Saturday, June 7, 2014

Cosplay meets Hare Krishna in Irkutsk--6/6-7

Yesterday it rained all day while I made my way back to Irkutsk by bus after bidding Nuttapol, the Phd student from Thailand who also hiked part of the Grand Baikal Trail and stayed at the Belka Hostel.

This bus was cheaper than the mini-bus and inside it smelled of smoked umul fish and leftover booze. It was about an hour bus ride with many stops and filled to capacity.
I made my way from the bus depot past the market buiding to the Baikaler Hostel where I again met up with Flo and Klara who were taking the night train to Ulan Ude and then bus on into Ulanbaatar.
 
 

Today was Irkutsk Day so they had a parade down on the street of our hostel beginning at 2PM that went on for 2 hours. It was really a peoples' and company parade with most people dressed up in some sort of cosplay type outfits except for the Hare Krishnas who wore their normal attaire. They were one of the favorites since they handed out macaroon balls which some people ended up tossing on the ground. They were good though.

One of my favorites were the blue smurfs on rollerblades. The crowd seemed to like them as well.

The next favorite crowd pleaser were the assortment of cosplay characters from the different action games and other places.
 
I ran into these zombies down by the river and posed with them. Good thing none of their body parts fell off while I was with them.

What does the fox say-------

And the mimes say nothing-----

The parade ended up at Kirov Square where people gathered to further celebrate and have their pictures taken with some of the parade participants as well as learn which group took some special honors---I think. Unlike our parades there were no high school or college marching bands, nor military marching---just the fire department along with some of their---hopefully--antique equipment.
 
 
Lots of face painting booths along with strength tests.
This was an enjoyable way to spend my last day---on the ground---in Russia for tonight, June 7th, I board the train that leaves at 10PM for Ulanbaatar, Mongolia with a scheduled arrival on June 9th at 5AM.

 

Here is the Irkutsk Rail station I will be heading to soon.

 

1 comment:

  1. I've read with interest this fascinating journey through Russia. It looks like you are getting a real feel for both the food and the people. The wooden homes remind me of some of the shacks in Kirkland that I used to deliver papers to in the 1950's. The meals look fascinating--thanks for the pictures. It will be fun to see your video. I loved the shots of the parades--these seem to be a real celebration of both the comic and life--lots better than our militarized parades as you pointed out. I found that to be true in Norway as well where the Norwegian's celebrate their national holiday as one devoted to children--it says a lot about values and focus. I head a speech by the former Ambassador to Russia on the current tensions between the U.S. and Russia. He held Putin largely responsible for the tension especially after the Ukrainian elections. He argued that the best way to go forward was for America to keep in contact with the Russian people and culture and at the same time isolate Putin's policy making strategy in hopes that the oligarchy will tire of the economic sanctions. Clearly, you are carrying out the first of McFaul's recommended strategies. We have a Krista Colleague in Mongolia at the capital city--his name is Peter Bittner.His contact info is as follows: American Center for Mongolian Studies
    C/o Peter Bittner
    CPO 695
    Suite 306, Center 34 Building
    Tourist St., Chingeltei District
    Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
    15160
    He is an excellent horseman and has contacts with Mongolian riders--you might be interested in what he can share with you. His e-mail is: pjbitt21@gmail.com
    I hope you can meet him and this doesn't arrive too late for your use. Happy travels. Jim

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