In Russia, The Easy Life Hard To Find

Roaches In The Hotel, Hot Dogsfor Breakfast

July 09, 1991|By Adrienne McCray

Editor's note: Adrienne McCray, a 16-year-old track athlete at NorthCounty High School, recently returned from a 10-day trip sponsored by Pangaea Inc. to compete in the Soviet Union. McCray, the Anne Arundel County Sun's Female Track Athlete of the Year, kept a daily diary,which details her experiences on her first trip outside the United States. This is the third of four parts.


June 24

This morning I was again awakened from a good sleep. For breakfast we had hot dogs. I ate one and tried to fill my plate upagain but I couldn't take it. I tried to explain to them that I don't eat that much for breakfast.

Then they asked me if my mother wasskinny and if she ate a lot. I told them yes and no. When they said some words like mother they would pronounce it like "moder," and after a while they had me saying "moder" and pronouncing my name "Andren." I really loved this family, though.

After breakfast we caught a cab into town. The funny thing about Russian taxi drivers was that you have to ask them will they take you to a certain place. If they want to go there they will take you. If not, you just had to wait for the next one to stop.

As we were walking around the downtown area I noticed that on the streets they have drink machines with a glass cup.

When you put your money in the slot, you take the glass cup, wash it out with water, then fill it up with your drink. After you're finished you put the cup back. All of the drinking stands on the streets are the same.

I asked the girl I was with if she could get me a Coke, and it seemed as though we were walking forever and still none of the stores had Coke. I settled for a Russian Orange Fanta.

Thenit was time for me to go.

So we went back home to get my things. When we got there I was relieved that I was with the group again.

Our guide named Lana said, "You see, friends, the thing is," and we learned that when she said that something went wrong.

She told us that we had to go back with our families for another day. Everyone gotmad. We had to stay another day because one of the coaches had askedif we could leave later in the day for Sochi, the beach resort sincewe got to the families late the night before.

Now Lana said that we couldn't leave because the trip was too dangerous to take at night. None of us wanted to go back to the houses.

It wasn't like the families treated us badly, it was that there wasn't very much communication between us. We told the coaches that we didn't want to go back and they decided to have a conference to see what they could do.

In the end they decided that they would talk the families into allowing two of us to stay with them instead of us being by ourselves. Many of the families were still hurt because we didn't want to go back andI began to feel bad again. In the end, Erin and the girl she stayed with both spent the night with my family.

After everything was figured out we went on a boat ride. On the way there we had to find something to drink. So we went into this store that had bottles with liquid inside with pictures of apples on the outside. We decided to try them. They tasted just like apple juice, so we bought another bottle of it. We were so happy when we got the apple juice the Russians were just looking at us laughing.

When we got down to the dock and met up with everyone else in the group they all wanted some of our drink.When we got on the boat I had nothing left. The boat ride was an hour long. When it was over we went back home. That night Erin and I weren't going to sleep so our girls stayed up with us all night and talked to us.

Then we taught them how to play go fish. When we were inthe middle of the game, they began flipping through their books and asked us what was the point. All we did was laugh. We had a lot of fun that night.

The next morning we got up early and went to the busstation to go to Sochi. I hugged my family goodbye and got on the bus.

On the way we stoped at a museum and Lana got back on the microphone with her "you see friends" speech. We were all upset with the Russians and the coaches because they seemed to be takingour time awayfrom being at the beach. When the Russians got off of the bus we gotchewed out again by the coaches about the way we were acting.

Before the coaches threatened to send us back to the United States. Now,they were threatening to leave us in the Soviet Union. After that, Iwent to Ms. Salkin, our chaperon, and told her that everyone was acting this way because they weren't telling us anything. They expected us to do what we were told on a second's notice, without getting upset.

I told her that we had been told that we were going to Sochi and now they are changing things on us. Also, the threats that were being made weren't helping the matters any. She said that she understoodwhat I was saying and we had a nice little talk.

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