Saturday, May 31, 2014

First Day in Irkutsk

When we got to Irkutsk, the coordinator met us at the airport to take us to the dorms. I live on the 5th floor with a Korean roommate who is attending university here. She is fluent in Russian and only speaks some English. This is baptism by fire! We've already broken out the dictionary a few times because I just didn't know the words. (Although I should probably memorize the answer to 'why are you a vegetarian?!?!)
Some of the people I went walking with. Here we were walking along the lake.

My self and a few others here on a program from the US (the we at the airport) decided to,go try to find the university. We had a map, but that was it. The map did list the buses that would take us back, so we walked a bit and then hopped on a bus. Here you get on the bus and pay as you leave rather than pay as you get on. 

To get to where the map said the university was, it took about 30 minutes. We guessed the stop to get off on, but we couldn't find the actual building that the University was in. We wandered for a bit and decided that there should be food near the river, right? Nope. Just FYI food is the other way...

A church near the school

We did eventually find a restaurant near a shopping mall, where i had no idea what I was ordering, but it was a cucumber, radish mayonnaise salad plus mystery soup with pickles. Not the worst thing I have ever had, but I won't be going back. 

We then attempted to find our way back. I mean, the bus that got us here works, no? Apparently, not in Russia. It is a one way circle thing. We ended up going to the airport, and switching to the same bus number but a different bus and finally found our stop. It was interesting to get to see part of the city?

When I got back, my roommate was gone, but she forgot to leave the key, so I was locked out for a few minutes until a floor mate who is fluent went down and convinced the babushka to give me her key so I can get into the room.

a different church, this one is on the river, and they maintain a little garden

After a nap, I went to get some dinner supplies. Spaghetti and what I thought was tomato sauce. Which it was, but only tomatoes no spices. Which was fine but I think I will be trying to buy some spices. I also bought milk, cereal, juice, and yogurt.

When I got back, the floor was starting the welcome party they had planned for us. It was fun hanging out with people who mostly only spoke Russian. I understand a lot, but a few questions didn't make since, since I couldn't hear the words in the noise. 

I ended up crashing about 11pm. I was able to take a hot shower, which was nice, even though it is a handheld shower spirit instead of being able to be placed above your head. (Normal throughout the rest of the world.) 

Some first thoughts...

The city is currently backwards in my mind, for some reason the map in my head is different than the legitimate map.

The buildings are different from St. Petersburg. They aren't as European, not that this is a surprise, they are beautiful buildings, and very intricate. Mostly wooden on the outskirts, but concrete in the center area. 

There are few restaurants in one part of what is considered the center of town. Trust me, we walked it.

See you around the globe!

1 comment:

Mama said...

Such great details! It's like I'm there with you. TOO funny about the buses. What a great unexpected 'explore.' I don't understand the shower comment. It's a hand held wand? Sounds like LOTS of walking. Good exercise but try to work in to is gradually for the sake of your "already operated on twice knee!"
Love you.