Before starting, you look at the map. You do not do it often, because usually you just need to follow the road to the east. By chance, you realize that your road cross a part of Kazakhstan … The borders of the former USSR are sometimes complicated, and you remember the same story of enclave between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. However, a simple workaround exists and you can go to Omsk without entering Kazakhstan.
So you leave the main road up to the North just a few kilometers after hotel. The road is good, much better than the one you just left. The concern of the day is the return of the cold. An icy wind. Very soon, you stop for stacking your clothes and equipment.
After a hundred kilometers, you take away eastwards. The road is suddenly completely fucked. Worse than a Kazakh road. The cars and trucks go zigzaging. It is normally easier to find your way for a motorbike, but go into deep holes and out is not particularly easy with your luggage. Fortunately, you realize that your bike has become more maneuverable with time. You just hesitating to accelerate to avoid shocks. You have always in mind that the subframe could break, or the boat could get dammages.
After 45 minutes, when you believe that this bad road will be endless, it just changes to a perfect new road. Always surprises in Russia. One of the most beautiful road since your entry into Russia.
You had announced to Mikhaïl that you would arrive in the early afternoon. Detours and work make you join Omsk around 5 p.m. . You call him, and realize that he does not understand English. One of her friends call you ten minutes later, in English. Mikhail asks you to wait in the station where you are and whom you sent the GPS coordinates.
Fifteen minutes later, comes a Honda Valkyrie, loud music. Alexander is a friend of Mikhail. After a few calls, he asks you to follow him. 500 meters on the highway, you take a dirt road, you head sheds lost in the countryside. A sort of garage, but with motorcycles on front. As you enter one of the hangars, you realize that you find yourself in a standard KTM concession… The exhibition room, a series of helmets, equipments, stacks of good tires. You thought there was only one KTM shop in Moscow, and this place is a nice surprise.
They take your broken mirror. You discuss trip with Alexander. After a coffee, you go back to the bikes. Mikhail has arrived in a big 4×4. He is warm, smiling.
You return to your bike. You realize that there is a new mirror on your handlebar. It is clean, but did not look new. The boss of the concession smiled. Now you see the welding.. They fixed it! Nice job. Perfect! Russia remains a country where everything could be repaired.
Alexander asks you if you need anything in this store KTM done for you … In other circumstances, you would find shopping to do, but without your Visa card, you prefer not even ask you anymore.
You leave the shop. You have to follow Mikhail. It leads you home, on the other side of Omsk. Or rather his parents. A large house, away from the road that goes to Kazakhstan. It presents you his parents, his grandmother, his cousin. There is also a discreet young man, Andrei. You do not understand who he is, but you will realize later that it has a role as a driver.
Micha has to go downtown. It lets you rest, take a shower. You get to know his family. You show them your travel book. In exchange, they show you the photo albums of the family, their travels. You’re happy to share this moment with them. While you try to discuss with Vica, Micha’s cousin, her aunt explains that she is paratrooper in the army. You think pretty girls often have surprising job in Russia.
Micha’s mother makes you visit the garden. You like to visit the gardens. They grow vegetables they consume. You are trying to learn the names of vegetables in Russian, but your memory is still failing.
Andrei then drive you to find Micha (Russians almost always use a nickname). It will lead you into a large café-restaurant-nightclub that is a meeting place for bikers. Micha knows many people. Bikers, and also a lot of girls. Micha is a Don Juan.
Alexander (Sasha is the diminutive) arrives. You speak English with him. He offers to go with him tomorrow Sunday for a barbecue-sauna. Why not … Between appointments for your tires to Irkutsk, and one for your Visa card you must arrange to Yakutsk, you now have some time.
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Money worries are going to be solved. Your mother sent you a link to the website of Western Union, a bank specialized in the rapid money transfers worldwide. They do have a good fifty representations in Omsk … The only problem is that they limit transfers up to 500 euros, and each transfer costs more than 40 euros. But it should work, and you ask your family to transfer you twice 500 euros. You could retrieve the first part tomorrow morning in Omsk, and the following somewhere in the next cities.
Again, it is Andrei that drives you to Omsk to find Micha. From there, you go with Micha to the country house of Sacha. It is a bit remote, but Micha drives fast, very fast.
The house is brand new. Again, the whole family met: Sacha, his parents, and also an aunt. Many Russians live in family. The layout of the cottage is still in progress. Kitchen equipments are not unpacked, and the grass is freshly planted.
It’s cold. Around 10 °. Sacha’s father gives you a warm coat. You go for a short walk. The house sits on a hill on the banks of a river. There is thus several large cottages, grouped to form a “Eco-Village”. Sacha and Micha enjoy the view: the river is about twenty meters above the river level, and such an elevation is rare in the region.
Sacha is surgeon for children, and his mother was an engineer. She formerly worked in the electronics of missiles … A woman who looks so kind, so cool, … You’ll end up believing that the army is really everywhere, even if the job of Sacha’s mother belongs now to the past.
As for Sacha, you understand his passion for motorcycles. You must need to unwind after a day of intervention. It seems perfectionist, attached to details.
After lunch, you go into the hood to cut ends of branches. They will be part of the sauna ceremony.
Sacha prepares the sauna. Meanwhile, Micha does not separate its phones. He probably spends 80% of his time with a phone. To his friends, girls or bikers, while driving,… there is always a phone call or a text message to send. Telephone hyperactivity.
While you undress to get into the sauna, you realize that Micha’body is scarred. Two motorcycle accidents, two crashes with trucks. Micha always drive too fast, and he’s lucky to be alive. But he continues. He needs to go fast.
Your first feeling of the sauna is not very good: difficulty breathing, to withstand the heat and humidity, the smell of the leaves. But you appreciate gradually, and eventually you’ll end up finding this nice, relaxing. The leaves are used to scent the air, water … A decoction. Micha mass you also your back with them. At the exit, you are get some cold water, which is welcome. You go half naked in the rain. While you were frozen until the sauna, you now find the temperature pleasant. You feel rested, relaxed and warmed.
You leave Sacha projecting a meeting in Grenoble. You often received Australian bikers in your house, but never Russian. It will be next winter, so they can enjoy skiing.
On return, a break in Omsk. Micha has an appointment with a girl friend and you go to a cafe. You do not understand the topic of discussion, but you hear the word “sentimental” in the mouth of his friend. There is often a word from the French in discussions in Russian. This helps, even if you doubt the contents of the discussion.
Micha’s mother, Vica and Andrei come to pick you up, and you let Micha and his girlfriend. The road is much quieter: you stop at the pharmacy, do some shopping. You can enjoy the evening for you to update your blog.
Monday, June 9, 2014
All your business is ready at 8:30. Your objective is to go to a “Western Union” agency in Omsk, to withdraw the money that your family sent you, then heading to Krasnoyarsk. But Victoria’s mother, Micha did not hear it that way. You go together by car to the bank, you will find Micha, and then you come home. You feel the trap, but impossible to say no to Victoria. You’re off. Micha gave you an appointment at the headquarters of the “Alfabank.” You did not find it in the list of representatives of Western Union, but why not.
Since the AlfMicha does not represent Western Union, you go to another one with Micha.
Many papers. Russia has passed the age of the Internet, but it has not abandoned the paper. You sign 5 or 6 different papers. Everything takes time. Sometimes you find in France that certain procedures are not very effective, but in Russia, waiting is a fact of life.
You’re also intrigued by the employees of banks. All are young and beautiful girls. The cashier is an impressive beauty. You wonder what these women become after a few years of work. They stop their work for all to become housewives? Or do they spend in the office “behind”? You don’t feel very comfortable in this environment.
You end up getting the money, and go have a coffee in the bar which is located above the bank. Micha is there with a biker from Krasnoyarsk. There are more than 1400km between Krasnoyarsk and Omsk, and this guy comes in one day of 19 hours on his harley Davidson.
You leave. Return to the house through a few stops racing. You get to 13h. You have lost a half day, but you remain fatalistic. It’s not wasted time, even if you wanted to optimized your day differently. Should you get rid of your habits you time optimization.
Tired, you do not drive long. The road is monotonous, flat. On both sides of the road, a water-soaked earth. You think you do not even would arrive to find a place for your tent if you had to stop in the countryside.