Saturday, February 03, 2007

Walking down memory lane

While working today I thought I would listen to a CD with Russian music I bought during field work last summer. So far the music has derailed all attempts of serious work and transported me mentally back to the big country to the east where I do the hands-on part of my research. I am in a field where field work is part of the game and often in long stretches of time, far away from home and under fairly primitive conditions. Last summer was one of the more luxurious trips in the sense that we travelled by car in an inhabited area and only camped for about half of the time. Our driver was a local guy from the nearest major city. He was a horrible* driver, but a very nice person and never once complained about the standard of accommodation we provided. Actually I think he enjoyed the camping and helped making fires and brought us freshly caught fish. He was also a big fan of Russian pop music and no trip was complete without his favorites on full volume. After thousands of km on bumpy dirt roads and narrow highways through the endless forests in the Russian interior with this music as continuous background noise we almost began to enjoy it (for the recognition and sense of shared agony if not for anything else). Playing this music now back home reminds me of endless days on endless roads, the Russian countryside, another pace of life, faraway friends, hot summer days, Baltica beer, cucumber and tomato salads, bathing in chilly rivers, beautiful sunsets and the sound of a language, which to me is intimately connected to all of the above.

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