Two weeks ago my host Ruslan met me at the railway station. Enrique another CS also just arrived in Chita and we both stayed with Ruslan. After having some rest, we were meeting two friends of him, Lena and Olya. We went for some traditional Russian lunch and afterwards we made an excursion outside the city. As it was heavily raining the days before the unpaved road was still flooded in between. But with the 4WD it was manageable to get to “Urochishche Dvortsy”. The rocks are easily reachable and even some rock climbing (I’ve seen at least one route with bolds and some pitons) and bouldering is possible there. When we returned to the car Lena detected that her front number plate was missing. We thought it was gone, when we drove through one of the deep and large puddles. So Ruslan and Olya tried to find it, while we drove back, by walking through it. It was lots of fun, but in the end the puddles were just too large, so we didn’t succeed.
After heading back to town, we changed the cars and Olya her clothes. So we had one again with two number plates. Now we were heading to the local airfield as Olya knew some of the pilots there. Enrique and Ruslan took a short flight in one of the UL’s. But I was for several reasons not interested in doing so. In the evening we went to a restaurant for some Georgian food, which was very tasty. Afterwards Olya took us to the local hill, where we needed to by pass and old cemetery, but eventually we had a view onto the city at night. When driving back, we stopped at the city centre and had a walk around Lenin square before the day full of adventures finally end. I experienced much more in Chita as ever expected before.
Sunday a week ago I took my next train to Chita. The landscape is now no longer just flat but becoming more hilly. So the track is following some rivers and hence is becoming more interesting. Monday morning a week ago I eventually reached Chita and I’ve now already the same time zone a Tokio, which I found quit interesting. Chita is just a trading and transshipment centre with China, so I expected nothing special out of here.
Saturday a week ago we made an excursion to the Ivolginsk Datsan. It’s the only Datsan which was allowed to be constructed during the Stalin era. In this particular case in honor of the locals who participated in WWII. It was the second in whole Soviet Union, which was allowed to be in operation during that time. Nowadays it is well known for the mummified 12th Khambo Lama which was exhumed in 2002. The Buddhist belive that he is not yet dead, but just in a very deep sleep. He can be visited in one of the Datsan’s.
After arrival we had our clockswise walk around and prayed at each praying mill. Afterwards we just strolled around and got this tickets for visiting the Lama, but we had to wait after lunch break. So we took the time to get something to eat and then just sat down in the shadow and watching nervous people also waiting. After queueing for a while, we were eventually allowed to get into the Datsan. Contrary to the other mummified man in Moscow, this one was mummified on a natural basis, and it is more relaxed to visit him. You are even allowed to stand and watch at him…you may even talk to him.
After this experience, we drove back to UU and finished the afternoon with a cup of coffee at a terrace over the city and enjoying the view there.
Friday a week ago I had a city tour in Ulan-Ude with Seseg. She went for the weekend back to her hometown and so we decided to meet. First we visited the mathematical department of her former university, where she studied. Then she took me to her former neighbourhood in the suburbs of the city and showed me around there. Which was definitely off the beaten track and very interesting. In the evening we eventually went to the fountain infront of the opera, and viewed the waters which were illuminated and dancing to the played music.
Two weeks ago, after planning my further trip the days before, I went to a local boulder gym in the afternoon. One week earlier, when I stayed with Alex, his friend Anna told me, that there is a climbing gym in Ulan-Ude. I was a little bit surprised about that, as I didn’t expected it. So I asked at the hostel, if they could help me to sort out the address. It was already a bit suspicious, as bouldering was only possible in certain time slots, because they said there were school classes in the gym before. Well and when I entered the gym, I discovered also why. It was really pretty small, the walls were full of holds in different colours, but that doesn’t meant that each colour is also one route. Beside that, the holds were not marked differently as like in the boulder gym in Saint Petersburg and were always pretty large, as made for kids. So I’ve to say that this bouldering experience was pretty bad, even as you’ve had to pay on an hourly base. So I definitely can’t recommend this one. But from the explanation I had from Anna, there has to be at least another climbing gym in Ulan-Ude, but I hadn’t time to find it out.