23 June 2009

Ulan-Ude

This must be one of the cities where we've stayed the longest. We arrived on the 18th June, in order to prepare and relax before going to our volunteering "project" in the deep countryside (we will leave tomorrow early morning). So we've had quite a lot of time to spend here. The weather has been everything you can imagine - from 5 degrees rainy almost snowing to over 20 degrees sunny. We have spent quite some time on the Internet (you might have noted a few new posts and photos...), sleeping incredibly late every morning, wandering around the town.... and trying to survive the Russian restaurant- and cafe-food. Our breakfast was different every morning, prepared by our violet-haired landlady, and included fried eggs, hard bread with misterious meat spread and tomatoes, kasha (some kind of Russian cooked cereal - we had the version with about 200g of butter each...), blini (pancakes) and omelette. In cafes it's usually meat with or without something else. Salads are some cooked vegetable with a lot of mayonnaise. Soups are nice but with a lot of grease on top. So, not surprisingly, my stomach started to strike after this mornings 2 portions of omelette (2 portions because I ate Miguel's) and only started digesting several hours later, after a mini-sandwich of herring and a big cup of muesli and yogourt (bought in the supermarket). Let's see how this goes in the deep countryside...
Otherwise, it has been a bit boring but very relaxing to spend a few days here, often not doing much. We still have visited a big buddhist Datsan, a very colorful heap of painted temples and wooden siberian houses. Afterwards we walked a bit in the village, and seeing an interesting-shaped hill we wanted to hike there, but we were stopped by 3 men in a car. We finally understood that we could not go there because it seemed to be a place reserved for men and women were not allowed! So, we went back to the bus stop, on the way passing a drunk guy who apparently wanted to change some Rubles for "Deutsche Mark"....
One day we also decided to visit the History Museum. It was raining and cold, and our landlady really wanted us to go there. So we paid for 2 of the exhibitions, one about Buddhism, the other about Buryat history. Well, some of the exhibits were quite entertaining (especially the ones about Tibetan medicine), but otherwise it was the usual Russian museum experience: underlit rooms, water dripping from the ceiling into buckets, all kinds of objects shown in the same showcase (but there were english descriptions!). Not such a bad place to spend an hour or so.
Tomorrow we'll be off into the "Russian Wild" until the 7th of July. I'm sure we will have stories to tell and pictures to show!

2 comments:

  1. Nice post ! I think that when I finished reading I was a bit indisposed myself after thinking about the "hard bread with misterious meat spread"... Anyway it all fits quite well with previous reading I have done about the Baikal region :-) Good luck in the russian "wild"

    ReplyDelete
  2. hi Eva and Miguel, I have been bad in the last ~4 weeks and nearly stopped reading the blog. But not thinkig of you guys from time to time. Tomorrow Anne and I will fly off to SAfrica: we'll spend next week visiting here family members between Johannesburg, George and Cape Town. Than we'll go to a wedding of a friends next weekend before flying back on July 7th. I have printed on file the last several posts, I will enjoy tomorrow during one of the two long flights or the long wait connecting in Doha.
    Hope you guys well. We are, mostly well indeed, except too pressed by work.
    Hug you both.
    Gio

    ReplyDelete