Salekhard smells like cool water

Yesterday morning in the bathroom of the guest house where I’m staying I found the bottle of Davidoff Cool Water perfume and of course managed to spill it all over myself. Unintentionally. Yes, I can =)

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Maybe that’s why my Salekhard is fresh and sharp and very manly. People here walk like they know something that you would never learn. They look determined. The nenets granny walked into the mobile store while I was getting my local sim card, put a wrinkled small hand on the counter and said ‘I need an iPhone. It’s for my husband.’ They know what they want and know how to get it.

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Even the houses here stand tall and proudly, be it a wooden hut or a newly built apartment building. They won the fight with the cold and that’s definitely something to be proud of.

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The color of Salekhard is blue. The light blue sky reflects in the white snow, which sparkles in the sun, and when the sun sets the blue mist wraps the city. I dont know why but every evening the city drowns in fog.

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You do not feel like you are on “the edge of the earth” when you are in Salekhard. BeerLine restaurant was packed with people last night live, everyone was watching hockey, discussing work and having dinner. But being in this crowd I thought just for a second that there are only 516,000 people in the whole Yamalo-Nenets region.

Yamal is one of the least populated areas of Russia. Population density is 0.7 persons per square kilometer, three times less than the average in Western Siberia. And if there’s around 40 people sitting with me in the restaurant that means that means that outside of the city there’s kilometers of empty Tundra.

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Right there I felt enormous pride for the people who were able to come here, build this nice and comfortable city, develop this land and make it accessible for the travelers like I am. There’s a lot of hard work behind what you see in Salekhard now but no one boast with it.

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The sharp wind blows them in the face, but it’s their friend not an enemy any more. They tamed the north.

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