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.
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.
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.
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.
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.