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July 9th 2012
Published: October 6th 2012
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Wet weather in Petropavlovsk?

Plans gone astray?

Then it's time to make the trip to Ecco.

A 10 hour bus ride north from Petropavlsk brings you to Ecco a cute little village with about 4,000 inhabitants. The bus departs from the main bus station at 9 am promptly. If you are slightly late the bus does not wait. Therefore if you are using one of the only wifi outlets in the city centre and it's 5 mins until the bus departure and your located 10 minutes away - well you better run like hell.

Contrary to our sources we arrive after a shaky ride to rain and a chill in the air. After finding out that the local guesthouses and hotels are well over priced we decide to stay in some local cabins by the public pools.

"Booked out" slurs a very drunk landlord when we reach the cabins.

That's when we meet Galia and Casha. Both locals, they have been friends for the past 50 years, since Galia and Casha met as neighbours when Galia was 13. Casha is part Kamchidalin which is the local indigenous or aboriginal people to Kamchatka. Casha is also a big fan of bikes. Ask him and he'll give you the full specs of any bike featuring in the tour de France right down to the eye color of the winning riders. He's truly an inspiration and many years ago along with 6 friends, he rode his bike from Magadan to St Petersburgh over a 6 month period, bearing cold Siberian autumns, riding through rivers and several countries including Kazakstan.

This trip is also a bike trip, on a smaller scale, however no easy feat nonetheless. Three weeks earlier Casha and a friend had ridden their bikes to Petropavlsk. About 40 km off the full 500 km journey, Casha's friend fell from the bicycle and managed to fracture his hip.

Carefully concealing the bicycles in the bushes they had taken the bus the next morning to Petropavlsk straight to the hospital ward. Galia, the responsible friend and also an avid sports woman had volunteered to ride the bicycle back to Petropavlsk with Casha.

The majority of the ride was over unsealed bumpy roads. On a dry day, each passing vehicle would cover the bike riders with dirt. When it was rainy, the track was sticky and slushy. Nonetheless Galia was ready for the challenge.

"Were looking for a place to stay" Galia had said to the cabin owner where we were also rejected. We suggested we search for a place together.

Thats when the second round of introductions took place. This time the retrospective party was women from the Church of the Seventh day Adventists.

"Were not some cult trying to spread our religious propaganda" explained Maria retrieving a book from her bag and handing it to me.

"We want you to have this book Dasha. Your a light sunny person and this book will help you in life. You know there is a Seventh Day Adventist church in Sydney? I think you would really enjoy it there" she added.

"Looking for a place to stay?!?" she turned to us.

"You poor dears. I will help you. Your all children of God and there is a reason a God brought us together."

After much hand holding and a couple more exclamations about the greatness of Gods word they set off to show us where we could stay the night. There were three of them, Maria, Sofia and Elizabeth. They had traveled from Kasnoyarsk to spread the word of God. Maria had said she was interested in traveling for some time and had asked God to help direct her along this path. As a result, she was sent by her church to do missionary work around Russia for the Seventh Day Adventist church.

The three woman brought us to Zoe's place, a local Ecco woman who allowed us to stay the night. Our final rendezvous was a swim in the local pools which were also heated and made a nice finish to the interesting day.

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