From Avery’s Journal #4: Quotes from New Friends (Krasnoyarsk, Ulan-Ude)

Quotes From New friends: Krasnoyarsk, Ulan-Ude, July 3-7, 2018

Train to Krasnoyarsk


We didn’t get the man in the blue shirt’s name. Forgive the poor photo quality , Melody lent her camera to the young boy on the right.

Man: The conductor is perfect, perfect!

Avery: Why?

Man: “He is…so gentle. Perfect!”

Avery: Yes he was helpful to me as well.

Man: Ah yes (laughs) this is because…because…

Melody: Why?

Man: I can never explain. Ah, conductor!

*** a few minutes later***

Man: All Siberians are sincere. But he is from Moscow, so I don’t know!

We still have no idea why this man was so into our conductor.


On Moscow people:

Man: They are are another people! I do not like at all, at all. I can’t explain. It is another country, another planet. Moscow is space, just space.


Of the Russian soldiers:

“They are going home. So they are happy, but not drunk. No vodka! I don’t understand why!”



Stefan and his father, Victor. 

Stefan: I climbed these rocks for the first time when I was three!

Avery: I’m sure you had a little help.

Stefan: Looks at his father.Yes, a little.


Stefan struggled and slipped on the way down the rocks.

Victor: Moscow people!

Context: Stefan grew up in Krasnoyarsk, but then studied in St. Petersburg and now works in Moscow. Victor was saying he had become weak.



Avery: Wow, how long did that climb take?

Melody: Probably 30-40 minutes.

Stefan: I took my girlfriend here, and it took two hours. It was her plus three Siberian men, and we had to help her. She remembers nothing, she saw nothing, because she was so afraid.

Melody: I guess we’re not doing that badly then!

Melody/Avery: Laugh hysterically in terror and relief.



While climbing down, Avery can’t reach the next foothold and so stretches nearly into the splits to get it.

Victor: You are enjoying this!

Avery: Pants, laughs nervously. What makes you think I am enjoying this?

Victor: You always do it like this! Indicates stretching.

Avery: Finally reaches the foothold. Well, we each have our own way I guess.



Protas, Avery, and Melody. Protas was our host in Ulan-Ude, Protas. He took us to Lake Baikal and hung out with us for 2.5 days. 

Protas: I want to cross Lake Baikal while it’s frozen next winter. For one of the nights you have to camp on the ice.

Melody: Isn’t that really cold?

Protas: Yes, but with winter sex it is okay.

Avery: …..

Melody: …with winter sacks?

Protas: Yes, yes.

Melody: Sounds like it would make a fun honeymoon.

Avery: I’ve actually heard of Kamchatka and Irkutsk before, because of the board game Risk. Russia is divided into lots of parts for the game, like Ural, Siberia, Ukraine…

Protas: Has a crafty look. So did you grow up thinking Ukraine was part of Russia?

Avery: No, no, I understood the map wasn’t real.


Protas:…and up there is Kamchatka, where there are bears and volcanoes. And not bears like in Alaska or here. Real bears! Huge bears everywhere!


Aldar and Avery on ‘Uncle Chekhov’s’ lap. Note my awkward smile. We met Aldar and Zhenya randomly on the street in Ulan-Ude.

Aldar: Sits on lap of Chekhov statue.Chekhov looks like Santa, I think. Uncle Chekhov, give me something! Make me young again!

Note: the only reason there is a statue of Chekhov in Ulan-Ude is because once Chekhov wrote that Ulan-Ude was a cute city.


Zhenya and his backpack.

Zhenya: This backpack is very helpful! It helps me find people who like travelers when I go to new cities.


Aldar [to Zhenya]: Don’t knock on that window, an angry babushka will come out and hit you and get you…and maybe get your number.

Melody/Avery: Huh?

Aldar [still to Zhenya]: Maybe because you are cute, I think.


Zhenya: Can you get marijuana here? I want to try it here.

Aldar: No! Do not try it here! The police will find you and they will f*ck you.

Us: What??

Aldar: They will, they will, the system will f*ck you.

An ‘ancient Hun village.’

Protas: I looked up the ancient Hun village for you. Short story, it is bullsh*t.

Proceeds to explain that when some Hun ruins were found outside Ulan-Ude, an opportunist applied for government funding to ‘reconstruct’ the Hun village. The charlatan ‘rebuilt’ the village without consulting archaeologists, etc, and then hosted a large opening party. For the party, the man hired local people to show up dressed in a hodgepodge of Mongolian, Buryat, and Chinese attire to pretend to be ‘Huns.’ The man still receives government funding for promoting Ulan-Ude cultural tourism. 


To Melody’s right: cute biracial couple who helped us find our train.

Melody: Are you Russian?

Russian wife: Yes.

Asian husband: [In Russian, something like ‘No, what are you saying?’]

Russian wife: Laughs and clarifies. He is from Mongolia.

Melody: What is your baby’s name?

Wife: Arad.

Husband: Eric.

Avery: What? Two different names?

Both nod and laugh.

Leave a Reply