Lake Baikal

Trip Start Jan 01, 2006
1
46
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Trip End Jun 30, 2006


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Flag of Russia  ,
Thursday, May 18, 2006

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We're going to get on the train today and be on the
train for 3 days / nights to Moscow!
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Let's have a little fun about what we expected in Russia - and what we found!!!

Expectations of the worlds biggest fresh water lake: Resort hotel on the late - like Cuba but not as warm. Temperatures during the day around 21C with a pool, spa, hot tub and all inclusive food and drink.
Reality: Staying in a government run hotel in a town 1 hour drive north of the lake. There is no pool and very bad food for breakfast (not even worth eating at free). The decor of the restaurant is 30+ years old. On the bright side, the hotel room had a nice view of the River which flows to Lake Baikal.

See photo of backyard.

Expectations of Women and Clothing: Conservatively dressed women
Reality: Very, Very, Very provocatively dressed women. We saw many women with "belts" for skirts. One woman wore a lace top and bra (dressed for work) - with a skirt so short that we knew her underwear matched her bra!

Expectations of buildings in Russia: Bland, cement white buildings which are practical for keeping the cold out and the heat in.
Reality: 100 year old boarded up wooden homes - sadly with the lights on so we know someone is living there. For insulation, people use moss or cotton baton. We noticed that several homes appear to be slanted and the basement/first floor is half way below surface. We imagine that the road and sidewalk was added after the home was built.

Enjoy the photos - there is a nice one of a Church, and backyard and an old log building.

Expectations of Russian Mob:We expected that there would be black markets, "stern" looking men guarding buildings. Having the sense of being watched by the KGB and shady dealings going on at every corner.
Reality: See expectation above.

Expectations of a Russian diet: We expected to eat 100% meat with no veggies.
Reality: We found a very nice Italian restaurant where Veronica had asparagus and pasta. We also found a delicious Sushi restaurant. Outside our hotel is a lovely cafe called Monet. The bathroom in this cafe is a 12 out 10 (Coffee bean flooring, bamboo wallpaper, decorations, soap, toilet paper, thrown toilet, hand towels and it smelled clean!). We can tell someone put there heart and soul into this restaurant. Unfortunately the food is mediocre at best and highly overpriced.

Expectations of Cars:I expected mostly older cars and lots and lots of Lada's.

Reality: Pretty much what we expected. Check the photo of the Souped up Lada Niva (4x4). BTW - if you don't know Lada's Russian made cars that were built in the 70's and 80s and exported globally. My first car was a Lada!
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