Posts Tagged ‘interview’

Red faces & radio interviews

13th March 2011 by Helen
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Today has been a variegated day.  We had to take a drive into Santa Cruz to fill up with diesel.  We’ve been taking Highway 1 right along the coast since we left San Fran.  Unfortunately, because it’s not a trucking route, not all the fuel stations sell diesel.  We ran out about three quarters of a mile from the next fuel stop!!  Felt a bit silly having to walk along the road with a jerry can!!

Californian coastline on a dreary rainy day at Santa Cruz

Californian coastline on a dreary rainy day at Santa Cruz

After some shopping and refreshments we took a walk along the coastline.  We both agreed it reminded us of Broadstairs, near our home town of Ramsgate.  Wide, curving road, with very individual and large homes along one side overlooking the sea.  The smell and sound of the crashing of the waves opposite reminded us too of home, all washed down with a drizzle of rain.  We can really understand why California is the agriculture State – a bit like the garden of England (Kent).  The only thing really different is that there seems to be a lot of pretty flowers growing in amongst the grass and there aren’t lots of fences everywhere.  Took some obligatory photos of waves crashing over the rocks.  Actually, rather enjoyed taking the photos, not obligatory at all.

coastline gardens - Santa Cruz

coastline gardens - Santa Cruz

Liked it so much at the campsite last night we went back there again tonight.

In the footsteps of the famous

4th October 2010 by Helen
our campsite with the lorries just outside Chita

our campsite with the lorries just outside Chita

Well, after our departure from Khilok we headed off to Chita, as you know.  We’ve spent about a week here, camping alongside various lorries outside a cafe just outside of town.  It shows up well on the route map if you zoom in.  We’ve been told by one of the young women working in the cafe that a few years ago Rosie Swale-Pope (www.rosiearoundtheworld.co.uk) camped outside their cafe when she passed this way during her five year run around the world.  In the footsteps of the famous, eh!!  And we’ve introduced the cafe to the idea of lemon and sugar pancakes.  It took a bit of miming and they had to watch us eat them as they’d never heard of this combination before!!  Pancakes are usually filled with either savoury (meat – see also below) or a thick stodgy jam or served with mayonaise.

 

our campsite with the lorries just outside Chita

our campsite with the lorries just outside Chita

Sadly, we’ve had to call of our Road of Bones section.  After the delays in Kazakhstan, then Mongolia and now Siberia, our visa times have got tighter and tighter.  We have to be out of Russia by 27th October and it’s just not possible to get to Magadan and then down to Vladivostok in the time we have left available. 

Paul in particular is gutted, it was his primary reason for travelling in this part of the world.  However the incident with the horse was the final straw.  Hopefully he will have the chance to try again in a couple of years time.  Only trouble is, with the new road having been built the old road is getting more and more impassable with time and we don’t know for how long this will be achievable.

We’ve divided our time between our ‘campsite’ and the city centre, catching up on writing sponsors reports, working on our next round of sponsorship negotiations, refining our schools project to take into account what we have learned so far (and expanding to include additional schools who want to take part), taking a look at some of the sights, such as Lenin Square, and doing a bit of shopping for a second pair of warm trousers each as we head off into still colder climes.  Doesn’t solve my general misery at finding myself clumping through a fashionable city in my hefty walking boots though!!  Young Russian women have got keeping warm and stylish down to an art.  The older ones look more stereotypical though, so maybe I should just accept my age and go with the flow!!

We have been delighted to find a Coffee-Mall with free WiFi.  The food’s not particularly cheap but it is good quality and for once it is possible to order a meat dish and get something that hasn’t been chopped up and processed into something else.  Paul is also delighted to have found decent coffee as well.  Unfortunately the service is largely desultory, but, hey, you can’t have everything!!

We have had many conversations along the way about our different approaches to food: Paul enjoys good food well cooked and lovingly presented.  He is surely the darling of the true chef, fully appreciative of their art.  I enjoy this too but as Paul will point out I have a much higher tolerance to the whole Central Aisian ‘food is fuel’ approach: meat (don’t ask what sort, the answer is usually ‘meat’, they don’t know), processed into some kind of burger, possibly wrapped in pasta, often served in some kind of stew (goulash), often with assorted arteries still visible in between the gristle and fat – served with either pasta or mashed potato, and a couple of slices of cucumber and tomato.  Virtually everything comes served with mayonaise.

one of the preserved old wooden houses in Chita

one of the preserved old wooden houses in Chita

Cathedral, Chita

Cathedral, Chita

Anyway, even if the food isn’t exactly cheap the free WiFi makes up for the cost as we’d have to pay even more for the amount we’ve been using in the local Post Office provision.  At least we can use our own laptops, which is usually quicker than the ancient computers otherwise available, which makes updating blogs, sending emails, etc, etc, so much easier.

We did have a bit of excitement on Friday.  We were approached by a young man called Simon on Thursday asking us if we would be interviewed for a Russian TV programme about extreme travel.  Simon is involved in www.baikaloffroad.asia and www.club-diversant.ru – we could probably have done with knowing them when we were stuck

view through Lenin Square, Chita

view through Lenin Square, Chita

in the forest!!  One of the staff, Julia, at the station speaks good English and acted as an interpretor for us.

The weather varies between very cold and almost balmy.  In the city it can reach mid 20’s.  Outside the city: overnight it can drop below freezing and

feeding the pigeons in Lenin Square, Chita

feeding the pigeons in Lenin Square, Chita

sometimes we have woken up having to scrape the ice off the inside of the tent.  Reminds me of the days before central heating when my mother used to coax me out of bed to look at what ‘Jack Frost’ had painted on the inside of the window!!

We’ve been told (by Julia) that although English is the official second language, here in Siberia Chinese is much more useful for business and trade.

Through numerous emails and phone calls Paul is currently negotiating to ship Landy out of Vladivostok, probably to either Vancouver or Seattle, possibly via Japan or not.  Our plans to ship straight to Anchorage have been foiled by no-one shipping to there at present (it varies year by year).  Either way Landy’s journey will take about six weeks and so he will arrive sometime around the beginning/middle of December.  In the meantime we will be flying (we are not allowed to travel on the boat with Landy) to Anchorage, from where we will make some kind of combination journey using public transport and the ferry down to Billingham (just north of Seattle), from where we can get to the port so we can be reunited with Landy again.

I’ve missed my proverbs so had to slip one in, just in case some of you haven’t got anything better to do than ruminate on the meaning of these things!!  Rational animals of the genus Homo who have ceased to exist also ceases to recount connected narratives.

Interviews, water and an amazing shop

16th August 2010 by Helen

Saturday 31st July

After a late start we hit the more touristy region of the Altai, evidenced not just by the rows and rows of souvenir stalls selling silly and not so silly hats, beach toys, and such like, but also the Bavarian style restaurant with artificial water wheel and artificial fountain outside.

After brunch at aforementioned restaurant we headed on out again, looking for opportunities to fill our on board water tank, and, seeing some people filling water bottles from a spring we stopped to see if the water was good.  A filtration plant next to it suggested it was and we were able to completely fill our water tank with safe, clean, drinking water.  In the meantime, a young man and woman stopped to speak to us.  He turned out to be a freelance professional photographer and journalist and we were interviewed in a combination of bits of Russian and English and had our photo taken.  Somewhere we may be on a Russian internet site and even in print.  We’re hoping he will email us with the link, in which case we will add it to the site.

We have found that our table, stored in the rear seating area, has caused some damage to some wiring and so are now strapping it to the roof.  This is inconvenient to say the least.  This was one of our unresolved problems before we left the UK and now we have to resolve it.  Paul has been looking out for some lengths of angled aluminium to make some better storage under the roof rack.  None to be found anywhere.  Then just as we were passing through a village I saw a sign for a shop that appeared to sell at least screws.  Stopping, we found they also sold some angled fittings, that although not what Paul wanted originally, but can be used to do the job.

An amazing shop, He had only been open for five days when we called in and was still unpacking some of his stock.  Everything was laid out neatly and he had virtually every size of screw, nut, bolt, fitting and whatnot, there is going.  A real specialist shop if ever there was one and Paul was entranced.  I really hope he does well in his business.  Before we left he gave us a signed copy of a book he has written.  It’s all in Russian, so now I have something to work on to practice my translation skills (when I’ve finished the somewhat easier children’s book, Ali Baba, which I bought in Almaty for that purpose).

Campsite – wild camping by a river in the Altai region of Russia

Distance travelled 135 km

(click individual photos to see larger picture)