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Published: July 10th 2006
So, I started Vlad on the correct foot, had fun getting here, but the concert and the fireworks were all fun. Monday morning came and my contact came and picked me up from the hotel and dropped me off at my homestay. It was with an older lady, think widow here, and it was your classic soviet style building. No hot water and the elvator was one of those lifts that has the outside door, and sliding doors on the inside, so a lot of fun for me when I was getting in and out. We made plans to meet a few days later when it was decided what I would do for train stops and airfare to leave the country. Later in the afternoon, I met up wiith a friend from the fireworks that offered to walk me around the city. That turned into a 5 hour walk in the sun with some ice cream and beer thrown into the mix. There is drinking all over the city, you can do this in the steets if you wish. When I asked about it, my firend replied, "for you in Canada, beer is a drink. For us, it is water on a hot day. When we want to drink, the vodka comes out...". I never stuck around to see if this was true. Another thing is the smoking. It is funny coming from home and never having it near you, and now, every second person does this, even some of the kids. Here, cigarettes are a dollar, so I can see why everyone smokes. My next few days were very quiet, got caught up on messenger and email, and did a lot of walking around, hanging near the beach people watching and doing a lot of reading. Vlad is a pretty location, the city is rebuilding itself, but very scenic in its location. It has a lot of buildings that date before the revoution, so it is a nice mix of old and old/new. My rail tickets were also secured during these days, and a plane ticket for Budapest on July 26. The washing I did of myself was pretty fun as well, the lady would boil water for me and I would use a pan and bucket of water to wash, it worked. Now, it is off to the train station. I have 3 days on the train and I will arrive in Irkutsk. It will be 4000km, so it should be an interesting ride.
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