Moscow, my choices were to either go to Volgograd to see Olya and develop our relations further, or go to Yoshkar-Ola to see Alina again.? Though I hadn?t been that interested in Alina, she constantly called and smsed me throughout the month.? Clearly she was interested, and so I knew that if I went to her, she was mine for sure.? Though Olya was the more logical choice since she was older and knew what she wanted, somehow I felt drawn to Alina.? I don?t know why.? Perhaps since she was so eager and persistent about me, I felt that she deserved and earned her chance.? Or perhaps it was destiny.
- So, with her constant smses, when I asked if she wanted me to come to Yoshkar-Ola for New Year, she immediately began making plans for me, renting a flat for me, etc.
- And so I boarded the train on New Year?s Eve to Yoshkar-Ola.? Unfortunately, I would celebrate that night on the train, but to my dismay no other passengers were celebrating at midnight, only sleeping.
- The next morning, when I arrived in Yoshkar-Ola, Alina and her sister Alesya?s family picked me up in a van, driving me to their home to get cleaned up.? After a hearty lunch and shower, we all went out to a vast park to walk and do some cross country skiing.? Alina looked clearly happy to see me, and her family made me feel very special.? It was a great start to the New Year, and I felt wonderful vibes everywhere as if I had stepped into Disneyland.
- Alina and I shared a flat, soon became a couple and got intimate, proving that I was right about her.? She was a sincere, kind, good natured person with wonderful qualities.? It seemed as though my mission was finally accomplished!? My story would have a happy ending after all.
- Her family was the most caring, attentive, considerate family I had ever met in Russia.? Unlike most Russians, they were happy givers, not takers.? And they treated me like one of their own, going beyond my expectations.? I was given extra warm clothing, my clothes were washed, my broken jacket was repaired at their expense, snacks were brought to our flat, etc.? We paid a visit one day to her parents far away in a village, seeing all the barn animals there and enjoying the banya.
- After about ten days together, I prepared to leave while Alina returned to school after the holidays.
- Alina and her family saw me off at the station, where I headed back toward Moscow.? I was mesmerized by what just happened.
- Arriving in Moscow, I immediately began preparing to head to Lithuania for my six month visa exit and re-entry requirement.? Since I had been to Latvia and Estonia the previous year, I figured I might as well see the last Baltic state.
- On board the Ecolines bus, I met these two American Christian missionaries, Dean and Dale, whom I started talking to after a fiasco at the Russian/Lithuanian border where some customs officers tried to scam me, but failed, leaving me angry still.? I couldn?t wait to get out of the corrupt Russia.
- Vilnius, Lithuania turned out to be wonderful, peaceful, beautiful, tranquil, and had energizing vibes that gave me peace of mind, which I haven?t had in months.? It was a very rejuvenating atmosphere, and I liked its Old Town better than that of the other two Baltic states.? It had so many advantages over Russia.? People were more modest, far less conniving, and the food was far better and tastier, while remaining inexpensive.
- Dean and Dale hung out for a while, while they renewed their visa.? We had pizza and hours of theology debate, as they tried to reconvert me to their Christian faith, knowing that I deconverted from it long ago.
- After they left, I met many girls and had drinks with them.? They were very feminine and pleasant.? And unlike Russian girls, they were not greedy or manipulative, never asking for anything, and were very polite and modest.? I appreciated the contrast.? In essence, they had the good qualities of Russian women including their appearance, without the bad ones.
- After about a week there, I sadly left against my will back to Moscow, for I liked it much better there.? But I vowed to return again and explore more of it and its neighboring country of Poland as well.
- I had decided, after some thinking, that with my mission accomplished, I wanted to go home now, for it was unnecessary to continue staying in Russia, enduring all its negative aspects, and risking my life.? Now I could go home and apply for a fianc?e visa for Alina.
- Back in Moscow, I worked for a week back at the gazette office, decided not to teach any new English classes, and then headed back to visit Alina one more time.
- In Yoshkar-Ola again, I lived with Alina again in our flat, cooking Italian and Chinese food for her often, and snuggled together every night in our warm place.? After about a week, we went shopping for her engagement ring, which she picked out.? (During this time, I also experienced an increased desire from girls toward me, due to the vibes I projected of being taken, a common phenomenon.)
- After about two weeks together, I prepared to leave back to Moscow.? Before I left, we had a very passionate parting.
- Back in Moscow, I celebrated Valentine?s Day with a girl named Lyuba that I met in the metro tunnel who was selling Valentine heart sticks.? We went to have sushi together.
- For the next week, a confidential event known on my list as ?The Secret Update? occurred, which only a trusted few were privy to read.
- Afterward, I was to leave for Lithuania, but with Alina?s birthday coming up, I felt obligated to visit her one more time.? I bought some perfume bottles for her gift, and headed back.
- When I arrived, Alina?s family picked me up and transported me to our flat again.? That night, I bought cake for Alina and we celebrated at her sister Alesya?s home.? Alina loved the two perfume bottles I got her.? I later got her a stuffed animal as well.
- Eerily though, Alina seemed distracted and distant, like she was a different person than before.? I intuitively sensed that she telepathically knew about the events of ?The Secret Update?.? There were even some signs of it.
- Gradually, she grew more cold and distant, which led to her rudeness and inconsideration for us too.? Quarrels began between us, but she had no ability or communication skills to deal with them, dimming my faith in her.? She was also preoccupied with her family problems, which made her even worse and fragile.
- The worst of it culminated on my birthday the next week, where she bought me nothing for my birthday, and didn?t even treat it like it was a special day.? I literally had to force her to celebrate it.? I was speechless and thought it must be a joke, but it wasn?t.? I was angry and hurt.? That was the straw that broke the camel?s back.
- When I confronted Alina about, expecting an apology and make-up, she instead got defensive and whiney, which angered and hurt me even more.? In rage, I left the flat and stayed out all night til morning, staying over at my friend Clark?s flat.? During that time, I hung out with a new girl I was dating named Marina, whom I had met earlier when me and my friend Fedor went to a caf? and met some girls.? Marina, a cute sweet blonde, seemed to like me a lot, and our time together seemed romantic.? She had the curiosity and expressiveness I liked, which was lacking in Alina, who was always too serious and passive.
- The next morning, when I met Alina at our flat again to give her back the keys, we decided to call off our serious engagement and just remain friends.? We realized that we didn?t understand each other, that she was too young to get married and didn?t even understand herself, or me, for that matter.? Too many conflicts between us led to this.
- Alina and her friend Olya escorted me to the train station.? Since Marina was special to me too, I invited her to see me off too.? I didn?t want them both to see each other, but I had no choice.? While in a long romantic goodbye with Marina, I kissed her, and when Alina saw it, she left and phoned me to say goodbye.? In a sense, I guess it was poetic justice or sweet revenge for the way she had hurt me.? After I boarded the train, Marina and I had a long final goodbye as we gazed at each other for ten minutes straight.
- During the train ride, I was emotionally drained and still hurt.? I realized it was a mistake to visit the volatile Alina again a third time.? But in the big picture, I don?t think it would have made a difference, for Alina and I weren?t that compatible anyway and I might not have followed through on our original plans later.? I realized that she and I really had no physical or mental chemistry, and that I had rushed into things with her because I wanted to have a happy ending and mission accomplished to my trip too eagerly.
- Back in Moscow, I finished some errands before my final departure.? And picked up my final paychecks from both my jobs.? During that time, I experienced two highly skilled professional robberies that I didn?t think possible.? One was the retrieval of my old cell phone from the inner pocket of my jacket while it was hung over a chair I was sitting on in an internet caf?.? The other happened to a fellow guest in my hostel; he brought home a girl from a disco, who had drugged his drink and then proceeded to steal hundreds of dollars in cash out of his wallet, right in front of me, past my detection.? I didn?t think anyone could do that, but she was good, better than I had ever seen any thief perform.
- I could not wait to leave Russia and be away from such corruption unparalleled in the rest of the world.? Eagerly, I boarded my Ecolines back to my beloved Lithuania.? My plan was to visit more of that country, and then go to Poland next to it, where I would tour it out of interest, and scout it out as a potential place to live someday, comparing it to Lithuania.? It would be my next gateway to the European world.? And besides, flying home from Poland was cheaper than from Lithuania, so that made it a double purpose.
- In Vilnius, I celebrated being free at last, from the harshness of Russian life, and the tyranny of the Russian police constantly terrorizing foreigners and seeking bribes, giving us no peace of mind.? My plan
- After a few days of sightseeing the surrounding areas of Vilnius, I moved into this great hostel with a cozy interactive lounge and computer.? There, I met many British and Australian travelers, sharing my adventures and photos with all of them.? One in particular, a young Englishman named Graham, and I became particularly close, spending about 5 days together.
- It was there that I also discovered hospitalityclub.org, a website that networked travelers to give them free accommodation in each other?s homes.? I heard about it from one of the hostel visitors.? At first I thought it was too good to be true, but it wasn?t.? It was for real and free too.? From that point on, I began using it to save money.
- Next, I headed over to Klaipeda, a cozy beach town along the Baltic Sea.? It was very pretty and scenic there.? Two young girls from the hospitality club showed me around there too, as well as a girl from the bus the next day.? The Nida peninsula extending into the sea was also pleasant and peaceful, with its sand dunes and parks.
- From Klaipeda, I headed to Kaunas, the other major city in Lithuania.? There, I stayed with a hospitality club girl named Kirte, who was fun and had a bubbly personality.? Kaunas was fantastic.? Its long main street, limited to pedestrians only, was lined with shops and cafes, and populated with the best dressed girls I had ever seen, too many to even approach.? But they were approachable, so I felt totally comfortable with continuing to try and flirt with as many as I could.
- The museums and buildings there were fascinating too, in particular, the devil museum.
- After a few days, I relocated to another hospitality club host, Vita, a one-of-a-kind girl who was an artist, vegetarian, hitchhiker, and canoed to Russia on a river, collecting plants to use for tea.? She was out of this world!
- Next, I went on a camping adventure, invited by some other hospitality club members, in under-explored countryside areas of Lithuania, visiting little known mythological monuments along the way.? That night, the seasoned campers I was with picked a very secluded area to camp in, using the most bare all-natural ingredients to create a campfire and cook.? I learned a lot from how they did things.
- The next day, we headed to an ?orienteering event? which was like a marathon race on unpaved trails with runners tagging hidden marker points to finish the race in the least amount of time.
- That night, I was dropped off back at Vita?s home, where I stayed alone (these people can be very trusting) in her house for a few more days, before I prepared to go to Poland.
- From Kaunas, I rode a Eurolines bus to Warsaw, Poland, arriving early morning before dawn.? I was excited with wonder at getting to explore another whole new country!? I waited at the bus station for a few hours until morning, and then got some information from the tourist booth before I took the bus out to city center and Old Town.
- I like Warsaw a lot.? It was very modern, clean, safe, civilized, and beautiful.? The people were polite, calm, and reserved, though not very engaging toward strangers.? The Old Town, though completely rebuilt after WWII, was pretty and tranquil nevertheless.? And the history museum was immense and seemed never-ending.? However, the girls were not easy to meet at all, and very reserved toward strangers.
- That evening, I met my host Olga from hospitality club.? She took me to her flat in the outskirts, an upscale home with many amenities.
- After a few days, I headed south to Krakow, the culture center of Poland and the most well-liked part of the country. ?I rode on a high speed train going over 100mph there, a speed I didn?t know was possible.? When I arrived that afternoon, my next host Daria picked me up.
- Daria was a total trip.? She was unconventional, wild, fun, free-spirited in every sense of the word, a vegetarian like me, and kind, considerate, and hospitable as well (the latter qualities uncommon for free-spirited young people in the US).
- The next day, I met a young American and naval veteran named Robert, one of my list members who arrived here from Germany and wanted to meet me.? We had great comraderie, especially as we were on similar paths, never having found our niche in the states.
- That night, after Robert and I went out on a few double dates, we went to my host Daria?s home, where he spent the night.
- From that point on, the three of us became like the Three Musketeers.? We were a great team and had good synergy together.? For the next week, we spent a lot of time together, going to a lot of nightlife, clubs, concerts, etc.?
- Krakow is a wonderful place and lives up to my expectations.? Its market square, the biggest Old Town square in the world, is always full of life and artistic activity 24/7, making it a constant happy place even under the rain.? And the many streets extending in all directions are full of eateries, creative pubs, music venues, etc.? And the people are more open than in Warsaw, for they tend to be cultural types, artists, writers, actors, musicians, etc.; the type I get along with best.
- After a few days, Robert and Daria start becoming romantically and physically involved, making me feel like a third person.?
- One Saturday, I pay a visit to Auschwitz, the site of the biggest Nazi concentration camp during WWII.? The horror and atrocities there were unbelievable, overwhelming, and heavy, making it the saddest place in the world.? The two camps there and many museums take hours to tour.
- On my way back, I miss the evening train, so I take a late one at 11pm.? At a transfer point it takes me to, I am alone in a little waiting area, when two young punks who are stoned come in and harass me.? When they won?t leave me alone, I have the ticket lady call the police, who arrive and take them away for a while, though they keep coming back.? During the fiasco, a group of young grungy musicians come in and help deflect the two stoners.? Afterward, they befriend me and escort me to my transfer train.?
- The coincidence of meeting them ends up benefiting my friend Robert though, who later joins their band and plays in some concerts with them, fulfilling one of his dreams.? Robert soon starts work there teaching English as well.
- During my second and third week in Krakow, I go stay with some other hosts at hospitality club, meeting a variety of interesting quality people.? In Krakow, I also go to a travel agency to buy tickets to fly home in a few weeks.
- I also discover the massage sex parlors there, which have lots of beautiful sexy women to choose from for 30 dollars an hour!? I go three times, having a satisfying experience each time.? I had two sexy blondes and one exotic asian.
- After three weeks in Krakow, I sadly leave, against Robert?s suggestion that I stay and work there too.? Both Robert and Daria see me off at the station.
Next, I head
- I stay with James his host family for a few days in this quiet cozy but poor town.? While doing so, I meet some of his colleagues at the English school, and date this young cutie named Kasia too.
Next, I head
After a few
days, I head back to
- On May 24, I haul all my stuff (most of which was stored at Olga?s home) to the airport.? It had been more than 10 months since I started this journey.
and transfers turn out to go smoothly.?
First I transfer at