Sunday, July 1, 2012

Baikal & Irkutsk Day 3

After another very restful night we prepared to say goodbye to Baikal.  Today is by far the nicest weather we've have.  The haziness around the lake started to lift and an the sky had a beautiful blue hue.  We boarded our bus and started to head back to Irkutsk.  On the way back we stopped at a historic reconstruction of a Cossack village, picture the movie “Dr. Zhivago”.  The Cossacks are of European descent.  Their religious beliefs are Orthodox Christianity.  The local people of Asian decent are the Buryat.  The Buryat religious beliefs stem from Buddhism and Shamanism.  So there is a mix of cultures here.  As we head south in our journey we will encounter more and more of the later religious beliefs.

In the early afternoon we made our way to our Hotel in Irkutsk.  It is nice to have a toilet again were you are allowed to flush the toilet paper rather than having to toss it into a bin.  But this will end soon.  We were warned that the Mongolian train may have squatty potties.  Taking care of business on a moving train might be kind of interesting.

After settling in we had a small second tour through town.  Then we were free to roam on our own.  We stumbled upon a group of Russian Folk singers at a ethnographic documentary film festival award presentation ceremony.  It was in a typical Russian style.  I will post a video later.
Traditional folk dancers.
We have a short night tonight.  We are going to bed early, because we have to wake up at 3:00am to get ready to leave for the train station.  Tomorrow is another train travel day.  We will leave Irkutsk and head towards Ulaan Ude, and the following morning we will arrive at the Mongolian border.

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