I live in a large, shared house, and recently a group of Russians moved in. They have emigrated from Russia, though I have not asked too closely about their legal status, at least one has a work permit ..

Ivan speaks the best English, Igor speaks some, and the rest have little more than the greetings to pass around.

Ivan, I find, was a rocket scientist. Maybe a slightly tall order, because he did electrical systems on their rockets, but rocket scientist has a nice ring to it .. He is doing general construction work now, soon to migrate to electrical, but it seems almost anything is better than staying in Russia.

Igor, on the other hand, was a dealer in black market currencies. He claims to be able to detect counterfeit notes by touch alone, and says he can repair notes so you could not tell they were damaged. However, a dangerous business. He says that on his way to “work” every morning, he would pick up one of the many empty bottles on the road, break the bottom, and it was his protection for the day .. no guns allowed.

Not that there weren’t any - his boss was shot in the temple just before they left the country - though not dead, he was in a coma for a month and probably a vegetable for the rest of his life. To be able to sell goods at a flea market in Cape Town is also a step up in his life.

There are two women and another guy with them, but their English (and my Russian) is not up to it.

Cheers, Andy!