Discovering the world on $20 per day ......................

Post 78: Irkutsk

It was almost eight in the evening when we enter the city of Irkutsk and just beginning to rain. The black clouds and lightening had been following us for the last few hundred miles and our fortune with good weather had finally come to an end. We’d been away from the Internet for ten days and our plan was to use ‘Lonely Planet’ to find a cheap hostel for the night, spend the next day arranging a Mongolian Visa for Rick before heading out to Lake Baikal for a few days ‘R&R’. Poor Circulation had reached Irkutsk in one piece, two weeks ahead of schedule and a few shillings under budget.

I spend most of my life riding in and around London, often in bad weather, …. but nothing will ever prepare you for riding through Irkutsk in the rain. To add to this challenge, … my bike is cutting-out every few meters, refusing to start and generally trying to throw me overboard at every opportunity, … and this I can tell you is not even close to being ‘fun’. Using a sketch map of the city we eventually find the first hotel but they insist that our Russian Visa’s are not ‘in order’ and refuse to let us stay. It’s more likely that they simply objected to having three dirty wet bikers soiling their premises, ……. and to be truthful I can hardly blame them. We found the second hotel but unfortunately the only available room was far too small for three and the price too high for the Poor Circulation budget. We were standing on the pavement in the rain and discussing our limited options when a car pulled alongside us, …. ‘can we help you?’

A young couple who spoke English were rapidly on their telephones and within thirty minutes were leading us to a hotel in the ‘Business District’ of Irkutsk. We were warned that this hotel charged by the hour, … we were not to leave the hotel after dark and that it might well be a little ‘noisy’ during the nigh. Yes, … we are currently holed up in the finest budget brothel that Irkutsk has to offer, ….. but at less than £20 per night for three beds, secure parking for the bikes and hot radiators on which to dry our laundry, ….. it’s almost perfect.

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