Two weeks, six hotels, several cows, and two red-eyes.
Privyet everyone – from Moscow!
This last fortnight has been non-stop darting about the globe for me. But now I’m back in pleasantly sunny Moscow and the pace has eased off just a little… which has given me some time to put fingers to keyboard and come up with this short summary of the previous two weeks.
In all, six cities were taken in: Washington, D.C., London, Munich, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Barcelona. Six hotels, six flights. Three conferences, seven speeches, dozens of interviews, and loads of very interesting meetings.
The last event was our European Partner Conference in Barcelona – at the stylish and hard-partying W Hotel on the shore of the warm Med with its nice long beach (must say, I’d never experienced the beach in Barca even though I’ve been here an untold number of times). We managed to take a dip in the sea and chill on the beach only after dusk as we had no time during the day. The beach was still in full tourist mode at night though, so the atmosphere was nice and vibrant. Advice: if ever in Barca, don’t miss out the beach.
Party city + party beach = Barca
Now for three curious… (er, how can I label them best?…), items! Just three random bizarre things I read about while up in the air on this latest jaunt. So, here we go!…
Item 1. A cow or no cow?
There’s a Russian film called “The Peculiarities of the [Russian] National Hunt“, which is considered a true comedy classic in Russia, but largely unknown outside it. Anyway, at one point in the film, after something like the third day of a traditional vodka binge hunt out in the Russian countryside, a live cow is loaded into the bomb hold of a Tu-22 bomber after bribing the respective official. It does sound cruel, but thankfully the cow eventually escapes while the plane was back on the ground.
Now, there just so happens to be a ‘true’ story documented in print in various places – both online and offline – somberly resembling this fictional cinematic episode. It goes like this: a live cow was released from the cargo hold of a plane, which fell nine kilometers to earth only to land right on top of a Japanese fishing trawler. The boat sank immediately, but the fishermen were saved; however, their crazy story about just how their sorry ship had sunk landed them in prison. You can read about it here. The story was retold by ‘eyewitnesses’ on the Internet, and even wound up in the New York Times!
Conclusion: Never take the Internet as gospel. The same goes for newspapers.
// Paradox: Snopes.com is also a web-based media outlet, so, er, I guess that can’t be believed either! It can be a very amusing site though, all the same :).
Item 2. Transatlantic red-eye.
On a New York-Berlin flight with a connection in London, a very imaginative and creative but very bored man was flying economy and had seven hours to kill… so started to draw sketches of what he was experiencing. You’d be forgiven for thinking that’s hardly going to be a riveting series of jotted drawings… but you’d also be wrong. The illustrations are just great, very detailed, but most importantly – the depictions are just so true and groan-ably recognizable to all frequent flyers. The sketches and commentaries are here.
Item 3. A tale of two cows.
Turns out this is a very old story, but I only heard it recently. Better late than never!…
It’s about how two cows fare in different countries and politico-economic systems.
- Socialism: You have two cows. You give one to your neighbor.
- Communism. You have two cows. The state takes both and gives you some milk.
- Capitalism. You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull…
…and so on. To read some cool bovine-pair destinies – go here.
And the whole history of the 2-cow thing is here.
That’s it for today my droogs!