Leaving Irkutsk we are on the train again for the next 50 Hrs. The scenery has changed dramatically. A lot more snow and more leaf topped trees too. Different from the drier landscape of Siberia. I guess we will be expecting snowfall in the days ahead as there is visible moisture and lots of cloud cover. The temperature is on the warmer side to doing warmer then -10C.
We are on the Baikal express with friendly Providnitsa’s, nicer cabins and cleaner toilets too. The food is still bad and the meal cart service was poor. But we managed to ear heartily off the take out Pizzas.
There are a lot less people on this train it seems and a couple of hot mamas to boot.
We had a couple of surprising encounters. First was Ilya, a coal mine engineer from Yakutia. He was heading back to Altai mountains to meet his family. The other were a bunch of fellers from novo sibirsk – Alexander, dimitri and the other guy.
Let’s talk about Alex and group. They were pretty drunk when we met them. The talk was pretty much blabber but amicable. Plesant in the train though.
Ilya was a good conversationist as he was able to speak a little english.turns out, he was educated in an English school and still remembered enough if the language to be able to communicate with gestures and such. He has a tough job which he describes as extreme, living and working in -60deg weather in Yakutya. He was on his way to meet his family and an year old child in Altai. We spent a while exchanging stories with each other.
One thing that stuck with me was when he mentioned Siberia is real Russia. I kind of understand where he comes from as the harsh weather and the rural places is what reflects the attitude and lifestyle of most Russians. A nice nugget to remember the country by.
So I should say it is an enjoyable second leg to the journey.