Last Stop in
Russia: Irkutsk...
Example of how oh-so-pretty it is here.
The pretty park benches.
One of the pedestrian streets.
September 25, 2006

I don’t know what exactly I was picturing when coming to this city. All I know is that it was not this.

All I keep asking myself is “Is this really
Siberia???” That word alone tends to conjure up visions of people bundled up in layers of
clothing. Visions of things being a bit colorless and drab. Visions of nothing around for miles and miles (or maybe I should say
‘kilometers and kilometers’ out here).

Let me just point out that all of these ‘visions’ were oh-so-incorrect.

The Russians…as is the case in every other Russian city…are dressed oh-so-stylishly. It is hard to find any females not walking
around in their stiletto-heeled boots. The buildings have a style that reminds me of what I might find in Central Europe in bold,
beautiful colors. There are bench-lined parks with beautiful flowers and fountains. It is beyond meticulously clean here – I do not
think I have yet seen one piece of garbage on the ground. There are several sushi restaurants out here (I know this is a bit of
random information…but who would think in Siberia?). The river out here is actually
blue (as opposed to the mirky brownish rivers
that I am used to seeing in Europe). And, of course, it would not be a Russian city without the presence of the requisite Lenin statue.

Yekaterinaburg does not hold a torch next to this city. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed Yekaterinaburg while I was there. And there
was a lot of Russian history to be learned there. But this is a city that has ‘staying’ appeal. What is ‘staying appeal’, you ask? Well, I
just came up with the term just this moment. I am referring to the fact that you feel like you could live here for a period of time. It
almost feels like a place you could study abroad in (though I have yet to see a university). I guess it just feels that comfortable.   
Back to Russia.