Friday, April 5, 2013

Finding Dima

My subscription to the local exercise facility expires on Monday so I went over to the new Presidential Hotel for some comparison shopping. When Hotel Minsk sold their fitness room to those Turkish investors, the staff disappeared. My friend Katya asked around and learned that they'd gone to work at the Presidential, which would be opening really soon.

"Really soon" didn't happen. I went down there in February and the guard told me that while they expected to open a month ago, it looked to him like they'd need at least another month. That's why I joined at the hockey club, which I like fine except that they don't open until 9 a.m., later than I'd prefer.

Today the Hotel Presidential looked pretty lively until I got to the door. Numerous vehicles lined the driveway, a multinational array of flags fluttered in the breeze above, and people walked to and fro. Only as I approached the door did I notice the darkness in the lobby. Still, I found an unlocked door and walked in, greeted by a couple of guys looking attentively at the lobby decor. I asked them if they knew when the hotel would open; and while they didn't have an answer, they seemed open to discussion so I asked if the fitness room were already open. They pointed down the hall and suggested that I might go have a look upstairs.

Unsure if I'd really be allowed to roam the building like that, I went over to the official-looking guy wearing a suit and carrying a walkie-talkie. He told me how to find the director of the fitness room and sent me off. Before I went, I asked if the director's name were Dima. Yes! Good news. Dima's a nice guy and he already knows me.

I walked down a wide marble corridor with incredibly-high ceilings, past a very fancy-looking restaurant and a second registration area. Finding my staircase, I went up four flights to reach the level above that high ceiling, where I found a maid on her way down. She took me to see the glassed-in fitness room with large windows on the street side facing a little park. A beautiful suite of new weight and cardio machines lined the walls. I could definitely imagine working out here. I asked the maid if Dima were around, and she promised to go find him.

Presently Dima arrived, dressed in work clothes and carrying an electric drill. We had a joyous reunion and exchanged phone numbers. Dima assured me that the facility would be open to the public, though he didn't know the price yet. He imagines it will be more than I was paying at Hotel Minsk but that I won't be shocked. I hope he's right, because it looks very nice.

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