Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Remote Siberian City of Irkutsk- a look + feel

Soviet architecture
I type into my browser, and turn the screen towards my kind host, Tatiana, who giggles in understanding. Her fingers glide over her keyboard, then rotate her laptop for my view across the table. It's a slow but enjoyable conversation; thank you Google Translate- bridging communication and cultural divide around the world.

I head out from the apartment walking in a random direction. A couple kilometers later, a very odd looking building prompts me to investigate.
I climb its stairs. Located above a small grocery store I discover a hotel of all things. In a comical exchange of words and gestures, I'm advised to take the bus to the town center.
Walk outside, look around for the bus-stop, I see nothing. A van pulls across the street. The hotel's manager, apparently with nothing else on his plate, has been watching me like a KGB guardian angel. He yells and motions from the balcony that this in fact the "bus" I should get on.
sculpture of a broken cello and empty hat I feel both fitting and oddly beautiful
I hustle to attract the driver's attention, board, and pay 12 rubles (33 cents) for the ride. He pulls away from the dusty stop onto the road pulling over every couple minutes to drop off/ pick-up new passengers.  
The chasm in language too wide to bridge, I merely guess when I feel we've arrived at the center of town; Correctly.
I spend the rest of the day avoiding sudden downpours and exploring the area.
Below you will find photos and videos meant to give you an image and feel for this distant and remote Siberian city.

Soviet style ugly ass buildings abound

commercial stands in the center of town 

a look at some of the faces of Irkutsk

downtown Irkutsk

a vegetable market downtown 

tilted old wooden house

downtown Irkutsk

catch a trolley
Playing cards on the street. Many Asians here, especially given relative proximity to Mongolia

bride cutout downtown unsmiling- why would she

Babuska having lunch

shopping area- the equivalent of 3rd St Promenade in Santa Monica

finally a little bit of color versus the normal grey Soviet city

it's the former Soviet Union alright

relatively well upkept hotel

not a fan, Vlad

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