Sunday, April 3, 2011

April Is Coming to Siberia

Everybody knows that Siberia has a lot of snow. Everybody knows that snow melts when temperatures rise above 0C. So we can logically come to the conclusion that, when it gets warmer, tons of snow in Siberia turn to mega-litres of water.

Usually, springs in Siberia are short. After a few warm days in April all the snow starts melting at once and flooding hits city streets. It doesn't matter how well the sewage system works, it seems just nearly impossible to avoid flooding these days. In two or three weeks, the water runs away, roads become dry and life goes to normal, but these few weeks put people and urban infrastructure on trial.

Imagine that, one day, you step away from your home and find that everything around is under 20 cm of water. Your feet get wet in a few minutes and you have to go back home to find boots that are more suitable for these circumstances. If you are lucky or practical enough, you might have a pair of elegant rubber boots in your locker. So you think you are now ready for flooding. Well, no. In the nearest crossroad, a truck makes a dirt shower for you, so your $XXX coat now has a look like you are homeless and has spent the last night under the bridge. Trucks and cars have no fun splashing pedestrians with mud. Just roads in Russia are so awful, that drivers can not see pits hidden under water. So you decide to come back and change your business suit for jeans and a leather jacket. At least, they are easy to clean with a piece of cloth. After putting on proper boots and clothes, you are really ready for spring adventurous life in Siberia.

Drivers have a hard time during spring flooding too. First, they are in permanent danger of catching a pit on the road and break tires. Second, cars get muddy in a few minutes, so you have to choose between continuing driving your smudgy baby or paying for a car wash every day. Getting out of the car is a trick that requires you to be in good shape — water is under your feet, the nearest available dry spot is one meter away, and the outside of your car is
covered with mud here and there.

What amazes me most is that Siberian ladies wear high heels even during the spring flooding. They flit from one dry piece of surface to another like butterflies making physics laws blush.

And yet, April is my favorite month.After a long winter, when life seems frozen, April promises changes. April is a time of optimism and smiles. When the sky is so blue, and the Sun shines so brightly, and the intoxicating scent of a wet ground is in the air, who cares about temporary inconveniences like flooding?