Stopped in the capital of the Buryatia Republic to make some repairs to Jigsaw’s front shock absorber mounts; to splash around in the torrential rain that seems to follow us whenever we visit a city; to go see the giant Lenin head for which Ulan Ude is “famous” and to try and figure out how this can be a capital of a republic within a republic…

One of the many illusions we had about Russia was that everyone would be offering us shots of vodka, toast after toast. It hasn’t been like that and, while we understand that we have avoided many centres of population and such on our mad rush eastwards, we were wondering what had happened to that aspect of Russian culture. Well, today, after five weeks, we got our first shots of vodka; stopping to ask directions to the local Ethnographic Museum and finding some office workers having an office party.ulan ude party

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