Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Day 38 Tuesday 5th August Irkutsk Russia

Last night we all indulged in good food and beer in the bar at the hotel in the centre of Irkutsk. The bar was called "The London Pub" and served Newcastle Brown ale as one of the beer options. We didn't indulge in that beer but started on one that was 7% alcohol!!

Food was good servings and delicious. Needless to say we had a slow start to the day the following morning.

Breakfast was traditional UK type breakfast with cereals, fruit etc. and then fried hot food. Like home from home!!

Geoff went to the bank to change money and after collecting dollars from everyone in different denominations and in varied states of crumpledness he went to the bank and said to the cashier he wanted to exchange this foreign currency and thought there was $1970. She put it straight into a counting machine, and it wizzed through and said $1970, very impressive.

We then set off in search of front tyres and a motorcycle shop. Geoff tried to contact the person who supposedly had the tyres and seemed to keep failing to make contact. Eventually we worked out that his phone was not working with the new Russian sim-card and he had also been trying to contact the wrong person. Denis Panferov eventually texted him back from Austria saying he can't help and to deal with the local contacts.

We tried a number of motorcycle outlets without much success looking for a new chain for Geoff's bike and tyres. We were eventually directed to the Kawasaki centre where we purchased oil for the bike services, a new chain (7500rbl) and a new battery for Paul's bike, but they didn't have two so we didn't get a replacement for Geoff's bike. Whilst we were at the Kawasaki centre we asked about bear spray and above the Kawasaki centre there was shooting and hunting centre. We thought we half struck lucky, but these people couldn't supply bear spray!!

We then stopped at a Continental tyre service centre and they arranged to get four front tyres (Shinto) to be delivered tomorrow.

We returned to the place where we thought the address was for the tyres we had ordered, went to a cafe for lunch, and then went searching for building 5 at 18 Trakotova Ulitsa. No luck until we stopped at a warehouse area and someone eventually twigged what we were after and took Geoff in his van about half a kilometre down the road to a motorcycle outlet place.

Geoff thought he had met Vladimir Zarabin our contact but it was just another person called Vladimir ! He wondered why he was getting a fairly cool reception from this chap!

However he took us to an adjacent shop and there waiting for us were four rear tyres!! Vladimir Zarabin was on vacation and had left a message with Axel the shop owner!!

When we returned to the bikes, there were two adventure motorcycles parked outside the motorcycle outlet. We introduced ourselves to the two bikers and spent some time talking to them. One was called Olga and lived in Istanbul. His bike was supplied free of charge by KTM. His riding partner was called Luka and was from Switzerland. Both were heading for Magadan and were envious that we were going to attempt the infamous BAM Road.

Over the evening meal we studied the map trying to decide which way to get from Irkutsk up to the top of Lake Baikal. There are no roads marked, only tracks and there are many enormous rivers (The Lena as an example) that may or may not have bridges. The general consensus was to set off and trust in our luck!

Geoff had also arranged to have four air filters delivered to Vladimir Zaradin at this address, but they had not arrived, and we had no details of when they were likely to arrive!!

We bought the tyres, another battery for Geoff's bike and another chain (3000rbls) of good Japanese quality.

Geoff then left the others to return to the Kawasaki centre to hand back the chain we had already bought and get our money back. This, he did successfully but on the way in rush hour traffic he needed to turn right across traffic and tram lines. He set off and the knobbly tyres gripped the tram lines and Geoff went left but the front wheel just carried on along the tram lines. Result was the bike was "gently laid down" a euphemism for dropped right in the middle of Russian traffic jam. He turned off the petrol and just stood there with his hands in the air gesturing for some help. A passing car stopped and we had the bike up and away. This brings Geoff's count to 10 bike down incidents
The good news is we got our money back for the Kawasaki chain.

Geoff then started to investigate why his Beeline phone was not working as he expected. Some progress was made, but the problem still needs to be resolved tomorrow morning!

Eventually contacted the company from whom Geoff had ordered four air filters. They supplied a tea king number with Royal Mail air freight service. Went onto internet and looked up the tracking details and it just says parcel is with the Russian postal federation it gives no details of expected delivery.
If it hasn't arrived tomorrow by 4pm we will have to leave Irkutsk and we will give them to Axel as a gift from the UK??

Turkish and Swiss bikers Olga and Luka

Air Filters delivery?

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1 comment:

  1. I am enjoying reading about your inspiring adventure Rooskiriders. Well done. Looking forward to more. Best wishes. j (Derby UK)