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Shopping For Pants In Siberia - In the Winter
I was living in Siberia for a year in the City of Chita. While it may sound dramatic and exciting, that didn't keep me from needing some basic things like pants!

Siberia is an amazing place. Yes, it is colder than you can imagine in winter, but it also gets hot, hot, hot in summer. While living there, I reached that magical point where I needed to buy some new pants. Alas, this happened during winter and it was an eye opening experience to say the least.

The city I was in, Chita, does have indoor stores, but they are expensive. Most people purchased needed items from outdoor kiosk in areas that were set up like swap meets. The quality of the products was fine, so who could really complain. When I determined I need some new jeans, I grabbed a bus and headed off the swap meet dejure.

After walking around for a bit, I found the perfect kiosk. Not only did they have jeans, it was all they had. Unfortunately, they only had a few sizes of "levys", but one was mine. So, where can I try these swank Chinese rip-offs? After a bit of finger pointing and pantomiming, I was pointed to a hanging carpet. Behind was a nice little bench sitting on the asphalt. When in Rome...

Now, I don't have any real problem with roughing it when necessary. I was, after all, in SIBERIA. Still, I was not about to try on the jeans in the middle of a parking lot in January in Siberia. At 30 degrees below zero, I was already plenty cold. I sure as heck was not removing my pants. [Insert joke here!]

I explained my predicament to the Russian running the kiosk. Pantomiming was again involved. Ah, he understood my problem. In a classic Russian moment, he pulled a vodka bottle out and offered me a slug. I passed. Even with vodka to warm me, there was no way I was dropping my pants. Just not going to happen.

As with many moments in Siberia, the answer was a compromise. I was introduced to the vendor's friend who took me to his flat to try on the pants. Wouldn't you know it, they fit! Rubles were exchanged, vodka was consumed and I had a new pair of pants. Ah, life in Russia.
About the Author
Rick Chapo is with Nomad Journals - makers of travel journals to preserve your travel experiences.
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