Friday, February 10, 2017

Walking on Ice

If I had a dollar for every time I slipped on the ice here in Russia, I'd be able to afford a nice apartment in the center of Moscow. I don't know if my shoes are losing traction or I just walk so fast that I don't pay attention to where I'm stepping, but I now know why women wear heels in the middle of winter: You need something to dig into the ice so you don't fall. After my really bad fall today, where a bruise starting forming in a matter of seconds, I am now going to look into purchasing a pair of soccer cleats.



This post isn't meant to offend anyone in Russia. In fact, I admire their ability to stay vertical. I, especially, commend the older folks who walk on sheets of ice. This post is merely an observation of my past experiences in America and my present ones in Ufa. This isn't a commentary on the whole country. I don't know how they handle snow in other cities.
The current state of sidewalks in Ufa is pretty abysmal. In America, the country of suing everyone and everything, you wouldn't dare see ice on the sidewalk. This would open you up to liability and a lawsuit. In Ufa, it's a different story. It's not uncommon to be walking on, at least, an inch of pure ice. It's hard to tell from the photos but the sidewalks are completely ice covered with just a tiny layer of snow or dirt to give you some traction. It's terrible when spring comes because there is no friction between you and the melting ice. You know you live here when you prefer to walk on snow or uneven surfaces because your chance of falling lessens. Seriously, I sometimes I have to walk off the path because it's just too slippery to attempt.
When I worked at Boston Market, and even at home, it was practice to go out and shovel every few hours, depending on how hard and fast the snow was falling, so you weren't left with a big pile of snow. I don't think I've ever seen anyone shovel as the snow was falling. Here, they just let the snow fall, and, sometimes, they will go out with a shovel or tractor to remove it. You know in the USA when you put down salt right away? Here, they just leave the ice, and later, in the nicer parts of the city, they'll go and use metal poles to break the ice. Now, I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure it would just be easier to salt the sidewalks or remove the snow as it falls than to go back with a metal pole and break up the ice. You can see what I'm talking about in the photo above. The difference of 6 inches between the broken ice and the side walk. My favorite, though, is when they take the time to carve out steps (as seen in the very first picture).

I was told that it's wasn't always like this. The government plays a part, and I was told the snow and ice removal system was much better under the previous governor. I can neither deny or support that claim.
There has been much more snow this winter than last, so I understand that snow removal has become a challenge. However, the ice was there last year too. Another situation you will observe is the removal of snow from roof tops. In the picture below you can see men removing snow with shovels. I wanted to get a closer photo, but I didn't want them questioning why I was taking their photo. A told me they do this to prevent snow from falling and killing someone. Good idea. Remember the story of the stone falling from the building in Cleveland and impaling the car? I've always been afraid of stuff falling from roofs since then.

As much as I complain about walking over the ice or piles of snow, I must say, it's an excellent work out. Just pray for me in the next month or so when the snow starts to melt and the slick ice comes back.
What is winter like in your city?

8 comments

  1. That's terrifying! I am so clumsy, I wouldn't last long for sure.

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    1. I am ALWAYS falling. I don't understand how people don't fall more often.

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  2. ah that looks so sketchy. Good luck out there!!!

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  3. Holy shit, that looks dangerous! I know some people who have seriously hurt themselves on black ice in the UK. It never *seriously* snows here so it's not much of a problem. Snow fell from the sky today but it always melts as soon as it hits the ground! I bet you could ice skate along some of those pavements, it would probably be safer...

    Jessthetics xx

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    1. My friend fell last year and got a concussion! Another friend knew someone who was living in Siberia and the fell and shattered their elbow. I'm glad none of that has happened to me! *Knock on wood* I really think you could ice skate, but, fortunately, most of the sidewalks are very uneven which would make it difficult to skate but easier to walk on!

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  4. Totally looks just like most of the sidewalks in Vilnius, LT! It can be difficult and even harder with a stroller/toddler!

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    1. Oh, I bet! I've seen a lot of strollers here with skis on them! I thought that was fun!

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