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The Chilling Draft of Russia Or How to Avoid Catching a Cold

Published: December 26, 2013 (Issue # 1792)

From Murmansk to Magadan, Sochi to Salekhard, and from Kaliningrad to Kamchatka, its tentacles weave a web of hideous destruction. Quietly, on the steppes of Siberia, now whispering over the Urals, then across the Volga. Now coming down your street as you innocently sit in your home.

No, I do not speak of forced military conscription. Neither do I refer to a system whereby sports teams select amateur players to join their professional ranks. And, no, this is not an alcoholic beverage. I am speaking of something much more sinister. I am talking about The Draft.

If you are not from Russia, you must understand, that The Chilling Draft Of Russia is not to be compared with the elementary air movement you may sometimes experience in your home abroad. For The Chilling Draft Of Russia is to be feared. At all times.

Here is what you need to know about The Chilling Draft Of Russia:

1) The Chilling Draft Of Russia has countless hideous side effects.

You will rue the day you ever encountered this silent beast on while traveling. Just recently I was on a train. I thought I was enjoying the gentle breeze wafting through the window. As it turned out, I was playing with matches and gasoline. The lady sitting across from me asked if I wanted to close the window. I replied that I did not. She asked, "Aren't you afraid of neck pains?" I quickly realized my oversight. I had carelessly put my neck at risk

If you think turning your back to The Chilling Draft Of Russia will provide protection, then I suppose you have no qualms about your kidneys catching a cold?

And if you happen to be a woman sitting there in The Chilling Draft Of Russia, you might as well have just sat at the corner of the dining room table. If you know what I mean.

2) The Danger of the Chilling Draft is independent of the temperature outside or inside.

One time I was riding a train in Ukraine. It was a bazillion degrees outside and I am not joking when I say the train was crawling at a snail's pace in the hot sun, from Kharkov to Kiev. This produced what is known as the "greenhouse effect". It was so hot, my kids pulled out birch branches and started beating each other on the back, banya style.

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Sunday, Apr. 20

Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianity’s holiest day.

Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti — Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the desert’s most iconic plant.

Monday, Apr. 21

Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDA’s Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.

Tuesday, Apr. 22

SPIBA’s Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.

The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.