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Firewater

by Antigoni Goni

My most memorable road story comes from Russia and the city of Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia, where I played a concert last spring. I had taken an overnight flight from St. Petersburg where I had performed the night before. Even though the World War II Aeroflot plane was very spacious, I arrived in Novosibirsk exhausted and sleepless. The concert promoter graciously met me at the airport to take me to a hotel.

Huge, empty and silent, the hotel lobby had just begun to wake itself up when we arrived at 8 in the morning. At this point, I was dying of thirst. I noticed that a bar at the end of the corridor was just opening for business, so I headed straight for it to get a glass of water. As I was approaching, in perfect sync, the lady behind the counter produced a tray with two tall glasses filled with water. I thought, or maybe I didn't think, "How fantastic! She read my mind." I took a glass and before the barmaid could react, I began drinking. It was not until I had swallowed two-thirds of the contents that I realized it was straight up VODKA! The barmaid and the promoter began speaking fast in Russian. The promoter must have been thinking, "What a shame. I had no idea that Ms. Goni was an alcoholic." I was simply speechless!

I played a great concert that night! Was it the vodka or the wonderful Siberian audience? I just hope it was the latter!





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