Monday, October 01, 2007

This Ain't Carnival Cruise Lines or How I Spent Another Yakutian Weekend.

*Note this post is excerpted from Dnevnik: The Paper Journal of Abigail Faust All rights reserved.

28th September [Friday]

I love how plans change in [Yakutsk] and I'm not being sarcastic. It seriously Amuses me. Here's what I was planning on doing this weekend: Tomorrow not much of anything except possibly some shopping. Sunday I was going to do a bunch of running around. Here's what I'm actually doing this weekend: Taking a two day boat cruise to see the Lena Pillars with some random person who teaches english who I've never met. It's okay though, Rotary prepared me for hanging out and spending time with and even sharing a room and bed with someone I don't really know so it's all good.

Later 21:24

So I came home after Russian, had tea and then Raisa and I left for the port. K...I forget her name, the teacher, said she'd meet us at the port. (*Note* At the end of the trip I remembered her name was Kunai so In the rest of this post, she will be referred to by her name.)We came to the ship after a short drive. Raisa helped me get the key to my room and set my stuff in the room and then we stood around with some of Raisa's co-workers and some worker guy waiting for Kunai...The ship pulled out at about 7 I think. Basically I got aquainted with my "friend" for the trip and we sat around looking at pictures of Yakutsk and Yakutia in books and talked before dinner. Dinner itself wasn't spectacular but it was decent enough. I liked the main entree, didn't care for the salad. Now I'm enjoying some alone time. I think in about half an hour there might be a movie in the кинозал (movie hall) but I'm not entirely sure. What I really want is to go to the top deck and see if I can see the stars. I haven't seen them in so long!

29 September

...The Pillars are outside my window. We are passing them as I write. I didn't realize that they go on for what seems like miles. I sat on the middle deck watching them go by for the longest time, but I finally caved to the cold and came into my warm room.

So there I was, sitting there watching these huge franite formations go by, aching from the raw beauty of it, wishing I could share it with the people back home, but as mom reminded me we are all alone inside ourselves, and I don't care what John Donne syas, she's right. [No offense]I would not trade the experiences I've had in this country for anything.

Yeah, it's a little depressing that pictures don't do this land justice and the only other thing I have is feeble words, but maybe that's okay.

I did some praying up on the deck, thanking God for stopping the rain this morning, tanking him a thousand times that I'm in this place and can see the beauty that his hands created. I mean the nature outside my window, yes. But I mean more than that too. I mean what I've seen so far of this country. I feel like dancing with joy...

Later 15:42

My idea of hell is one long staircase that you have to keep climbing and climbing for all eternity. Doesn't sound that bad? Try climbing a really long staircase. It's pretty bad. If you want the staircase to look like pie, try going down steep shale covered trails. You do that and you'll be like me saying лесница моя подруга! the staircase is my friend!

...I went with a group of Kunai's former students [To the top]. The boat docked and I went with this group of three girls and a guy onto the rocky beach...We walked around and took some pictures and then it was time to actually climb up one of the pillars which I was pretty excited about. Sasha, the guy, decided to go on a path that wasn't technically a path and we girls decided to follow the "real" path. It was seriously a lovely walk. At first. All pretty trees and rocks, and pillars of stone. Then we started the actual ascent. I think that in America if there was an ascent that steep, they'd put a slowly increasing zig-zag path. But do the Russians? Not really. There was basically this hugely long staircase that went straight up.

Okay so it wasn't vertical vertical, but it was pretty bad. I worked up a sweat on that one, let me tell you what. So we go through this grueling but preey climb and then we reach the top of the pillars and there's a beautiful iew of the river and other pillars. We walked around and took pictures in several different spots. Sasha met us at the top (we beat him). We stood and looked at the beauty of it and took loads more pictures. Then we decided to go back down, but not the way we had come. We decided to go down the way Sasha had come up. Now that was scary.

Other than exchange, it was probably the hardest thing I've done. I[t] was steep and covered with loose gravel and I kept loosing my footing. Very, very, scary. There was this one place that was particularly steep. I'm coming closer and closer to it and thinking "HOw am I ever going to make it over this?" And then came my life lesson. One of the girls, Anna, waited for me, took my hand, and led me over the particularly steep part. She basically was an anchor to keep me from falling or sliding. While she was helping me, I just kept thinking "God, it's pretty cool that even at a time like this, you're reminding me you're there."

The whole Lena pillars experience was awesome, like a lot of the experiences I have in this country...

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