When we were planning a holiday, we wondered what to do with our 13 year old dog, Dulci? She is deaf, with cataracts on her eyes, a terrible cancer in her belly and she cannot control her bladder. Who would want to take care of such an old peeing dog? The vet even declared, that she won’t live much longer, and suggested that it might perhaps be time to give her an injection? We refused, picked up all the carpets and gave the tile floor a good wash when there was a puddle.
After many phone calls with dog sitters, it was clear, that nobody was ready to take her for nine days. They all said that they did not want her to die in their place, too much responsibility and they surely did not want such a peeing dog. Then my daughter jumped in. She really would like to look after Dulci. “Listen Mum, I have already a nursing home for animals. My 16 year old dog is not well and my 14 year old cat drives me crazy with his meowing. Dulci is welcome”.
That was the prelude to our Russian holiday. The day before we left we drove to our daughter with all the paraphernalia such as basket, leash and food for Dulci’s “summercamp”.
Before one leaves there are lots of preparations to be done. This was a guided cruise, starting in Moscow and ending in St. Petersburg and packing was a headache by itself. Will it be cold, suitable for winter sweaters or wet, umbrellas and rainwear and shoes? All bulky stuff to take and as we come from a subtropical country, we check Google for temperatures, we seem to have it always wrong. Besides packing, one has to prepare one’s phone and buy a number of gigabytes or a Simcard, so the cost won’t be excessive. We decided that my husband would do that and then it won’t be necessary to take my phone. It is old and very slow. I might as well leave it at home. Big mistake!
Of course I packed my beloved camera too. I don’t like to photograph with telephones anyway, because one cannot zoom and the pictures are better (so I thought).
On the day of departure we took the train to the airport, each with a suitcase. Zwi had his backpack and I carried my museum chair and dropped it in the overhead luggage rack. It is an hour and a half to the airport, but I have my beloved Kindle with me and am not bored. To get into the Russian atmosphere I was reading “Peter the Great, his life and world” by Robert Massie. It really helped to understand all the sites in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Great to see all that one had read about and knew the reasons why St Petersburg was started by Peter the Great. It is a very readable and wonderful book.
Approaching the airport we were anxious to leave the train quickly. Halfway through all the checkpoints I realized that I forgot my museum-chair in the train. Is it still riding the rails two weeks after our return?
When we at last arrived in the departure hall proper, I asked Zwi for the phone. I wanted to call Yael to hear how Dulci was settling in. Zwi made a long face and even before he checked his bag and pockets he knew that the phone was still lying on the table at home! In these times one cannot live without communication, whether it is a simple phone call, a WatsApp, or Google….
First we tried to rent a phone, but in the departure hall that is impossible; you could buy a Sim card, but without a phone? We went to the tax-free shop and bought a phone for me! The old one was anyhow no good, I deserved a new one. Off to the place to get a Sim card, so we could use it for calls (if I could remember the phone numbers). That was more or less what I could do on this one, because I still had to transfer all the information from my old one to this beautiful Chinese one with the impossible name “Xiaomi” and that could only be done at home. The first call was to our daughter. She was most surprised to see a strange number on her phone and hear me. Listened to the whole story, laughed and told me that Dulci was great.
This is not the end of our troubles. In the middle of Moscow I tried to make a beautiful picture with the Zoom of the camera. It made strange noises, muttered and complained and died! The camera went into the wastebasket in the hotel after I removed the memory card. Hurrah for my new phone. It makes beautiful pictures.
All this happened, because we are not getting any younger and certainly more forgetful! Dulci joined us again after the holiday and is as well as she can be.
St. Basils Cathedral in Red Square in Moscow.