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At Evgeni's home
Note the "levelled" tracks of the tram !
Backyard and parking lot. This side of the apartment is at least quiet. The side facing the street is very noisy, sleeping with open windows is pretty tough. Apartments in the two lower floors of a house have a considerable lower value than the higher ones. Reason: they suffer badly of exhaust fumes, and hence those floors are frequently used for shops or restaurants.
The apartment is renovated but due to lack of money not yet finished
Evgeni works as a realtor for an agency and just successfully finished a deal.
This building was worth a picture. Almost every balcony is used for storing furniture. No one would probably sit on a balcony, since it is simply too loud.
Evgeni, Tanja and son Alexje with dog and cat which can be found in almost any Russian home.
A bit further on the left side is our home. Evgenis apartment is in the upper floor.
Quite odd the legal relationship: One can own his apartment and live in it, sell it or rent it out. But the whole building still belongs to the state. It takes care of staircase cleaning and trash collection or repairs the roof etc. The TV reported of a case where an entire building burned down. Who has to rebuild it? Of course, the state. But what if it has no money or different priorities? Well, tough luck! It is recommendable to buy insurance for this case.
From the backyard, our apartment is at the topmost floor.
On the first day I got the key for the apartment. But when I returned the entrance door of the house was closed. It can only be opened by entering a keycode that I did not know. And houses do not have a doorbell button at the entrance. So I had to wait for someone else to show up. Later Evgeni told me I should have looked at the pushbuttons of the keylock to discover what keys appear to be used and press those. Also the code was already engraved on the door several times by others. Well, this Russian method the German still had to learn.
This time I took a closer look on the heating system. The German was puzzled what he saw: one pipe leads into the radiator the other pipe runs to the next radiator, an additional pipe bypasses the radiator! There are no controls that allow to set the temperature or to shut down that radiator. First I thought: this can't work. But then I realized, hot water is pushed through the pipe with high pressure because it has to run through all radiators. And only part of it runs through the radiator. Shutting down one radiator would affect all others. To control the room temperature they simply open the windows. The cost for heating, water, gas and telephone is paid as a flat rate, so there no incentive to act economically.
On the first day after arriving I took a shower, not knowing that this would be my last warm shower for my entire stay. The next day the warm water system for several buildings was shut down for maintenance for 3 weeks. For Russians a yearly recurrent event in the summer. The shower during the next days was really cold, since everyone used cold water, and it had not enough time to warm up a bit in the pipes.
Guarded garage site
25. Jul 2004   Jürgen Bartels