Friday, July 11, 2008

July 7, 2008--Life on Sacco-E-Vansetti Street

Life on Sacco-e-Vansetti Street
July 7, 2008 

First, a word about our street. If you go out of our building’s front door you look at an island of trees and wild grasses between our building and the street. Each building in our cluster has such an island, but ours has many mature, blooming trees where the others to the left have one or no trees. This picture is taken facing the building from the street looking through the island.

The street immediately in front of our building is badly chewed-up with long patches of damaged surface exposing the crushed rock 6 or so inches below. Several of these damaged spots are genuine “potholes” as much as 10 inches deep. During the frequent rains while we’ve been here these spots fill with water and present a real hazard to the inexperienced sojourner on Sacco-e-Vanzetti Street. The experienced ones drive around the potholes, weaving from one side to the other as they maneuver around them at fairly high speed. Every once in a while we hear the squealing of tires as a novice discovers the hazard or the serious clunk of someone who didn’t see it in time. 

The other picture is a little fuzzy because I had to take it in a hurry while walking, but it is an open storm drain on our street just to the right of our driveway. I hope to remember it when the snow comes. It could be a real surprise if I don’t.

Our street is named after the two Marxist labor organizers in the 1920’s who were tried and convicted of the murder of a paymaster they were accused of trying to rob. Several prominent people like Upton Sinclair came to their support, but they were found guilty and executed in 1927. Our street is named for them, presumably as a martyr’s reward.

There are 17 homeless dogs living on our street, mostly in the yard of the Neighborhood association office. Here Sister Simmons is walking by the grass-fronted office, heading west toward our apartment. Ours is what appears to be the third building in this picture.

This picture is taken out of our window to the right (east) looking at the Neighborhood Association campus where the dogs spend most of the day until about 8:00 pm. Then they make the rounds of the neighborhood, stirring up some other dogs and making a great racket until about 11pm. Then things seem to settle down for the night with only the occasional outburst of barking. This happens nightly. I have seen this pack attack another dog who was in their territory one morning and give it a pretty good chewing before it escaped, but they don’t seem to bother the people.
The picture also shows the building under construction directly across the street from our building. They work on this building 24 hours a day. What you see is only our side. It covers about a city block in a donut; bordering the street with a courtyard in the center.

The next picture is looking slightly to the left (west) about 10 o’clock from our window. It is some kind of industrial complex, but people live in it during the night.
This style of parking is not at all unusual in Novosibirsk. I have come to understand that the rule is, “If you can physically do it, it is ok until someone stops you.” This car was parked like this at the corner of the building in the previous picture when I got up in the morning and wasn’t moved until about 9 am when a man walked across the street from our side, got in the car, and drove away to the west. People walked around it all morning like it was a tree that had fallen in the night. No one seemed to react angrily or put out, they just moved around it.

To the far left (west) of our window we have a nice view of the Ob River. It is dammed about 5 miles to the south, creating the Ob Sea, a lake about the size of Lake Tahoe. We have a beach on the west (called the left) bank just about across the river from where our street would end. This picture was taken as we crossed the river in President Mickelsen’s van.

That’s it for a description of our street. As CSN&Y sings it, “Our house, in the middle of our street, our house . . .is a very, very, very fine house”


Phil Ronzone said...

WOW! It looks allot like eastern Germany industrial towns. You can defiantly see the typical communist architecture in your apartment buildings. You buy any covers for the sofas? I read the letters you sent to the Mission President and hope that you can get the apartment fixed up a little more. I loved your "If it didn't move we cleaned it. If it did I killed it" comment, I had a good chuckle over that. Just goes to show what kinds of places other people live in and makes you appreciate how good we have it here in the States.

We miss you here in Sacramento, but we support you 100% in your mission. You are doing a great job and I'm sure Sister Simmons will have the office and apartment organized and running like a Swiss clock in no time.


Belva said...

Good morning, For once, I am not writing this at midnight..maybe its midnight there. Love reading your letters to the mission president. This gives an over all view of your needs and concerns. Sounds like you almost have beach front property. Who would have thought that you would find Paradise in the middle of Siberia.
You know that Paradise in California is on fire. The town has been evacuated and several of our couples that work at the temple with us stayed home to keep watch on their homes.

The national news says "California is on Fire..with sweltering heat and over 1,000 fires caused by lightening." All this after a handful of judges voted for Gay marriages. Do you think there is a connection? Just kidding.

Thank you for sending so many pictures. I hope that you will continue to ask "who is in charge?"
That question has helped us all benefit when planning with the two of you. Great progress can be made when you find your leader. Love you both and miss you a lot,
Keep up the exchange of ideas and info. Love, Belva