August 2, 2012
Up at approximately 9.00AM and after an healthy breakfast made of uneatable sausages we load our bikes with our gear and head toward the city of Ulan-Ude. The plan is to go to Lake Baikal and camp on its shore. The day is overcast and of course after just a couple of hours of riding a big storm is on top of us. With our raining gear we go visit a Buddhist Monastery in Ivolginsky Quite interesting but the heavy rain and still many kilometers to go don’t allow us to stay very long. We arrive at Lake Baikal in the evening before sunset just in time to prepare our tents for the night. Our fist encounter of the evening is two couples that offer us some vodka and smoked fish. Very nice people to be with even if we did not understand each other at all due to language barrier. At around midnight after we made our dinner on the camping stove and ready to go to sleep a couple of guys approach us stating they were in the Russian Army and celebrating their graduation. The Vodka in their system was unreal. The situation is not a pleasant one and we feel that troubles are just around the corner. It takes nothing and we could have been is serious troubles. They ask aggressively our passports. Of course we pretended not to understand what they were saying. Never give your documents in this part of the world. The best think to do for us is to play cool considering the body mass they had. After a few minutes I feel there is no time left and my intuition tells me I have to find a quick solution out of this unpleasant situation. I decide to take Matteo and walk quickly about 300 meters to the people we met earlier and ask them to speak to these individuals. Quite a scary night I must say. It turns out that a full “battalion” was not that far from us celebrating a graduation of some sort and the situation could have escalated rapidly. Thank God it did not happened but the following morning we all agreed that we are in Siberia and have to be extra careful. We did not sleep all night.
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