August 6, 2012
Today we all feel a little tired and have a slower start. We are heading to Novobureyskiy. A 690 KM trip. The road is pretty boring all day following the Tran Siberian Railroad. The only interesting thing is that at times we can see the Chinese border. At lunch we start asking Akira to make some phone calls in Japan to see about a shipping company that will ship Mateo’s bike to Vancouver and mine and Thierry’s to Europe. In the evening we are supposed to stay at a Stayanka (sort of truck stop) but when we get there everything is full. We are not sure of what to do next. I suggest going knock on people’s door asking permission to place our tent in their garden. 99 % of the times people will invite you to stay with them, when a full dressed Russian biker shows up to the gas station. We immediately made him aware of the situation and ask him if there is any nearby accommodation. He tells us there is a something that might work for us at about 5 KM. It is already night and our number one rule is never to drive at night. Considering the short drive we follow Igor to the place. Of course we invite him for a bite to eat with us. Our conversation is interesting enough as he knows some English. During my trip through Siberia I am interested in knowing whether people believe that the old Soviet regime was in a way better then the actual situation. It is of course a complex argument but my impression is that many people prefer the way it was in many aspects. The situation right now is that there is extreme wealth in some part of this huge country but as well extreme poverty in other areas. The area that we are crossing right now is one of them and people don’t have much of anything. Igor explains us that during the regime everyone had a car, a house, and a small but enough money every month. Now everything is left in total abandonment and people left on their own. In this part of Siberia the rule of the strongest reigns. That of course explains why it is dangerous to stay out at night in this region.