Apr. 28th, 2012

sarahblack: (Giselle dress)
Here I am in a hostel near Lake Baikal. I can see the lake from the window in the common area, and it's a ten minute walk to the shore if you want to dive in for a swim. (I wouldn't recommend it, it only thawed yesterday.) Two of my fellow travellers had a swim, and they nearly froze to death! They did shots of vodka to warm themselves up, and they seem to be fine right now. I would totally have tried, but I wanted to fetch my bathing suit and a towel first, and they were too impatient for that. No way am I getting into freezing water without a warm towel waiting for me on dry land.

I did try a quad bike, though! It was a lot of fun, but I couldn't really steer it properly. Despite all the weight lifting that I've been doing I just didn't have the upper body strength to wrestle the bike along the wet, muddy path we were driving on. Also, I'm just not much of a driver in general. (Basically, I went off the road and introduced my bike to a tree. Very gently! No trees, machines, or humans were hurt. Only my ego was slightly bruised.) Anyway, I switched with one of my fellow travellers, but she didn't do much better. She drove us into a giant puddle after like a minute of being in the driver seat!

It was pretty hilarious.

After the quad bike adventure we had some of the local fish from the lake. It was not bad, but had nothing on the Icelandic fish. (What do you mean I'm biased?)

The train ride from Moscow to Irkutsk wasn't all that eventful. We had a tiny little "bed" each, and a lot of time to waste. Mainly we played cards, ate snacks, talked and watched the scenery change out the window. (Birch trees. In Russia, there are many.) Oh, and naps. There were a fair few. I didn't do any reading, but the others did. I wish I had picked up a book on my way to Moscow like I meant to. But I couldn't find the Hunger Games in the short time that I had in the airports.

The second night on the train was pretty funny, though. (Mainly in retrospect.) We were celebrating the birthday of an Irish fellow who's on the trip and people ended up having a little bit too much of vodka. And when I say people, I mean that the Irish guy, the English guy and the Australian girl got into a drinking competition, and the English guy lost. (He became sick all over the tiny bathroom. Our train attendant was not happy!) The Irish fellow was too drunk to climb into his bunk bed, and kept trying to steal everyone's blankets. Also, he wouldn't stay in the bed that he was assigned, and the attendant ended up basically sitting on him to make him behave.

I was worried we'd be thrown off the train at the time, but now it just seems incredibly funny. We've been laughing at the English guy for "chundering" ever since. I think it's a reference to this video.

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Sarah Black

March 2015

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