If you want to get an impression of the “real” Russian people, one way is to take the bus – particularly for long distances. The bus can be interesting. The seats are not what you might call comfortable, or clean – although they are cushioned – and even though you are traveling for 5 hours or more, there is no bathroom on the bus. This is okay, though, because the bus stops frequently, about every hour, either to make a scheduled stop or, in our case, if there was no scheduled stop within an hour, then our driver just pulled over on the side of the road, and as if on cue, all the men piled out of the bus to have a cigarette. (Outside of
I arrived in Lazo at about 11 pm and was directed to the zapovednik headquarters, where the night guard let me in to the room where I would be staying – a super nice single, complete with a TV and mini-fridge, for which the zapovednik director charged me only $8 a day, although it usually goes for about $25. There were no other guests at this time of year, though. Tomorrow I would spend the day at the zapovednik headquarters, meeting staff and touring the museum, visitor’s center and library; on Thursday I would head out for a day trip into the zapovednik, and on Friday I would get to attend an annual conference for local children.
Picture: My room in the Lazovsky Zapovednik headquarters building in the town of