More wonders

18th September 2010 by Helen

Saturday 18th September

After a late night last night Dima returns and picks Paul up at 10.00 am and they go off to buy some oil.  German takes me back to his apartment where I can finish off checking emails while Paul and Dima finishing working on Landy.  Later we take a walk around town, stop in a café, do a bit of shopping. 

It’s time to brave the attempt to get a new SIM-card.  Remember this is Russia, only holders of Russian passports can legally buy a SIM-card.  But we’re going to try anyway.  We stop in a grocery shop to buy some fruit for supper.  Once again we are a source of curiosity here.  Another customer is interested in where we come from.  She follows us out of the shop and we indicate we are looking for a phone shop (Russian shops here are like the ones in Mongolia and Kazakhstan – from the outside it is largely a guessing game as to what the shop sells).  She points one out but comes back when she sees Paul has stopped to finish eating his ice-cream before going in.  She decides to come in with us to make sure we are able to get what we want.  We tell the girl behind the counter we want to buy a SIM-card.  She asks for Paul’s passport, looks at it and says ‘no’.  Our escort is indignant on our behalf and buys the card herself.  We pay.  Once again an angel has come to our rescue.

We could in theory leave Gusinoozersk now but Paul still needs to do battle with his technology gremlins, and we have heaps of writing and downloading of photos to do.  In effect we need to stop somewhere for another day and so have decided to stay here until Monday morning.  We may not have hot water in the shower at the hotel but we’ve brought our Hozelock shower in from the car and there is a kettle with which we can heat the water.  It’s warmer here and the beds are comfortable.  We’ve met loads of friendly and helpful people (although a couple of times we’ve been advised to keep our hands on our money).  There’s a restaurant in the hotel, a café in town and shops that sell other bits we might need.  The only drawbacks are that the restaurant is not open when they have a wedding or other celebration to cater for, and as it appears this is the only ‘venue’ in town, that will take up most of the weekend, together with the lack of easily available good quality internet access.  So, come Monday we will head off to Ulan-Ude where we have been told we can get Wi-Fi at an internet café to send and upload the work we do here before heading off to a place called Chita.

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