Meet “Sally the Camel.” “???????” in Cyrillic and then here’s your phonetic pronunciation – “LI bloot.” It has been critically important for me to know how to say “Camel” in Russian since Katya has been here, because Sally the Camel has been suffering all sorts of indignities. For reasons totally beyond my understanding, of all the Playmobil animals that are in our household, Sally is the favorite. Sally dances. Sally walks on two legs. Sally flies. And Sally suffers the ultimate humiliation – repeated amputation. “So sad,” I’m thinking. Has Katya ever seen a camel? What kind of animal has she seen that is sort of like a camel but is missing several appendages? Why is she delighting in removing Sally’s legs and reattaching them?
But wait! What is this? On June 14, 2007 the World Chess Championship Tournament concluded in Elista, Russia. Now, I am not a chess player, so perhaps the following occurrences are completely normal in the world of Chess Championship Tournaments, but you tell me.
They are drawing sheep out of boxes – white sheep and black sheep. Can you see that black sheep? I chose the black sheep picture because I like black sheep. I’ve seen plenty of white sheep, but I don’t see too many black sheep. Anyway, here’s a quote, “The players drew their colors by selecting from two chests concealing white and black sheep.” I think it has to do with who gets to go first, or something, but I don’t understand it at all. If someone could help me out here, that would be great. And what is that in the background? Camels! CAMELS in Russia! I never knew. And yes, I know. Katya is from Ukraine, but she SPEAKS Russian! And her area of Ukraine is very friendly toward Russia. Now, if she were from Lviv, this would be a different story altogether. But, Katya likes Russia.
And look at THIS! There is some kind of CAMEL race! That would liven up the chess tournament, I would guess. I have no idea what that says, on two-humped Sally’s side, but this snazzy winner of the Camel Race received a pretty impressive cup for his trophy shelf during the opening ceremony. VERY interesting!
Now, during the tournament, it was announced that VIDEO TAPES of the REST AREAS are for officials only and shall not be available for viewing by others. You may need to re-read that last sentence if you are as puzzled by it as I am. I have no idea what this means, but I’m sure it has to do with grave matters of national security – perhaps related to the concealed sheep – but I don’t know. Finally, according to the news report, the GMs were thrilled to discover the location of the smoking rooms. At this point I’m so confused I cannot even begin to consider who the GMs are and why their ability to locate the smoking rooms is newsworthy. If you can help me with any of this, I would would be deeply appreciative. And, after all this, I cannot even tell you who won the 2007 World Chess Championship Tournament.
But, the good news is, I do think it’s pretty likely that Katya knows what a camel is!