One of the last details of my trip that was giving me a little bit of stress yesterday was calling for the taxi to take me to the train station. I called, but there was some confusion about my phone number, so I waited vigilantly by the window so I could see when the taxi finally came. After I turned off the gas and the water in the apartment, and locked up, I came down to meet my very jolly taxi driver. You can get an idea of our conversation:
Him: So, where are you going?
Me: To the train station.
Him: And then?
Me: To Moscow.
Him: And then?
Me: To California.
Him: Aha! So you were here, visiting someone?
Me: No, I’m actually living here in Voronezh this year and teaching English.
Him: Wow. “Nice to meet you” (he said in English), I always like meeting new people. I took some English in school, and it’s ok to understand it, but it’s just hard for me to talk.
Me: It’s the same with me with Russian.
Him: So, do you have a boyfriend there? A husband? Are you married?
(at this point I notice that he is not wearing a wedding ring. this is when I first become suspicious of my jolly driver Sergei.)
Me: Haha, no, I just finished university. No.
Him: So what do you do when you’re not working? Do you go to the movies? To cafes?
(my suspicions have grown significantly. I should mention that he was not very old, probably early 30s.)
Me: Umm.. No…not really..I just work all the time. (blatant lie)
This all goes on for another uncomfortable 5 minutes, when we pull into the parking lot of the train station. He parks, I pull out my wallet, and he says, “Later, later.” He proceeds to get out of the car and carries my bag all the way into the train station. After asking me where I’m going to wait (to which I respond, just right here), I pull out my wallet again. “No, no,” he insists, “I just like talking to new people. This is what people do, when you meet interesting people.”
I graciously thank him, and he turns to leave, and then he says, “What’s your name again? What’s your phone number?”
I graciously deprive him of this information, because as pleasant as our 7 minute drive to the vokzal was, I have no desire to continue the friendship when I return in January. Although he did say that he likes to drive a motorcycle when he’s not working. He laughs it off too and goes back outside, and I wait to find out what track my train will leave from.
You know how I take little signs to mean things though, especially when I’m traveling. Maybe this is another sign of good travel karma? I can only hope. I’m already at Sheremetyevo, and the outlook is good.