Above: The Road to Kharkhorin
Taken while traveling in Mongolia. October 2010.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Republic of Buryatia

(Friday, 22 October 2010)

I just got back from downtown, where we (Irkutsk State University Choir) performed at ВТБ Bank’s 20th birthday party bash. Our choir director nearly killed me when she saw that, seeing as I have no dress shoes, I arrived in my bright red keds. In my defense, I had a 20kg limit on my luggage for a year and a half (my French horn replaced one carry-on), and I wasn't about to waste a bunch of space and weight on dress shoes. Despite the apparently extremely distracting shoes, it was an alright performance.

Everything seems to have calmed down. Every day I feel less like a foreigner and more like a normal student in Irkutsk, especially after seeing German tourists walking down Karl Marx Street (main street), or better yet when I find myself able to give them directions to the Philharmonic.

A while back, at the beginning of October, the Middlebury crew went on a week-long trip in the Buryat Republic, which neighbors the Irkutsk region. I didn’t really know such places existed in Russia before coming here. There were times I didn’t know whether I was in Russia, Tibet, or the Alps. Here are some pictures to give you an idea:

More pictures HERE

The largest Lenin head on the planet

Snow on Baikal!
Baikal's backside (eastern side)
A typical Buryat village
River Selenga

Playing dress-up in a yurt
Playing Buryat Warrior outside the yurt

Trying to construct a yurt

A datsan

typical looking house in Buryatia

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