Full day

Trip Start May 30, 2011
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Flag of Russia  , Siberia,
Saturday, June 18, 2011

I may never catch up on sleep from this day.

I woke up fairly early (earlier than necessary on the weekend) so that I could catch my family on skype (their Friday night). I talked with all of them, had breakfast, and then got ready for a full day in Novosibirsk. Today we had an excursion to the Novosibirsk Zoo. I and some classmates also had tickets to the Gala-Ballet (last ballet of the season) that night.

At 11:30 we met at the university and took a bus to the zoo. The zoo in Novosibirsk is extremely nice and one of the largest in the world. More than 10,000 various animals and more than 660 different species live here. The zoo is located on the territory of Zaeltsovsky Forest Park in a pine forest.

There were lots of cool animals that I haven't seen before, and coolest of all is the liger (lion-tiger hybrid). I thought those only existed in Napoleon Dynamite. But in 2004 the zoo mated a couple of African lions and Bengal tigers and gave birth to the liger and the tigon (a tiger-lion hybrid .... the difference I believe is the sex of the parents were switched when mating to make the hybrid). My favorite animals were of course the bears. We could get pretty close to them thought too bad they were in cages. I have several videos of people feeding the bears despite the signs that read "Не кормить звери" (Do NOT feed the animals).

I stayed with a group of Russian students the entire time. Anna and Sveta are students studying to also teach Russian to foreigners, Yulia is one of the younger teachers, and Sveta brought her boyfriend Misha. We had a good time. It rained for a short time, but nothing big. We also rode Колесо Обзора / ferris wheel.

After the zoo the people attending the ballet were dropped off at the theater and the rest of the group returned to Akademgorodok. We had 2 hours until the ballet was to start. The group of Korean students went off and did their own thing (went to KFC) and one of the other instructors tagged along with me (or I with her). Anyways, we walked around the streets near the theater to find something for her to eat and me to drink (my babushka packed me a cute little lunch). We went in several places she inquired about the menu, and we finally found a place that she wanted something from so we sat down there.

It's a shame I don't have a picture of myself in front of the theater, but I went inside to change into my evening dress and they wouldn't let me back out to take pics because they already ripped off the control tab. They had special dressing rooms with mirrors for changing, but I decided to change in the bathroom because I drank a 0,5L drink at the restaurant and need to use the facilities as well. My mistake. The largest theater in Russian you would think would have a nice bathroom. I was very disappointed and uncomfortable. First walking in I almost barfed from the smell. And when I went to use the toilet, there was a lack of one - just a hole in the ground. Not fun.

Well other than that the theater was nice. The Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater is the largest in Russia and situated on the central square of the city. However, in my opinion the Bolshoi in Moscow (I visited there in 2006) is more decorative and classy.

We had pretty good seats. The choreography was impressive, but because this show was made up of all the season highlights as a grand finally there were no stage decorations nor a plot making the show slightly less interesting. I dosed off a little and this eneded up being the only rest I would be getting within a 24 hour period.

The theater offers a bus to Akademgorodok after its performances free of charge to provide comfort to its guests from this community. The show was a sell-out and there was not enough space on the bus by the time we got outside the theater (the girls had to use the bathroom, for which there was a long line ... and we truthfully rather take the marshrootka home). The teacher was not happy with us and got off the buss and came with us (although we were perfectly capable of getting home). We took the metro to реч. вокзал and they waited in line for van 1235 or 1015. I however got on van 221 :)))) - this one goes to Berdsk.

I got on the van to Berdsk. I was supposed to get off at Ploshad' Gorkogo. Unfamiliar with Berdsk, I asked the guy sitting next to me if he would be kind enough to tell me when this stop was coming up so that I could tell the driver to stop. He said it was the final stop. He was wrong. Luckily another woman yelled to stop at the square. So I asked really quickly what square and she said Gorokogo, which was my stop. So almost got lost in Berdsk around 10pm, nice... Anyway, I stayed the night in Berdsk in some dorms. Interesting, but I would feel bad to comment on them. I did have a really good time ... and maybe got in an hour of sleep. The next morning I caught an early marshrootka, 1127, to the closet stop in Akademdorodok and walked the rest of the way home. I got to my place around 8:20 just in time for breakfast :).
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