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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


In much need of some rest, I recently took off to sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where I am now writing this column. For the most part, the weather has been warm and sunny and the ocean temperature has been comfortable enough for swimming. Last night I had the pleasure of eating in a very good restaurant that is partially owned by the actor Burt Reynolds.

From the restaurant window, we could see what was once, apparently, a Russian ferryboat, now a floating casino, making its way out to the Atlantic Ocean. My thoughts then turned, as they usually do, toward Moscow. But then they did another turn, this time an unpleasant one, and I began thinking of the movie "Deliverance," starring Reynolds. The film chronicled the bayou hijinks of some backwater boys who, among other things, did some terribly nasty things to the Rubenesque actor Ned Beatty. I'm not sure if Beatty ever owned a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, however.

Fresh saltwater air is invigorating stuff - balanced, though, by the serenity brought by the sight and sound of the ocean. The only other time I feel such a sense of peace is when I enclose myself within a dark room, wearing my mother's clothes. But, here, seagulls fly lightly over the water. The waves come and go, gently remindingme of the passing of time. And the burning sun over my head reminds me that it's time to go to Hooters for a cheeseburger.

It is indeed in such a place that I am reminded of what matters most in life. It's peace of mind. Well, that and my paycheck.

I have, of course, known such tranquillity in Moscow. In my apartment, I have learned to substitute the sounds of the waves with my self-help tapes. In place of beaches and water, I have put up a variety of wildlife posters and pictures of cats. Outdoors, I pretend that the snow is sand and imagine that I am playing volleyball in a friendly match against some thong-clad Hooters waitresses - that is, until I am chased away by the neighborhood skinheads.

If Moscow weren't so darned landlocked and cold, it would probably be a lot like Fort Lauderdale. It seems that the civic leaders of both Moscow and Fort Lauderdale have been terribly remiss in not forging a formal commercial and cultural partnership between the two cities. As if my plate weren't full enough, it's another project for the Outdoorsman.

- Guy Archer