I shall be brief. Last night I spent in the train station. As in every country (why are such things so universal?), the train station attracts more than its fair share of certain types of people. Travellers, obviously. And traders, as a result. But also beggars, drunkards, vagabonds, disreputable looking men with cellphones, and taxi drivers. This is neither an exhaustive nor mutually exclusive taxonomy.
Every time I wandered out towards the doors (and this was often, given the length of the night – it is no longer in Siberia than in the rest of the world, actually it is late summer, so it is still quite short, I guess) the taxi drivers there would assail me with offers to take me places at reasonable prices (but still more than the tram). Sadly I had to disappoint them every time.
By 3 in the morning they were running of out ideas. They offered me other things. Did I need a place to stay? A restaurant? A woman? I was standing a few steps below the two key jokers, both indeterminate age (but showing it), dressed in dark clothes, with rough hands, unkempt hair and smiles on their faces. One hit on a new idea. I could not understand what he was trying to sell me. A what? Ah! He was offering me his teeth. Actually his tooth. He had only one left. A bit of light-hearted bargaining revealed that he would let it go for just $25. Also a very reasonable price, I guess. But then the quality could not be that high if it came from a mouth already long since departed by the other (more sensible, perhaps higher quality) teeth.
So there I was, in the middle of Siberia, in the middle of the night, in the middle of a conversation with two guys who were joking about selling me their teeth. Funny how life can be some times.
I thought it was a bit strange that he would want to sell his very last tooth (where he was serious or not we never got the chance to test, since I was not a willing buyer – I suspect he was not). But then, if you had only one it would not be terribly useful. You would basically have to puree all your food, one tooth or no teeth. And $25 is quite handy. You can buy a lot of pureed food in Russia with $25.