Sunday, March 29, 2015

21: Irian

In Irian, the the railway passes this bridge, built by the Russians in the  late 1950s. The statue-of-liberty light posts are a unique feature, and were meant to advertise Soviet freedom, and possibly tweak the Americans as well.
The Scully tavern serves up a good pint of Watney's.  
As the train rolled into Irian, Alan was impressed by the architecture here. The train slowed as it followed a city street to the elegant stone-and-brick station. The shops, lodgings, townhouses, as well as the train station, had a humble early-20th-Century-European-Modern look to them. The brightly painted trimwork gave off the sense of a faded resort town.

Jeremy, suddenly awake, said, "Ah, we're in Irian. You know, this town is worth seeing. It was once the playground of the Russian military elite and other VIPs who wanted to rest in the sun. Since Independence, the place has become very quiet, and is literally half deserted! I grew up here, and I remember how busy it was when the Russian fleet visited, especially back in the '60s. We could sure use some fresh energy. If you ever want to come back and open a hostelry, there are cheap places galore, even at the beach!"

"I'll consider that," Alan replied.

"Well, I'll be getting off here. It was a pleasure to have met you Mr. ah..."

"Faramond," Alan replied. "Alan".
He was afraid Jeremy might hug him, but he offered Alan a card instead. It read "Jeremy Luanne, historian" with a telephone number.

"Thanks for the card, and, ah, the same to you," Alan fumbled.

"Look me up next time you come this way", said Jeremy, and he got off.

This was a 15-minute stopover, so Alan got off as well, and walked the length of the platform, then went into the ornate waiting room, found the toilets, then bought a coffee at a tiny lunch counter. Out on the street, a few departing passengers were walking away with loved ones, and Alan felt another pang of isolated sadness. 

The train's horn sounded two short toots, and Alan reboarded.