It’s back

Yes, after a period of semi-dormancy it is back. I’ve updated the list of FREELANCE DRIVERS, and now this little group looks better than ever. From budget to VIP, from oldies with 40 years accident free road survival experience to young hot ones who will take you from Moscow to St. Petersburg in 7 hours, from “just drivers” to those able to act as guides, interpreters, fixers, and all-around advisors.   More importantly, I’ve made an inventory of my social and especially professional milieu, and listed here people many of whom have been helping me or enlisting my assistance over years.  In effect a team has formed, and a well-tuned one too. I’ve only recently realized that this team with varied and complimentary skills is my most powerful asset, and a source of value to my clients. Shame on me for being such a slow-whit. See my list of OTHER TALENTS >>

An iron smith, a welder, and an owner of a large cargo van

To soon be officially added to this list is Misha with all his multi-talents. These include

  • welding
  • iron work
  • making horse-drawn carriages and sleighs
  • training horses

Misha also owns a huge van that, despite its size, is still allowed to enter the center of Moscow, off limits to real trucks, any time of the day.  His wife speaks English and Spanish.  He would be a treasure if only his style was not as chaotic as disorganized as it is. He also drivers in a somewhat maniacal fashion.

Misha”s site >>

Hypnosis for medical and other uses

Normally I would not put a hypnotist on this list, especially in the Medical category.  But Bob Micer ( is just too informed, intelligent, articulate, and good-natured to dismiss his claims. Or maybe I’ve fallen under his spell.  In Russia regularly, in Moscow about once every two month.  A consultation, a lecture, or a demonstration can be arranged.  If needed I can avail myslef as an interpreter to help him communicate with local audience.

Played remote mechanic today

Got distressed call at 8am on Sunday from a driver whose car was held by a mysterious force while the client was about to land in Domodedovo.  Sunday morning is not the time where finding a suitable substitute is easy, so a call to be was entirely excusable. Turned out it was frozen brake drum on the shaft. Yesterday it was knee deep slurry all over. Then the temperature dropped, and the drum froze. Total time loss: 15 minutes of aimless panic, 15 minutes of pouring water of wheels which brought no relief, 10 min. of running around the vehicle, 5 min. on the phone with me, 5 min. of my thinking till I realized that if these are not the wheels, then there must be another brake somewhere till I remembered my old UAZ van with a drum brake right on the shaft, 5 min. of getting more hot water, 10 min. of splashing it on the offending mechanism, 10 min. of cleaning up after a crawl under the jeep. The driver still made it to the job.  LET ME ONCE AGAIN REMIND BOTH DRIVERS AND CLIENTS THAT MOSCOW IS FULL OF SURPRISES OF EVERY KIND. ALWAYS BUILD AT LEAST AN EXTRA HOUR INTO YOUR PLANS ESPECIALLY IF THESE INCLUDE TIME-CRITICAL THINGS LIKE IMPORTANT MEETINGS OR MAKING IT TO THE AIRPORT!

Want a site like this?

Simple sites like mine, static or in WordPress, are easy to put together and inexpensive to maintain.

Full cycle: registration, hosting, monitoring, administration, spam control, troubleshooting, content management, promotion, backups etc. It can be kept together with mine so the extra workload would be quite light, thus low cost and high quality for you. If you have $100/month for comprehensive support we can talk about my taking over your site maintenance headache.

Want a retro site that loads under one second? See as an example.  I can and will be happy to help you with something very basic which matches my distaste for frills and technological redundancies..


Very negotiable rates till end of April

I’m suffering from a bad case of cabin fever and am motivated to get out. I’ll sell myself cheap for any no-brainer assignment that will take me out of town. March is about ideal time for “Winter is the Soul of Russia” trip.  I’m equipped for winter camping too. Horse riding can be organized. As long as my direct costs are recovered I’m game. Write to  Till about the end of April or beginning of May, when things usually get moving..

Lice, fleas, bedbugs, mites, ticks, fly larvae and others who find us delicious

lice_expert_juliaJulia Lopatina, a descendant of German Lopatin, a revolutionary from 1980s, the first translator of Das Kapital etc. etc. His great grand-daughter remains on the frontlines of the fight for the brighter future but her enemies are human skin parasites rather than His Majesty, land owners, priests, and capitalists.

Why talk to Julia:

  • You are for whatever reason interested in mites and other little things that make you itch
  • Need to access the Moscow underworld. Part of Julia’s job is taking inventory of insect population feeding on the homeless so he is an in person in places that most of us try to avoid.
  • If you need to access the biology and especially entomology circles. Alexandra is into birds, fish, and marine invertebrates while her friend Julia is into little crawly things.
  • Science pays crumbs here.  To make a living Julia writes quasi-scientific articles with hidden advertising of medicines inserted rather crudely, which local readers still swallow. She also inspects living premises for the presence of parasites.  If something bites you in the middle of the night.. Well, chances are these are bed bugs but Julia will tell you which sub-species these are, enlighten you about the most minute details of their life cycle, and in very other way make you delighted. Should she fail she will tell you of the effective ways of getting them to bug off.
  • Have your pet tarantula or cobra escaped? She and her kids know their habits and where to look for them.

A long list of Julia’s publications, in Russian:

Write to me with a note “for Julia the Lice Expert”.

The most “Russian” of our drivers


How could I forget to add this giant L to the list?!  Here I am correcting the oversight..

If safety and reliability is your first  concern picking him may is a plausible choice.   On other counts his is, well, not exactly a winner. An old-school Russian born and formed in claustrophobic Brezhnev days, a killjoy grouch, an opinionated character who take advantage of his captive audience by inflicting upon them his barely intelligible diatribes, a negativist supreme.

In his younger days he used to be pretty good as an interpreter. Simultaneous was a piece of cake. Somehow he managed to be at ease with just about any subject, no matter how technical or obscure.  You may still try to eek out some of his largely lost talent but be warned of his erratic performance that ranges from reading your thoughts and translating what you mean to say rather than what you actually do to translating verbatim with emphasis on your less fortunate phrases. He also has an outrageous habit of inserting his comments – usually of a disapproving or sarcastic sort – into the text.

The vehicle that I hesitate to call “car” is a perfect match to this character. It is something big and dull black, defiantly dirty and cluttered, going around with clicking noise that the owner insist in part of diesel’s nature but we more than suspect the motor needed an overhaul 300 th. miles back. Clutter of tools in the back and stuffed toys hanging all over the inside of the Mad Max style machine contribute to the profound absurdity of the experience.

Be warned that he will try to sell you his Russian Misery Travel (c) concept or his Winter is the Soul of Russia (c) brainchild.  If he gets too aggressive in promoting ideas that to understand Russia one needs to freeze and otherwise suffer there is a simple trick to lower his zeal. Just cross yourself with one of the more popular guides to Moscow and quickly repeat “Red Square, Lenin’s Tomb, Novodevichy, Abrat”. That usually gets him to retreat.