So, we’re unpacking. I’m looking at everything I’ve brought. Not much: some groceries in store packages. A bottle of brandy, just in case. A can of ground coffee and a pack of beer. I’m beginning to feel more secure: yes, this would help me make it through the week or so. My friend-turned-host whom I’ve nicknamed Klaus seems to have guessed my thoughts (and it’s not hard to tell, by the look on my face):
“Cheer up, ‘Robinson’!” – he laughs, “We’ve got all the comforts of home. A kitchen stove, even two – the electric and gas ones, with a gas tank. And the electricity’s free here, so you can use it as much as you like. It was a military unit, after all, though I have no idea if they are still paying for it. There is a fridge as well, so you don’t have to torture yourself with warm beer. And in case you miss a civilized life, you can turn on the TV in the room, the only one here worth being called repaired. It’s true, the TV doesn’t show anything — I mean, no programs… except maybe some Turkish ones, and even getting those depends on the weather. There’s a VCR though. Guess you haven’t seen a film on a tape cassette in a long time, have you? There are some video cassettes, too. Of course, old ones, as old as video itself. But if you get tired of wild nature in Crimea at some point, you can entertain yourself with Terminator.”
I look at the large yellow limestone house in front of me. A veranda, in flaking green paint. A huge old alycha tree along the side of it, with its bright, ripe cherry plums. Jaybirds greedily grab ripe yellow berries. The Terminator is the last thing one expects to see here.
Around me are the Crimean Mountains: the relict forest, and somewhat higher, the mountain peaks of red granite. It’s still morning and they are absorbing the heat of space, coming from the sun. Somewhere down below us, but still very close, is the sea.
For some reason this place is still called a hunting reserve. Or even a nature preserve. I’m not sure for what. Many years before, or rather ages ago, during Soviet times, there was a small military unit located here. Sort of a secret one, hidden in the forest under the cover of the reserve or preserve. The rusty barbed wire, fencing along the perimeter of its hectares, is all that’s left now. And this empty old house, which my friend Klaus pretends to call his dacha.
“And that’s not all the wonders of technology,” Klaus goes on. He obviously enjoys the role of guide. “Let me show you the shower… e-e-eh… cabin, yes.”
He points to the corner of the house. Now I see that he mentioned the Terminator for a reason. The design of the DIY “cabin” fits some post-apocalyptic scene better than a Crimean idyll. A tin tank, attached to the side wall with some wires running into it. A stainless showerhead sticks out of the tank, right above where the head is supposed to be – high enough off the ground. Klaus definitely made it with his nearly two-meter height in mind. How does one fill this tank with water? I wonder. By hand? Apparently so. It all looks quite civilized though: the makeshift shower place is even curtained with a blue plastic film screen.
“Yeah, the whole thing required some raw creativity, you’re right. Electricity here, as you already know, is free. There was no bathroom, though. Those who used to live here would go to the bathhouse. There are still barracks down in the valley. But why not build it right here? Basically, it’s a maxi tea-urn: The contacts, inserted into the water– they heat the water like a boiler, and – voila! So how do you like it?”
“I find myself leaving the civilized world and entering an even more technologically advanced civilization,” I joke back.
“Well… that is only here,” Klaus smiles back. He nods toward the driveway, the house, framed on either side by the barberry bushes. “You just step out the door and find wilderness all around here.”
(…to be continued…)
Transadaptation Volume 4 – Material Dissent
January: A Blinding Light and Then, All Darkness – Jonay Quintero Hernández (Spain)
February: The Opportunist – Lauren Voaden (United Kingdom)
March: A Stranger in my City – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)
April: A South African Soundtrack – Sarah-Leah Pimentel (South Africa)
May: Full Circle – Ina Maria Vogel (Germany)
June: La Lluvia en Bogotá – Adriana Uribe (Columbia)
July: Freedom – Krisztina Janosi (Hungary)
August: A Bus Ride – Svetlana Molchanova (Russia)
September: Transcendence – Armine Asryan (Nane Sevunts) (Armenia)
October: Motherhood – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)
November: Nine Days – Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)
December: Open – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)
Background – Context
Transadaptation Volume 3: Evanescent – Young Adulthood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2022)
Transadaptation Volume 2: Conceived – Childhood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2021)
Transadaptation Volume 1: In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)
Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)
L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)
From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)
Emblems and stories on the international community
Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world
1. Crimea – Buildings and caves in Crimean Mountains – Victoria Balobanova (Shutterstock) (top left), 2. Crimea – Fortress Moutain – Victoria Balobanova (Shutterstock) (top right), 3. Crimea – Crimean Mountains – Anastasia Clark (Unsplash) (top and middle), 4. Crimea – Crimean Mountains – Feniks (Shutterstock), 5. Crimea – Crimean Mountains – NeekZin (Shutterstock), 6. Crimea – Crimean Mountains Plateau – Victoria Balobanova (Shutterstock)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed