What do people stay for? I can understand why have they come in the first place, their parents and grandparents; for work, for a different life, but there must have been reasons to remain and persist here, in this cold difficult land.
I want to ask the artists I meet these things, more things. I have yet to formulate the questions for myself.
I strolled around the city and just to walk in the melted slashy snow takes so much effort: you need a motive, a goal to reach, a dedication even to set off. Or is it just me still needing to find my focused aim, still too tired from the past months, missing making art in an artist's studio, getting a bit nostalgic in this grey city and not having gathered enough energy, old work piling up and of course never enough time, never enough time for all. But we love what we do. Is it enough to live off?
There are many lights in this city, and the street lights are pretty with ships and waves and lighthouses, referring to the naval history. You need a special permit to go to the milatary bases that are spread in the neighbourhouring towns. And how is it to live that life there?
The infrastructure in general is difficult, the railroads are non-existent aside from the main Murmansk - Saint Petersburg - Moscow trail. There are many cars, Murmansk has one of the highest numbers of cars per capita in Russia, say the guidebooks and informed sources. Despite the fact that the roads are run down, sometimes in the outskirts of the city turned into sole dirt roads. The drivers don't mind, used to skip over holes and potholes and slide aggressively over frozen bumps, engines loud and roaring. I hear them at night from my window. They don't give up. They get stuck in a snowdrift, again, and again, and deal with it in a down-to-earth manner. As with everything else here. It's life, it's hard, deal with it but enjoy it, be nice to other people, come sit with us.
The buses, marshrutkas (local mini-buses so characteristic for Russian cities) and trolleybuses here are good, the taxi driver said, and Glafira and Ivan concurred; they run often and everywhere and are not expensive. The taxis are cheap, but they don't have the taxi signs and you have to check the plate number properly! warns Glafira, her sister had a bad experience sitting in a wrong car. Check the plate. There is a taxi app you can download. Now this does not make one paranoid about taxis at all. Also now I am VKontakte. With th world. I was introduced to how-to drink sambuka in a Rockandroll Bar, you twist the flaming alcohol in a cognac glass, first you put a couple of coffee grains in (why? it's good for the taste) and then pour the drink in a different glass; cover up the cognac glass with a napkin and straw inserted through a little hole, so that you can inhale the alcohol fumes whilst sipping on the real drink. Very complex.
I should try to speak more Russian.