The friend, Yuri, drove very fast. I hate when men think that’s impressive because it’s not, it’s the opposite. There were no seatbelts, and the last thing I wanted was to die in a stupid car accident, thanks to a stupid 18-year-old bad driver. But what else could I do but just hope it didn’t happen?
We passed a large fancy square, which I took photos of, and Yuri scoffed that that’s where all the corruption money went. I found that interesting, and he briefly went up in my estimations. Maybe he did just want to tell us some interesting things about the city.
Our first stop was a promenade next to a body of water: a huge dammed lake, which the people of the city all refer to as the sea. We walked along it to a square which had a ship built by Peter the Great, and an ancient church that had sunken into the ground. This was all super interesting, especially the church. I tried not to pay much attention when the guys joked about us going swimming in the super polluted water (I later saw it in the day and it is luminous green, unlike any water I’ve ever seen!).
Then we got back in the dreaded car. Yuri enjoyed heckling pedestrians. He sped up at a people crossing the road as if to run them over. This was really hilarious, what a guy.
We parked the car in a random spot (not actually meant for parking, but apparently no one will question if it’s a big, expensive car) and went into a newsagent’s to buy alcohol. While I was browsing the chocolate aisle, Anna came up to me and said she overheard the guys say, “we aren’t going back to camp tonight.” What the hell did they mean?! This was the point at which my sense of humour disappeared. I stomped over to Molye and said in English “we are definitely going back to camp tonight. If you aren’t, Anna and I will get a taxi.” I think Anna translated this to him. They were saying “it’s too late for a taxi…were we seriously going to get a taxi on our own? (yes)…it’ll take 3 hours for a taxi to come”. I wish we had just got a taxi there and then and waited those hours.
We got in the car again. Yuri was driving like a maniac. At one point he did a violent U-turn in the middle of a dual carriageway and I – already on edge from the comment in the shop – panicked and grabbed Molye’s arm and said urgently that I wanted to leave and could he give us a number for a taxi right now. We were lucky here because if they had been truly cruel, they would have ignored me. But although I still didn’t get a taxi number, they proceeded to drive more slowly. Nevertheless, they still enjoyed taking the piss out of me with my “taxi obsession”, and invited me to drive the car instead.
Our next destination (it just got better) was a deserted construction site, pitch dark. There was the concrete shell of a huge new skyscraper. We went inside and took the temporary wooden lift up to something like the twelfth floor, not the top, thank God, although they did suggest it. We wandered around: dark, concrete, big wires running over the floor.We went to an area where the walls were glass and there was a panoramic view over Voronezh. I didn’t feel too bad in here, it was quite cosy, but Anna later revealed she had been petrified. She rightly said they could have done absolutely anything to us in there and no one would have known. She said she’d seen it in horror movies. We wandered over to a balcony, and I pretended to be scared of heights (I had already revealed that I was pathetic and not cool, so I had no more to lose). I was secretly scared they’d chuck me over the edge. Anna stayed quiet and didn’t go out either; it turned out she had had the same fear. The boys cracked the wine open. The wine had had a foil top but no cork beneath it, which the guys found funny. I declined, but Anna had some. She ended up drinking nearly a whole bottle, I think from nerves. We took the dodgy wooden lift back down and got back in the car.