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Russia, December 15, 1997

It's Damn Cold!

Brrr! You wander the streets when its -30 C!

I wanted to burrow underground on this day
This past week Moscow broke a few records for record cold, and unfortunately I was here to experience it! Now this is Moscow, not know for its tepid climate, but -30C is a bit ridiculous. It was so cold, my breath was taken away when I walked outside. Little crystals would form on my beard and on my eyelashes, making the walk to/from the metro a bit surreal.

I weathered the cold as best I could, with a the grace I could muster. I put ski pants over my slacks, a thick leather jacket over my blazer, a thick scarf around my neck, and my wool fez on my head. I wasn't quite the Michilen Man, but I didn't have it together as some of the winter hardened Russians. My favorite are the men who do not wear hats on the coldest of days. I am the first to take off my hat, for I hate hat hair, but these freaks will walk around on a -30C day bare headed! Luckily there are babushkas who will loudly remind them of their need for headgear as they beat the men over their bare noggins with any available object. It is quite a sight, a 4ft grandma hitting a 6ft full grown man upside the head with a broom, and the man runs from her!

Today the air is warm, only -8C, and I walked home with my coat open, trying not to sweat. That is the other quandary here, how not to sweat in winter. All the homes are very warm, usually about 75F all winter long, and the metro never gets below 80F, so coming from the snow with a good walk and a thick coat, I usually strip down to my shirt to keep form being sticky wet until I exit the metro 30 minutes later. Of course the Russians do not share this same aversion to sweat/stink and think I am insane for disrobing on the metro. Too bad.

All this cold weather has made me desire a vacation in a place where the isn't a word for snow in their language. I am thinking Afrika in February. Maybe India. Somewhere I only need a pair of shorts, not even a shirt or shoes, and I can sunbathe all day long! Any suggestions? Email me.

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