>> People >> Andre and Slava

  Andre Sultashov and Vladislav Soldatov

Yakutsk was home to us for 6 days while we tidied up various inconsistencies with our  bikes and Matt attempted to no avail, to find a rear replacement tire due to the ever increasing wound in the current tire.

What can only be described as our hosts during this time were two taxi drivers who had stopped to help during the initial search for a hotel when we first arrived.   For the entire week these two young enterprising native Yakutskians provided companionship, entertainment and acted as tour guides as well as assisting us in locating all the things that we were in search of.

Slava, Andrey and Henning relax beside the Lena River
Henning, Andre and Slava relax on the
bank of the River Lena

Both were born and grew up in Yakutsk and being natives are keenly interested and involved in their indigenous traditions while at the same time listening to hip hop as loud as they can in the car and wearing the latest american fashions.

Incorporating a fascinating energy,  Andre was the personality of the two.   He is only 21 years old but is worldly beyond his years.  This could be due to the fact that he has been very happily married for 2 years to his beautiful wife Marina. 

Russian schools are not named like I am used to, and Andre attended High School number 14.  Andre now works full time as a taxi driver and his ambition in life is to build his own home - a rare and expensive aim in this part of the world but a worthy one.  He likes cars so much that his career aim is to one day open up his own shop - maybe a car dealership.   At the moment Andrey makes a small business from buying second hand Japanese cars down in Vladivostok and driving the 3,000km dusty roads back to Yakutsk where he sells them for a small profit. 

While a quiet personality, Vladislav (Slava for short) had plenty to contribute to the conversation with always a thoughtful comment or two.  He graced high school Number 31, and makes the time outside of his daily taxi job to attend the Yakutsk technical institute where he is in his final year of a automotive engineering course.  Of the two, Slava has traveled further and has fine memories of his time in the Black sea - a popular Russian vacation spot.   While also dreaming of becoming a rally car driver, he continues his studies with the aim to someday open his own garage where he can work on cars to his hearts desire.  Slava is also looking for that special somebody and wants 3 children to help complete his life.

When asked what they enjoyed the most out of their childhoods, both Andre and Slava quickly replied that the visits to their grandparents in the countryside was the best memories.  Keen proponents of nature they would both tell me of the animals and natural beauties they saw, with Andres grandfather giving him a horse and saying "with a horse you can see the world".

It was a true pleasure, not only two have the assistance of the two, but just to enjoy their remarkable energy, intelligence and good company.   I'll continue to be in touch with the both of them and help them where I can, but I'm sure I'll never be able to repay the kindness they showed us during our stay.

Thanks guys.