NOVOSIBIRSK AND THE
The unusual incident occurred one night while I was travelling in eastern Siberia and happened to be staying in the annex of a large conference hotel, separate from the main building. Around midnight I was woken by loud hammering and went downstairs to find a woman standing in pyjamas, a Russian man in his late thirties and two cleaning staff. The sound of the banging from a nearby room was deafening. Everyone stood by perplexed, not saying a word.
“What’s that?” I asked.
They shrugged. “We don’t know.”
“You don’t know?”
The man shrugged. “No, we don’t know either.”
The banging grew louder. The security guard was so frightened that he refused to leave his cabin at the entrance of the building. After we had coaxed him out, he was too scared to put the key in the lock to open the door. Each time he tried, he froze with fear, his hand with the key poised at the keyhole. The banging continued. “Is that a single or double room?”