This is Dima, who organized so many things for me in Russian (the travel agent for my flight to America, accommodation at the Gostinitsa (guesthouse), tour around his city). And his daughter Anastasia who was trying out for an English speaking team the following day, so we walked together and took the opportunity to practice English. She didn't really need much practice and at 14, she said she wished she had started learning the language much earlier in first grade.
It was an unusually warm end of summer day, many people were commenting on it.
My little guesthouse on water...
So! Upon my return from America and not sleeping at all for the last 2 days, I got my bike so generously stored at the mechanic shop... packed up and made a run to my next destination Novosibirsk.
With over 800 km to accomplish I did not stop along the way for photos. And there wasn't much need to, just a highway with lots of trucks. Among many things, Dima also organized for me to meet his friend Alex or Oleg in Novosibirsk who will guide me into the large city. I had sent a text around 10 pm that I was about 50 km from town, and I had a general idea even in Russian the little suburb to watch out for whoever I was to meet (Alex or Oleg?) Because my phone credit was up, and hoped for the best.
Luckily in the dark a motorcycle passed me the opposite direction. You don't see many motorcycles out late at night around here, so I thought it might be a clue. Sure enough, he turned around and I stopped. With little English he said "follow me.. please". No worries!
On the way into town, we met with 2 other bikers who were waiting in the cold dark night for me.. guilt.. guilt.. I love these guys, but can't believe they waited there so long!
So the 4 of us rode into Novosibirsk around 11 pm.. After over 800 km, and severe jet lag, no sleep and only one bowl of soup (borscht - my favorite especially from a roadside cafe!) in my stomach all day, I just wanted to find a bed!! But they wanted to give me the grand tour of city. That was so nice of them and they waited so long, I was not about to say otherwise.
Finally we got to a concrete building, a man comes out says nothing, gets on the back of another mans bike and we go to a garage. I was wondering how concerned I should be, but I was too tired to care.
They directed me to park my bike in the garage. Clearly this is not a hotel or gostinitsa..! I grab my gear and back onto the other's bikes we are driven back to Mark's place.
I was taken inside, it's around 1 AM!! A couch had already been made into a bed for me, they fed me a large bowl of soup and a cup of tea. Thank you thank you thank you!!! I am so blessed and you must be tired of hearing it by now, but at least you know the entire Russian country is full of wonderfully good people!!
I had NO IDEA what to expect, there is little communication, but this is just what happens! Who is this man I am staying with?? He didn't even have a motorcycle!! (turns out he does, he just wasn't riding that night, but I didn't know it then)
So I post this on Facebook, and after me being in America and Walter traveling through Mongolia, I get a message from him that he has just arrived Novosibirsk himself! Same day - that's amazing.. I had no idea about that either!
We found the time to meet, have a meal and a beer, and since he had just recently travelled through Mongolia, he took the time to update my waypoints for my GPS. (thank goodness, I am so grateful especially now, which I will go into on my Mongolia blog) Walter may not officially be Russian, but he might as well be he is here so much.. hence, he gets the "Russian Good People" credit too...I am one lucky motoadventurer!! Plus it was just good to catch up with my friend..
Next morning, Walter was traveling west, and I was on my way down to Mongolia, about 1000 km south of Novosibirsk.
Sorry... such a whirlwind couple of weeks, I am just running around, living life and trying to get back into the swing of things in Russia and wasn't into taking photos.. There are plenty of photos coming in the next blog, I will make up for it! ;-)