|The petrol station is slightly out of town, a walled compound with a large tank in the centre and a booth on one wall. We pull in and I go to pay, two cars pull in from each entrance and surround the bike the occupants all pile out wearing camouflage gear, loud voices and lots of arm waving, heart in mouth I rush back to Kev but it is ok, all the usual stuff. As we need supplies we head into town. The usual six shop tour ensuses, in one I only find cola to buy so count out my pennies, ‘American’ she says ‘no Anglia’ she is very excited and I eventually realise after lots of furous gabbling and arm waving that she collects coins and wants some from england. I try my hardest to explain we get rid of all small coins as we go along. I am well aware the shooting started from a misunderstanding with the locals and try to keep smiling. The lady grins and hands me a small chcolate wafer, a present. After finally finding bottled water a rare thing in these parts we come to the conclusion it is just like any other town the people are curious and friendly, we leave alive!
The rest of the day goes smoothly we find a camp too many midges but ok.
Stopping in a layby next day we have a picnic at one of the tables. Two lorry drivers turn up we chat, it turns out he too had gone to lake Bikal delivering and had to turn back towards Ulan Ude as there is no other way around the top of the lake, we laugh at the coincidence. They are nice guys and give Kev an orange for the ‘madam’ we share it.
Our camp is late tonight, lack of choice means are we on the edge of a gravel pit which is ok but we usually manage better. We are woken in early hours by gunshots, a reminder that we are in the hunting, shooting, fishing region. A fact that stood out at one of our lunch stops by the bullet holes in the steel building surrounding the toilet. I hope no one was in it at the time and it was just target practice. Although I dred to think what they are trying to kill with the enormous size of rounds they were using.
We decide today to only travel till lunch and find a camp as both feel like we are coming down with a cold.