My precious

Trip Start May 27, 2011
Trip End Dec 31, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Russia  , Far East Russia,
Saturday, August 13, 2011

I was up early, as the gym was calling me. Dan was unable to join me as he had some prior commitments to attend to, so I left on my own.
Spike had said it was at the end of the block and I found it without too much difficulty.
I got talking to Radic , who was in the gym with his stunning wife and very cute little daughter. Between the two of them and my attempts at Russian, they understood my sceail! Radic was kind enough to spot me and give me some advice for lifting.
There had been a promise of breakfast for when I returned but I knew better than to trust the old fellah, when he is indisposed, so I shot off to the market to get some vittles.
On returning to the flat, I found everyone asleep, so I set to cooking up a nice little breakfast. French toast for all.
Spike had to run, so goodbyes were in order.
We headed off with the ladies to wander Irkutsk one last time and in the evening we headed back to the flat and the girls cooked up some fantastic dinner for us. Dan couldn't have been happier. We were having potatoes.
Shortly after dinner we said our goodbyes and departed to catch a tram to the station.
It's been a fantastic five days over two stays getting to know the guys and gals in Irkutsk. From great parties, movie nights, fantastic company to even a bit of drama with Rocky, you wouldn't find a nicer bunch of people. I'd like to thank Spike, Feodr, Natasha and Masha for their kindness and hospitality and patience. Were going to miss them!
I digress. Back to the story. The tram had finally shown up and we were off again. It was, a pessimists glass, tram and so we didn't get why the ticket lady was shouting at us to pay for our bags. We paid our fare and ignored her. This did not go down well with her. Huffing and puffing she wouldn't give us peace. We just laughed. To appease her I threw my bag on my back, which calmed her a small bit, eyes on Dan and he just wiggled his bum. We got off a stop early due to her unrelenting nature.
Our train was waiting and on we hopped.
Two days and fifteen hours to Khabarovsk.
We set up our beds once the train was moving and things being late in the day, we stripped down to get some sleep. I finished reading some books and started a couple of new ones.
The following morning we headed to our usual bolt-hole, the ресторан carriage. Or if you don't speak Russian, the Restaurant. We chilled here for many hours as the heat of the day combined with the fifty people or so in the carriage was stifling.
We met some of the local train workers, Natasha and Sava. They spoke a smattering of English and would help us pass the hours over the next few days. We also met their boss. He just gave out it seemed. A lot. We didn't speak to him too much.
We decided to have a beer or two that night and just before leaving we got cornered by some very drunk but good natured Russian drunks.
One was convinced he was a wwII veteran but his passport gave him away. A few vodka shots later and we saw a gap and we bolted to bed.
The next day was spent checking and rechecking our route and plans for china and the following morning we were up early waiting for the train to stop.
The train pulls in and we say goodbye to the people around us and Natasha comes to say goodbye and invites us to meet her later that night at Harley Davidson - hard rock cafe type of place.
We'd finally arrived at Khabarovsk.
Its one beautiful city and after trying to get my camera fixed but to be told to come back at two, as the master will be back, we went walking.
We walked the length and breadth of the city and strolled down along the river front.
We stopped for a coffee and I snuck into the facilities and had a tinkers shower. The first decent attempt at a wash in two days.
Back to the repair shop and I meet the master , except it's the guy that fixes the printers. Calk back in another hour. We shoot up to the train station to see about tickets to Vladivostock, only to find them to be pretty inconvenient. So running back to the camera store to meet Tanya, a friend of the couchsurfer Anatoyla, who was there to help us and show us around. Finally the camera master had arrived and said my camera was a quick fix, come back in two hours. With that we headed to the bus station to look at a bus to Vladivostock, to finish our trans Siberian journey. The buses were much better suited to us, so we bought a ticket for the following day.
Back to Tanya's place, which was where we were now staying and we had a shower and change and headed out to meet Anatoyla for some food and beers.
I gave Anatoyla the promised Lake Baikal waters I'd been carrying for a week, to his delight!
It was decided to go check out the Harley Davidson place but on arrival it was full and we couldn't stay. The next place was also full. As Irishmen we didn't get it. We don't need a seat to drink a beer, just stand at or near the bar. Not so in Russia. After an hour of walking in the rain , we finally arrived at a pool bar that we stopped at and had a few drinks and played some pool. Dan disappeared into the main bar, hunting. Our hosts asked where he was, so I went looking. I found him. Sitting on a stool, crouched over his iPhone, like Gollum, checking his mail. Not even looking up at the stunning women walking by. The old fellah has a problem. Addicted to his iPhone. When i told the hosts they started laughing, they were sure he would be off chasing women. "Doesn't he know how to live life?" they asked and I had a little laugh to myself. The old man blamed it on the fact that no one spoke english.
We called it a night shortly after helping Tanya learn the ropes of pool and headed home to get some sleep.
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