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Just a short note, we're on our way to kiev. It's been almost three years since I've been there, I"m quite excited to see what has changed.

That is all.
Comments (15) | Posted by Shanti on 2010-06-24 01:28:41

 Through Russia

As I write this I find myself speeding down the tracks in the middle of Russia. I've been thinking a lot lately about how this trip really is about the journey, not about the destination. A week ago I was in Mongolia, and two weeks ago aboard a ship in Going from Korea to China. All of these many places I'm going through, how long I have thought about seeing them and wandering about. But, alas, here I am finally, and with just enough time to see, then move on. This whole trip came about because of Lake Baikal and Mongolia. We spent one night at Baikal, and three days in Mongolia, barely making it out of Ulaan Bataar. I knew that this is how the trip was going to happen, but while it's going on it does change from what had been mentally pictured to reality. And I think a lot of this really became apparent to me last night.

When had arrived in good time to Novosibirsk. we made our way over to the ticket counter and got tickets for the next leg. I then tried to find a phone to contact our Couchsurfing host. this proved harder than I thought, as I don't think I've ever seen a payphone in Russia. A hotel let me use there phone, and it turns out the number was busy, we tried a few times. oh, that's ok I thought, as I came back to Andrew and suggested that we just drink a beer wait a few minutes and then try again. SO we did. then I tried again. Same thing. so we decided to just go out there, she had given us directions, and said she'd be around. so crammed into the back of a marshutka, we took it over an hour, not really having any idea where we were going. when we got the end of the line, a nice woman helped us find the address. we then rang the buzzer, and nothing. we tried in vain to find a wifi signal, and eventually asked some women if we could try and call her. we did, and got the same response. so we were now in the middle of nowhere and it was getting late. we had to make the decision to head back to town while we still could and find a hotel. and this we the only place we were going that we couldn't really find cheap accommodation. so blah blah blah, we eventually find a hotel around 10:30 or 11. (and just FYI, that's what time the sun goes down in these here parts.)

and through all of this, I didn't really feel too bad. I was just going along and this was a part of the journey. it sucked that we had to spend the money, and we never met our local host, but it's all part of it, and I guess I'm just enjoying that.
Comments (16) | Posted by Shanti on 2010-06-20 12:52:42

 в России

OK, so now we're in Russia. . . and it feels good!! we got into Irkutsk this morning after a 36 hour train (at the border the train stopped for something like 11 hours??) and made it to our hosts house. That was a very welcome shower. The train ride was fun, though we stayed up a little too late last night, which can happen when it's still not completely dark by 11pm. so we had a bright and early start today, and then went out for our wander of this town, and to find ourselves some train tickets. We eventually found ourselves in a familiar theme, that of walking back and forth around the city with the train station as a focal point. but we did get a good walk around lots of parts of the city, and most importantly, we had our first walking beer in Russia (and I hate to admit it, but of the trip as well.) Tomorrow we head out for Baikal, can't wait to see that lake and eat some fish. mmmm.
Comments (54) | Posted by Shanti on 2010-06-14 09:45:56

 exiting mongolia

So I'll just gloss over the rest of china, though there are interesting stories to tell, I need to move on. So Mongolia. I like it. Every person we've met has just been so nice, from a family that runs a hostel that gave us a free ride into town, to our CS host Elena. Trying to get to the park was an interesting endeavor, and we managed to walk a good portion of the city 3-4 times. but finally we managed to get out to the hills and try out our hammocks, and they were great. Can't wait to use them again on Baikal. Now we only have a few hours before our train there, so more then.
Comments (19) | Posted by Shanti on 2010-06-12 05:45:00

 Coming to Aisa, again (sorry about the delay)

OK, so here we are in China, about to leave. and I haven't posted anything since we left. I actually wrote A big post in Seoul, but it decided to be erased before I was able to publish it. So here goes, a short tale of what we've done since leaving America.
First Taiwan. we only had a few hours here, but we made it into the city for a short wonder. and wonder it was, we kind of had an idea of where we were going at first, but then with the not so straight streets we really were wandering. but we finally found out where we were and then went in search of food, which we did eventually. It was good, especially for just wondering. then we went in search of were our but back to the airport left. and we made it there just before it left, so unfortunately we weren't able to see Taipei 101. and that was Taiwan
Next comes Korea. here we were staying (rev) Sean. I met Sean last year when he came to Saigon for work and vacation but then various southeast Asian Governments wouldn't let him return to Thailand, so he ended up being my new flatmate for almost a month. Our first order of business then next day was to figure out our ferry to china. So we went out to Inchean port, and found it pretty easily, but once we got there found out that no one from the ferry company (the only one that went to our port in china) was working or anywhere to be found. We did find out the the information about the ferries was correct, so we decided to just come back on friday, a few hours before it left and buy it. so with that decision made, we went off to explore Incheon. after a good lunch, which I'm sure Andrew will talk more about, we headed to the seaside. It was a nice boardwalk littered with what you would expect in a Korean Boardwalk. And as this was Korea, there was a nice mountain park next to the sea, and we had a nice walk up and around it. Our third day we set out to explore Seoul by foot. mostly just aimless wondering, but we did hit the Electronics market, which was ok, but no Tokyo. that evening we met up with Charles and Erin, who I worked with Tokyo, so it was fun to catch up. as it didn't seem like we were going to have a big night, we left about 12, and somehow managed to catch the last train back to our place. Nice!! Finally, on Friday, we were to set off on our voyage to china. Korea was nice, and I'd like to see more, but that was our time here. I don't think I'd work here, but a nice enough place to visit.
More next time on the ferry and china (and more).
Comments (13) | Posted by Shanti on 2010-06-07 10:43:14
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