Quite apart from the fact that I owe my marriage to my blogging activities (Nathan emailed me with details of an Uzbek girl in Dubai, who later introduced me to the girl who became my wife), I like how my writing stuff on the internet occasionally brings about situations in the real world.
A few months back, an Australian chap called Mike recently got a job in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and started browsing the internet for some information. There is in fact very little decent information for expats which would prepare them for making such a move, and having come across this blog, Mike sent me an email asking a few questions (such as is it too cold for my crocodile?).
Despite Mike being an Aussie and this being an Ashes season (a subject I will never mention again), I replied with a few answers (one of them being a recommendation to buy a pair of the excellent Sorel boots). Mike wrote back and asked a few more questions, and over the next few weeks we started a correspondence, which included at least one indecipherable email which was bashed out by Mike after consuming perhaps a few too many.
Anyway, Mike showed up in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk a couple of weeks ago and we decided to get together for a drink. This we did, and Mike showed himself to be a damned good bloke, and was very restrained in his
laughing talking about the cricket. Then last Saturday we met up again along with a couple of his mates and after God only knows how many vodkas I think I left him at about 4:30am somewhere in the murky depths of a dancefloor. Much fun was had by all, and I could see the already full social calendar regularly featuring some Australians.
Sure enough, yesterday evening we met up again for a beer and pizza, and my wife came along as well. We stayed for a couple of hours but were all pretty tired, so at 10pm we headed for home. Problem was, as we were getting our coats two of my Russian mates walked in and I felt compelled to join them for a drink, as did Mike and my wife. So back we went into the bar and carried on for another two hours. But what was really funny is that Mike already knew a bit about these two, they having been willing participants in both the crab-buying expedition and the snow barbecue, and Mike having read both stories beforehand. And thanks to my writings on this blog, Mike was also able to join in our laughing at the tales of the Ossetian (through whom I met both these fellows, one of them being his cousin).
It’s good fun this blogging lark, and I’m getting quite a few people asking me questions about Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk prior to coming here. I’m sure that Mike won’t be the last I person meet I meet in this small island town on the right-hand edge of the world who knew me on my blog beforehand.
(Incidentally, by pure coincidence, a day or two after Mike’s arrival he took a picture from his office window of some idiot making a solitary climb up the ski-slope behind the town, which just so happened to be me!)