TT does it 5 times in one day!
Yesterday we managed to get stopped 5 times by the police and today we were stopped twice. Mostly, they just want to see our documents and ask questions about TT. Even though Ants speaks very good Russian, when we get pulled over with that irritating white baton she speaks as much Russian as I do- NONE! Given that the weather has been incredibly English i.e. cold, wet and grey, we are starting to find these all too frequent police stops in the cold a little trying.
We left Yekaterinburg yesterday morning, driving in convey with Rudy and Oleg to the Asia/Europe border. We parked TT with her front end in Europe and her back end in Asia. It gave us a brief moment to reflect on how long we've been tukking and how far we've travelled. We left BKK 9 weeks ago and have travelled 13,000km. Being back in Europe has made us start to think about our arrival back in Brighton and we need to start planning for a big homecoming and work out quite how we are going to raise another 29K for Mind.
Saying goodbye to Rudy and Oleg was really sad and I cried. Even though we'd only known them for 4 days, we'd spent nearly every waking moment with them and become really close. If it wasn't for meeting them, TT would never had got to flirt with those sexy beamers, nor would we have been on the local news and been allowed to speak about our trip and mental health. It was also sad saying goodbye to Ivan, the first friend we made in Yekaterinberg, after we literally kidnapped him to show us where our hotel was.
On friday night Ants and I hit the tiles for ther first time this trip with Rudy and Oleg. They had managed to get us VIP tickets to a funky club in Yekaterinburg called the Snow Project. Ants and I had both been quite tired earlier in the day and had returned to the hotel for a siesta before even contemplating going clubbing. We suprised ourselves by managing to stay up until 6am. The club was full of glammed up young Russina girls and guys dressed in shirts and trousers- basically, everyone looked quite smart and Ants and I turned up in our trainers and T-shirts. We hung out in the VIP area all night, hitting the dancefloor a couple of times to throw down some shapes. Some of the people in the club looked (and acted) like they were high on more than just the music. The music was house, not garage and not uplifting garden shed- why the stupid names for dance music genres I really don't know. There was an English DJ playing that night and so Ants and I were introduced to him once his set had finished- he asked what we were doing in Yekaterinburg and I explained, before thrusting a busines card into his hand and telling him to read our website.
Last night we stayed at a sweet hotel in the middle of rolling hills and pine forests. It was a beautiful setting and we had a BBQ and chatted to a couple of guys visiting from Siberia. They came to our room and chatted for a bit before finally allowing us some sleep at midnight.
Russia has definitely exceeded my expectations and I would suggest that people come and check out areas outside St. Petersberg and Moscow. My only complaints are the Baltic weather and the overly- efficient traffic cops.