Wow, now it really seems like I've been gone for a long time. But it's true - 100 blog-posts down, who knows how many to go.
I am officially changing Irkutsk's classification in my book-o-cities. I shall henceforth refer to it as a "thriving metropolis." Why? A number of reasons.
1) I heard a statistic yesterday that said there are 50 car wrecks every day in Irkutsk - which only has a population of 60,000. I believe it, too. Especially since I have now seen what it's like going home during rush hour. What normally takes me 10 minutes took an hour. The marshrutka (mini-bus - sort of like a taxi but for about 15 people) lines are outrageous.
2) Yesterday's visit from the American Ambassador. That was just too cool. If he can handle it, so can you.
3) Subway. No, there is no underground mass-transit as yet (I think that's still a long way off). But, joy-of-joys, I found a Subway restaurant - IN IRKUTSK!!! Of all the stupid American chains to be in the middle of Siberia, I'm glad it's a place where I can "eat fresh." Speaking of which, I haven't eaten all day and that sounds ridiculously good.
I'll tell all about my new schedule and stuff later. Food is far more important (don't you agree, Chris?).