Daily Photo – My Russian Bedmate Is Actually a Nice Guy
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Some of you remember me mentioning Yuri, the Russian guy that ended up being my roommate and tentmate in Argentina. At night, I would practice taking photos of glaciers by setting up my tripod to take photos of his sleeping, huge, naked, white body that was full of cracks and made cleaving sounds. Practice makes perfect.
The first time I met him, he was in his underwear in the first 30 seconds after walking into my room. He didn’t speak any English, nor does one need to in that situation. My other Russian friend dropped him off with a wry smile. I heard him laughing some evil James-Bond-villian-Russian-laugh echo as he went down the hallway. And then Yuri and I were stuck together for the next few weeks. I don’t want to say he smelled bad about 20 KM into the hike, but people from Chernobyl won’t even go near him.
I’ve never had a panic attack in my life, and, in fact, I didn’t really believe in them. That is, until that one night in the low-slung tent with Yuri. We were way deep in Patagonia, about half a km from the first photo you see below. It was freezing cold outside, and the tent was so low that when you turned over, your shoulder rubbed against the top. It was one of those special tents that mountain climbers use to minimize the whipping wind. Yuri came to the tent rather late, after drinking yet another bottle of cognac he produced from yet another pocket. He was like a circus clown who could, at any time, produce a sizable bottle of cognac from any given opening. About two minutes after he passed out, the level of toxicity skyrocketed in that little tent. And then I had my first panic attack. I was zipped into this little two-man job with this two-man-sized guy. It was pitch black. I could barely breathe, but I knew that getting outside the tent would give me about 10 minutes of freedom before I froze to death. So, I stayed in the tent and tried to think of little cute kitties or some crap, which totally didn’t work. My mind went into a recursive death-loop where I was sure my re-circulated toxic air was getting me closer to death with each stilted breath. Oh man, I’ll never forget that night.
So, people have always wondered, “What does this Yuri look like?” Well, I’m finally showing my first photo of him… it’s at the bottom of my “Favorites from Argentina” photo set here.
And here is Yuri, sober (sort of). One morning we went on another hike down one of the rivers that was fed by a glacier system. We stopped to get some water on the way, and I grabbed a photo of him. I know I know… he’s just a big old Russian teddy bear, right?