Wednesday, July 11, 2007

To Irkutsk...and Beyond!

Irkutsk at last, vacation at last. After a long train ride (we thought of it as a four-night, three-day tea party, bed included) we reached Irkutsk on Monday morning. The first impression I had is of course that Siberia is huge. You can just sit and watch the landscape roll by. The other odd thing about the train is that it stays on Moscow time no matter where you are. I knew this on an intellectual level, but it wasn't driven home until we were on the train and the sun came up three or four hours earlier than it should have.

As for Irkutsk, its a pretty cool city. There are lots of old buildings in the center of the city where are hostel is. That said, it's also clearly a Soviet-Russian city with its industry and fair share of ugly buildings. There's also a lot of influence from East Asia, with Asian cars, products, and people everywhere.

We're leaving tomorrow morning to begin two weeks of camping and working near Lake Baikal. We're going to be near a small village called Tankhoi. It might be a while before I get to post again.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Last Vladimir Post

It's hard to imagine that almost a year has passed, but today is my last day of living in Vladimir. Tonight, Molly and I are catching a train to begin our month in Siberia before we return to the States. Since I wrote last my birthday passed; my parents, sister and family friend visited Moscow, Vladimir, and Petersburg and have safely returned home; and I have packed stuff and said goodbye to people for about three days straight Not surprisingly, they really enjoyed Petersburg and I think they now have a better idea of why I am so interested in Russia. (Even if they think me a little crazy still.)

I will try to update a time or two from Siberia, but I'm not sure when or where I'll be able to use the Internet. After three days in Irkutsk, we are embarking on a two week camping trip near Lake Baikal. As you can imagine, no Internet.