I do like a cynical tour guide. Olga has a particularly derisive sense of humour in which she completely shreds aspects of her hometown. Sometimes she softens the blow with a minor compliment or encourages us to visit the place.
“We call that tower the ‘beer can’. It is the tallest skyscraper in the city. The authorities say it brings status to our city but it does nothing. Do go to the top, the view is wonderful, that is all, the view.”
“A visit to that Church is a must. It was built with private money in three years. Can you imagine in just three years? We say it is OTT. Over The Top. It is like a museum. How can you pray in a museum? You must go.”
“On the left, look on your left, the right is another story. See these Soviet apartment blocks. They are so ugly. See how they stretch for miles. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Look at them!”
“These grey buildings are examples of Bolshevik aesthetic. They have no decorations and are built to resemble something practical. That one is meant to look like a locomotive, and that one, a tractor.”
“On your left are all the pleasures of commercial enterprise, a paradise,” she says pointing to a large shopping mall and Ikea.