We must be here fora rest or else we are Prisoners
Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
109Trip End Dec 15, 2011
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Well Roger and I stayed at the Intourist hotel last night.I'd wanted to stay in one as they are known as the standard Soviet style and are supposed to be the epitome of utilitarian styling.Quite surprised - this one had been given a good going over and was pleasantly clean and efficient.Choice of at least three restaurants and we chose the one with the dinner dance.They love their music these Russians and big ballads are the tunes they like the best.We were particularly lucky as Vladimyr Putin was on vocals - a very talented character.
I probably wrote most of this last night but Roger has posted the blog and I cannot remember what I said.
Anyway today is an annual holiday - May 2nd but its the Monday.Didn't seem to make much difference to the characters we passed in the dreary countryside.We're going to take two days for the run in to Vladivostok and hope to get to shipping agents offfices tomorrow afternoon or Wed morning
I don't think I've mentioned before that one of the best things about this rather bleak part of the world and more common it seems in Western Siberia are the timber houses with brightly coloured window shutters.Very Dr.Zhivago.
We're staying tonight in what looks like the set from the Russian version of the prisoner.We were told by a security bod in one of the buildings that it is a sanitorium but for what purpose is not quite clear.All buildings in good order but few residents.Very eery.Goodness knows how we found the place - just turned off to ask at a garage (closed) and were given some hazy instructions by a motorist who also pulled in.
So - tomorrow's the day d.g. and we started hesitantly talking about what happens next in the car today.After 7 weeks of clinging to the wreckage it was a rather low key chat but I guess when we've coaxed Stanley into his container and given him as best we can a thorough health check, we'll turn our attentions to what happens next.
What does happen next is that we're going to sort a meal out in this strange place.I'll avoid the liver.
Well, Martin has said most of it
Had a pretty poor breakfast this morning, not a lot of choice, although I guess a Russian staying at the Savoy might miss his whatever it was we were offered. Settled for pancakes (sort of) and jam.
Road is now boring - we've done over 2000 km of this Russian road, and the quality is no longer as good as it was. Still a lot better than some we've been on, but every so often it jumps up and surprises you. A couple of detours which look like they are learning from the Mongolians.
Stopped by the police twice today. Second time they were in their car behind us, so I drove very carefully and obeyed all the speed limits, which caused a major hold up for the other drivers. But this didnt help us, they still blipped their siren and pulled us over, open the bonnet, etc. Tried to refuse, but you know they can make trouble. Oh for a reliable police force that is answerable
Asked both sets of police where a hotel was and both said 100 km away, but they were 50 km apart. In other words, no idea, couldnt care.
Asked of another motorist at a closed garage, and said there was one 5 km away. Went down the road about 700m, asked again and now its 500m further. Asked at a shop and the guy offered to escort us there, and it turns out to be a very nice hotel. Where have these hotels been while we've been staying in lousy ones? But no wifi!
Went for a walk around the village, came to some gardens, went through the gates, and there's these hugee buildings. Not run down like many apartment blocks are, and as Martin altready said it turns out to be a sanitorium. Coffee shops, ordinary shops, a guy selling honey from the back of his car, another on the street selling body lotion bottles, loads of people walking round, children playing on the swings, tennis courtts, lovely green grass. Havent seen such green grass for ages, nothing growing in fact. Really spooky. Not being able to read much of the signs doesnt help.
Anyway, ready for dinner now, so might have more if we find out anything over dinner. But its hard work interrogating these locals, they dont speak a word of English.
Mileage 444km Max speed 90kph Max elevation 793 ft Total climb 9529ft