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Superior Siberia

May 29, 2010

The view from our apartment balcony

I write this just after reading about my daughter, Tobey, in Ashfield for days without electricity. Here in Irkutsk, we have a whole power station just across from our building. You can see the transformator on the right in the picture. It rattles and hums all night so I know it is working. Actually, I’ve gotten into the habit of wearing earplugs at night so I don’t dream that I am being beamed-up for brainwashing. That proved unfortunate for Vivian the night she locked herself out of the bedroom and was stuck in the kitchen and bathroom for a couple of hours. I couldn’t hear her knocking and pounding. That was one cold night for Vivian.

The Green Lada

Transportation in Siberia is also superior to the US experience. You can go anywhere almost anytime. Of course, you can’t expect to do that in your green Lada, but the marshrutky are everywhere. Today we were coming back from a Sturbridge Village type of 18th/19th century park about 70 km out of Irkutsk. The place (Tultsi) was loaded with German tourist and their big tour buses. We walked out of the park, stood on the side of the road for less than 5 minutes and were whisked up by a marshrutka that took us to our bus stop in less than a half hour.

This is a bus, not a marshrutka

One final criteria for being superior is cell phone service. We were out in the birch forest of Lake Baikal today and Vivian got two calls on her cell. Total cost for her cell phone service almost anywhere in Siberia–$3 sign-up charge and another $3 for about 2 weeks worth of calls with basically unlimited texting. Now that’s how to do business.

Here's Vivian heading down the hill to our apartment.

Beginning Tuesday, we will be in Uzbekistan. As of two years ago, WordPress was blocked by the Uzbek government. I use Asia Central at while I am there. If you are interested in what we are doing, please go to the Asia Central blog and subscribe. I do not think it is linked to Facebook. I have new posts there from Irkutsk right now so take a look.

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