Day 120. 29th of June. Waiting on weather in Rabocheovstrosk. Visiting Kem. No paddling.
Heavy rains and strong winds through the day, would have made paddling unadvisable anyway.
Weather was so bad that the smaller boat that we traveled on yesterday had its route canceled and the bigger boat changed its route and brought back people one day early from Solovki.
Rabocheovstrosk is a village, the port village of Kem, Kem itself not a metropolis with its 13,000 inhabitants.
We went there just to have look and get some cash with which to pay the hotel.
Konstantin in Medvezhevgorsk told us that the Soviet color of cities was grey. By that standard Kem qualifies as a Soviet city. (Granted many cities would in rains like today’s).
Not only in color, perhaps: Outside the library stood a statue of Lenin. Not the first we have seen. But at the feet of this one there were flowers. That is a first. And around the statue was a well maintained flower bed. Just a bit early for the flowers in this climate.
The flowers on the statue were plastic, as all flowers and wraths we have seen at memorials and graveyards.
We spent an hour in Kem, had lunch at a local Cafe, went back and sat in the hotel Cafe reading, drinking tea and looking at the white crested waves.
Tomorrow we will follow the same procedure in the same weather, except we will not go to Kem…
Well, it is correct that the Soviet cities were grey, and so was the Soviet society. The people was provided with th basic needs. One of the best thing you may say about the Soviet socialist system is that the government spent a lot of resources on education. My personal experience with the Soviet system is collected during the Bresjnev era when living conditions were better than ever before. My first call at Arkangelsk was in 1965 and the last one in 1982. During those years I noticed a lot of progress, but it was a grey, very grey, society all the way. And the Soviet Union was still at war. When berthed there was always a soldier at the gangway and one at the bow, both armed with Kalasjnikov.