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7. Chelyabinsk

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Welcome to Chelyabinsk- the town where trolleybus runs without electricity and goes against the traffic flow. Town where their own hockey team doesn’t have funds for their hockey pucks so they practice on jar lids. And last but not least the town where women are so tough- when they do a blow job your dick is about to explode…

Chelyabinsk- considering Russian standards- it’s a pretty small town, but comparing to European cities it seems pretty big! It is located in central-south part of Ural ( region located around the Ural Mountains, between the East Europe and West Siberian plains) and it has about 1.5 mln residents. It takes about 75.5 miles to get to the borders of Kazakhstan which comes with a big migrations- people who try to get to “a better world”- which for many Kazakhstanis Russia is. Going more toward west of the country you can start seeing more people with Asian appearance.

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Chelyabinsk might not be the most beautiful city, but the first thing that you notice are green bushes and trees as well as huge woods that outstretch around Chelyabinsk. On the outskirts you can spot several factories with huge chimneys. The prettiest part of Chelyabinsk is the midtown where you can take a stroll on stone paved promenade passing bunch of cafe, restaurants galleries, sculptures, stalls and many of the street musicians. At the end of the street that we walked on you could see a big statue of one and only Vladimir Lenin – how could it be otherwise? Statue of Lenin you can probably find in every Russian city as well as the streets named after him. Also, just like in Moscow you could see a building that resembled our polish Palace of Culture and Science that turned out to be the biggest university in Chelyabinsk.

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City Chelyabinsk is an object of many Russian jokes- kinda like Polish Wachock. When comes to people from Chelyabinsk we have heard that they are tough and rough. Where did this come from? Well, most likely because during the World War II grandpa Stalin decided to move most of the factories that were producing military equipment to safer place as he was afraid of the Third  Reich ( Nazi Germany). It happened to be in Chelyabinsk where they moved thousands of factory workers and the production started in a full swing. After many years the production of tanks and rockets slowed down but the factories and people were still there. The new branches of industry appeared, and before they knew it Chelyabinsk became this big Industrial city that many people so freely joke about.

Another reason why people of Chelyabinsk are called tough and rough might have something to do with the catastrophe in one of the biggest nuclear facilities in ZSRR in 1957. In the little village- about 37 miles from Chelyabinsk called “Chelyabinsk-40” poorly maintained storage tank exploded releasing tons of high level radioactive waste. The catastrophe was much more serious than the one in Chernobyl as the radioactive cloud contaminated more than 300 square miles and 10-15 thousand people died. The operation “Chelyabinsk-40” was highly classified and the Russian government hid that fact from the rest of the world for many years, and about 30 villages were removed from the map of the Soviet Union. After some time that catastrophe was turned into joke about radioactive factory workers who had superpowers.

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When we arrived to Chelyabinsk the weather was hot- 93 degrees. After saying goodbye to our military trip companions we started to look for a shelter from the sun. After eating a delicious dinner that tasted just like Polish cooking, drinking a cold brew to cool off our bodies- we were ready to meet our new host.

Young pastry chef that again proved to us that Russians are very friendly- welcomed us with open hands. With her best friend they showed us places worth seeing and told us the history of buildings that we were visiting. I also have to admit that she was a very good driver and as she said- she doesn’t like woman drivers. She had that peace and control over the steering wheel that was proven when we were turning on the green light and the car that missed the light was flying toward us. Last minute she turned the other direction avoiding the accident and with the big smile she just looked at us and said “ yeah……welcome in Chelyabinsk”. Both Stefan and I  nervously wiped the sweats from our faces and smiled back to her…….just not that big of a smile.

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One of the attractions that we were able to see was the big hockey stadium named “Traktor”  that was hosting a drift car race that day. Many cars with tuning makeover, loud engines and piles of used tires got our attention. Unfortunately we were stopped at the gate and were told that without a special band we won’t be able to get in. As we mentioned before our welcoming host turned out to be clever and resourceful as well, and quickly got an idea to go to the main office and tell them about our journey, and before we knew it we were inside walking around the race cars with our press passes taking videos and pictures of racing cars, talking to the drivers and admiring beautiful long legged flag girls ( for those more interested more pictures in the gallery!)

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The best part of our day was at the end of  it when Alona (our host) introduced us to her musician friends and we spend the rest of the night at the camp fire by the lake. Quickly we made a use of our guitars and slowly drifting into the world of music, we enjoyed the nice view, cheap Russian wine and delicious baked “kartoshki” (baked potatoes). Nothing was bothering us- not even mosquitos- and we sang from the top of our lungs until we couldn’t sing anymore.

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The day ended very late- as a matter of fact very early- as we were sitting on top of one of the highest 15 story buildings in midtown of Chelyabinsk smoking hookah and watching the lazy sun rise. The place where we were sitting was a raw not finished part of the building that a young Russian decided to leave as a romantic place for the couples. For the small fee you can rent the place and sitting on the comfortable couch you could enjoy a glass of champagne, smoke some hookah and enjoy your company while watching “krasivy” (beautiful) view- or you could do whatever the hell you wanted and what happened in that place stayed in that place. We were assured by the owner of the place that the couch was cleaned after each visit 🙂

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