Just my two cents ....
But the best story so far probably happened last night; we were following some (helpful?) cab drivers to a hotel in volgograd. It's about midnight, and we are heading farther and farther out of town. I am wishing i knew how to add "but not a hell hole" onto the "not too expensive" phrase I brought out when we were asking directions. Anyway, we finally are in volgograd's darkest outskirts, pulling up to a parking lot with a barrier across it that lets the cab in. It is pitch black but Justin very intelligently points out that this is where westerners go to die. I had been all for this adventure up until now but I have to admit he has a point, so the micra goes into reverse, gets floored, and pointed back up the one-way highway off ramp we came off of, in the wrong direction and at speed. Neither of us much cares and besides traffic is light, and a quick U-turn across the highway gets us pointed back towards town center, not a cop in sight. So we are catching our breath and playing it cool but of course the cabbies (three in the car?) catch up to us and start shouting at us in Russian, at midnight in Volgograd, strangely trying to point us to the town center as if they were being helpful afterall (and god knows maybe they were). Justin is trying to wave them off and eventually succeeds in handing them 300 rubles through the window of the car as we cruise down the highway, hopefully having paid our debt to the local cab mafia. Considering ourselves lucky to have lived, we drive down to the Volgograd hotel, which turns out to only be $60 and well worth it as they have a car park and it is beautiful.
And THAT is not something that happens to a fellow every day.
I also wanted to say that I miss everyone back home and that its not the same without you. Thanks for your emails, texts, and comments. I miss you Jen!