Friday, October 31, 2014

Missing the Train out of Irkutsk- Stranded at the Station

I get back to Irkutsk later than expected. having to take the slower of two boats from Baikalskyoke as the limited number of tickets for the fast one were sold out.
Irkutsk train station
I walk into the apartment, my host absent, and my hopes to escape from Russia a night early by train seem dashed as the Internet is down city-wide.
I'm already packed, but the few words I speak in Russian are simply insufficient to get me where I need. Right before I am about to give up hope, Tatiana walks in with her daughter. We've used Google Translate to communicate with each other, but tonight we're forced into a game of charades.
Eventually she calls me a taxi, walks downstairs with me, and instructs him on where to take me.
"Am I going to make it?"
"Ten minutes to station."
Either I misunderstood her, or she's flat wrong, it's in excess of twenty minutes to get there, When the car in front of of us doesn't make a left hand turn at a long light, I groan in the back seat. My driver takes it personally, imitating me in exaggerated tones, letting me know his life isn't perfect either. I'm in the wrong here, but I don't have the words to  explain this, so I just shut-up.
At last we arrive at the train station, we're late, I'm hoping the train is as well. Alas, it's departed. Bye-bye. Now what? Internet is down everywhere so I have no Skype, and no one at the station speaks a word of English, and trust me I asked many people.
here is my sad at experience with Siberians 

So now I am frustrated. No train, no net, wasted taxi fare and time, unfriendly Russians, possibly out the still prepaid night I have at Tatiana's. Maybe the security guards ... they're the only employees not behind glass, they have to pretend to try and help me ... I walk outside ...
A shake of both their heads. The pantomine begins. Several minutes later I've successfully communicated my predicament, show them Tatiana's number, who they call and explain (hopefully) what's happened.
"She's coming to get you," they communicate.
Great .. wait a second ... Tatiana doesn't have a car.
"Coming, coming," they reiterate.
I want to make it easy for her to find me, I put my bags in front of the station and sit on the steps. "Nie, nie," exclaim the security guards, the outside of the terminal must remain passenger and luggage free. They shoo me inside and assure me that they'll bring her to me.
There I wait a half-hour, doing my best to clear my mind, attempting to meditate, gazing around silently wishing the people whose daily reality it is to live here, blessings and joy. It's an exercise I do when I find myself out of sorts.

Thirty-five minutes later agitation grows inside me once again. Still no wifi, I have no choice but to wait. Ten minutes later, Tatania finds me. Gratefully I embrace her. She takes me to purchase a ticket to Ulan Ude for the following morning, a task which would have been next to impossible on my own.
I pay the cab fare back to her apartment, and reimburse her the cost for coming over, plus some extra.
It's hard when you don't know the language to express your gratitude in words, but I'm positive Tatiana was aware of my feelings. Spaciva Tatiana, spaciva.

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