We had read deep into the night due to inability to know the time and good books (mine is about a Journalist driving the great wall of China, Guy’s is about some chap called Genghis Khan and we we totally unprepared for breakfast being served to our room at 8.20am! I couldn’t stomach to milky tea, noodles, grated carrot and unnervingly soft frankfurter, thankfully Guy could and ate both portions. I had cup of green tea and chocco pie.
Our host had offered to give us a lift to the Buddhist monastery, a 3.5km climb uphill out of town, we left at 10am. He was very proud of his Japanese car which was right hand drive, in a country that is (predominantly) left hand drive. Guy was sitting in the front, with seat belt firmly intact.
There were morning prayers being held in the monastery so we were respectful and quiet, our hotel man was keen to show us round as he did his prayers so we obediently followed him round, trying not to disturb the chanting, I nearly jumped out of my skin when they changed the melodic monk chanting to cymbals clashing and drum banging.
Our chap had to get on with his day but with the help of Google translate he told us ahout a trail around the monastery.
Google translate has been revolutionary on this trip, we have used it numerous times and are getting used to speaking or typing into the phone and showing the results to a local. It is slightly unerving as you are never sure if it correctly translates, but so far we haven’t offended anyone.
We then had a blast of heating from the souvenir shop, and then headed downhill to town through the suburban sprawl of Ulan Ude. We saw a village cafe and decided to stop for tea, we can say 2 green teas in Russian now, so that bit was easy. Trying to get breakfast was a little more difficult but we got eggs, fried luncheon meats and a sliced pickle. A number of bus drivers came in afterwards and had some ace looking soups, but all we got translated for soups was potato puree soup, which didn’t appeal.
Into a supermarket for a nose about. Lots of smoked fish.
Another wander through town, okay, we might have just got lost, we went into the Opera house and pushed our noses to the locked door to see a very plush interior, then needed another fridge magnet for Guy via a giant Lenin head (to note the scale, that tiny blob at the bottom is me).
Time was passing and food was needed so we saw a restaurant with wonderful photos of pelmenis, dumplings, kebabs, salads and were fooled into entering! In England you would get them on trade descriptions. We had pork (I think) with under cooked rice and a raw cabbage and cucumber salad, Guy had sausage meat patties with a dried egg on top and salty canned veg, no photos taken.
Another walk around town and we went back to our friendly pastry place for cake and back to the hotel for blogging.