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

Post 81: Towards Baikal

We spent two nights camped above the beach overlooking the lake. I cooked ‘Ponnini’ that we’d bought from the local market, we ate local smoked fish, smoked sausage and we drank beer and vodka cooled to perfection in the freezing waters of the lake. For forty-eight glorious hours we simply kicked back and generally chilled out. After eight weeks of travelling this first real break felt like absolutely heaven to all of us.

With Rik and myself being absolute ‘City Boys’, Alan was left in charge of campfires but he was still hesitant to ride along the dunes. We all collected firewood during the day and as darkness fell (around midnight), the smoke from the fire would deter any mosquitoes that were still foolish enough to risk contamination from biting three travelling and unwashed bikers. As the local supply of wood became scarce, Rik and I would ride off to further fields in search of new sources. (In Siberia, … you don’t usually need to look far for wood). On one of our ‘Wood Gathering Expeditions’, Rik decided to demonstrate the supremacy of his competition ready BMW over my humble ‘Street Bike Tiger’. I watched with much amusement as Rik entered an area of deep bog and slowed to an embarrassing halt. He pushed, he pulled, he panted and if I had paid more attention at school, … I could probably also confirm that he swore profusely. After an appropriately long yet diplomatic delay, I eventually stifled my laughter, started the Triumph and rode down to help Rik to extract his bike from the silt like mud which was by now slowly swallowing his once infallible machine. For forty-eight hours Rik had been offering his advice on all aspects of our lives in general and motorcycling in particular. I chose this moment to impart a little of my own basic knowledge thus, …… ‘Rik my friend, …. In Siberia if it’s ‘Green & Lush’, ….. it’s not a football pitch, … it’s a bog’, …. I do believe he nodded in agreement.

As we laid the BMW flat and dragged it from the squelching mud, …. we exchanged knowing glances, .. both of us aware that the proud orange Tiger stood above us on firm ground silhouetted against the evenings sun, …. It was indeed a beautiful moment. My revenge however was short lived as my final act of assistance involved standing at the rear of the bike while Rik attempted to ride it out of the mire. Yes, ….. I was covered from head to foot in mud while Rik rode off towards the shallow shore of Lake Baikal to clean his bike, ……. Cheers.

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