Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Musings from Siberia

The following is a page from the travel journal I tried to keep in Russia. I wasn't very successful because the trip was demanding and usually at the end of a long day I just crashed.
"Here in wonderful, wild Siberia. Had dinner last night in the apartment of a noted and recently deceased artist. It was filled with colorful paintings and had a view to Lake Baikal and the snow-capped mountains beyond. Just below the apartment building many small boats are anchored in a marina on the river.
"My room in (a different) house looks out on the Angara River also, but across empty fields. The Angara is the only river that flows out of Lake Baikal, we learned. There is a small guard house just below my window."
So you don't get the wrong idea, the guard was hired to keep intruders out, not to keep people in. It wasn't THAT kind of visit to Siberia. In fact, I have not heard of any tours of the gulag in Siberia. If there are tours of slums in Brazil and South Africa, and of Nazi concentration camps, can gulag tours be far behind? There's a possible entrepreneurial opportunity.
In fact, we heard very little about the gulag on our Siberian tour--perhaps it is all too recent in the memory of locals. Understandably, they want to emphasize the positive aspects of this vast, mysterious region. Below is the view from my room toward the Angara River.


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