An English dialogue between friends.
Betsy is telling about countries she has been to so far.
Gregory: I know you and Ron are great travellers. Where have you been besides Russia?
Betsy: To lots of places, to South-East Asia, for instance, to New Zealand, the Fiji Islands, the USA, Madeira, Zimbabwe, to name but a few As for Russia, you did a lot to make our stay there a most enjoyable experience, taking us to that observation platform on the Hills, to Novodevichje Cemetery and all round Moscow We particularly appreciated your commentary in the cemetery. A lecture on Russian history it was. But for you, our stay in Moscow would have been very boring.
B.: All veterans went to the Bolshoy where we listened to a speech by President Gorbachev. May be it was a good speech, but we couldn’t tell. They forgot to provide interpreters.
G.: So what were you doing during the speech?
B.: We counted the folds in the curtain and whenever people applauded, we politely joined in. We left immediately after the speech. Later we were greatly upset to learn from French war veterans that shortly after we left they were shown a beautiful ballet “Swan Lake”.
G.: What else was there on the official programme?
B.: We were taken in a coach to see the sights of Moscow, but we already knew most of them from your sightseeing tour in a taxi. And then one day was allotted for meeting between veterans’ delegations from different countries, which wasn’t very interesting either.
G.: What was your last trip abroad?
B.: To Zimbabwe, at the invitation of our old English friends. There, I’m ashamed to say, we were given two black servants, husband and wife. They were imposed on us despite our protests. ‘It’s the done thing,’ we were told. We got quite friendly with that black couple, and there was absolutely no master-servant relationship between us. Another adventure was in Suva, the capital of Fiji. We had a stopover there on our way from New Zealand via the USA to get American visas at the American consulate. I frankly wrote in the visa application form that I once had been arrested.
G.: And what was it for?
B.: I was one of those women who camped around the American airforce base at Green-ham Common in Birkshire to protest about the US cruise missiles that were kept there (as a result of our protests the missiles were finally removed in 1991).
G.: And you told the US consul the truth?
B.: I did.
G.: And did he grant you a visa?
B.: I got more than I had bargained for. I applied for a single entry visa, but he granted me a 3-year multiple one.
G.: Why do you think he did that?
B.: I don’t know. He either appreciated my frankness or simply he liked me.
G.: Probably the latter. And one last question. What was Ron doing while you were protesting at Greenham Common?
B.: Together with other husbands, he kept bringing us hot coffee and sandwiches.