There are a couple of things that I forgot to mention about my first few days here in Irkutsk.
One is the babuska in charge at the dorm. She is the complete opposite of the "dorm nazi" in St. Petersburg - always smiling and making me stop to chat with her when I go out for something. Yesterday as I was leaving to go to the university, she stopped me in the hallway and asked me if I had met the American boy. "Which one?" I asked. "The tall, handsome one" was her reply. I have yet to meet this guy but the babushka is pulling out all the stops to play the matchmaker. It's really kind of funny. As I was leaving for the market this morning, she pulled me into her office and made me right down when I was going to be back at the dorm so he can visit. Oh my. I hope he's as good looking as she says he is - or at least nice. I could use some friends at the moment.
While my neighbors are nice, if I had wanted to live with a middle-aged couple I would have done homestay. And they keep all their kitchenware in their room, so it's kind of hard to share. I just went to the "mall" and bought a couple of plates and bowls and forks and stuff. Now I just need one good pot. I think I'll go to the "chinese market" (the street market, where the less materialistic locals go to buy stuff).
Irkutsk isn't quite the middle of nowhere that I imagined it to be. In fact, it's such a booming metropolis that they have a sushi restaurant. Though it looks upscale, the name is rather dubious - "SushiEd's". Hmmm. Maybe I stick with blini for now.
After I managed to screw myself over at the university, I headed home to spend the night lounging around and watching a couple of movies. I bought a copy of "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," but the cover lied and it was only in Russian. It was sort of fun. All in all though, I would have rather read a good book.
I had to change my phone number. Leave it to the Russians to have SIM cards that only work in one city at a time. Anyway, the new number is +79149224298, but thanks to Chris, you can still reach me by calling 254-230-1818 - the call forwarding has been updated.
Okay, I think that's enough for now.
It's going to be difficult for me to load too many new pictures. All the internet cafes that I've found so far have a limit of 6 Mb per hour and you have to pay a lot if you transfer more than that. I'll see if I can find a way around that though.