Sitting on a seat on the wharf at Yakutz waiting for a bus to take us to the hotel. Was supposed to be here at 9 am but is now expected at 9.30 – or thereabouts!!! Only 11 c  so not really hanging around weather!!!At least the poxy sandflies are still in there beds!!

Bus finally arrived and we went off to the mammoth Museum. Oh joy, collections of labelled bones and some cobbled together skeletons with many fake parts. A good video though on the discovery in 2002 of a complete mammoth , with viscous blood! From that they are trying to clone a mammoth with an Indian elephant.Much excitement in the palentological world and a lot of money has come to the Yakutz University mainly from South Korea.

Next excitement was a visit to the permafrost cave open to the public. Named the Kingdom of Frost was on the outskirts of town . You have to rug up to go in, still  chilly so we only needed to put big capes over our coats plus helmets!!!Not sure why the helmets.

The permafrost goes down 300m in Yakutz, 1.5 k up north where we have just been and where Ms Mammoth was found. There are caves dug out of the snow and all sorts of ice carvings, many based on mythological Yakutian creatures. Quite odd but quite  lovely.

We bounced back to town and now know why the roads are so bad, the permafrost moves!!!Plus six months of snow does not help!!! Same hotel, all good.Most of the passengers from the boat where there as well.

Lunch was in a lovely traditional restaurant, all painted furniture and some woven hangings that were tempting but not luckily for sale.

Lunch itself- well, the salad was  OK but the meat soup was vile, great hunks of beef so tough could not cut them, lumps of taties and carrotts, not much was eaten- served in nice bowls! Next was dumplings, usual boring dumplings, then a whipped cream thing with jam on top. Could have done with a Patricks pie but the sald sustained me till dinner at the hotel. That meal was palatable and I weakened and had dessert!!

Weather improved as the day went on and had a pleasant walk back thru strolling Sunday Yakutians. A few drunks around but harmless. The province is called Yakutia and they refer to that or Russia not Siberia. 

The last two days on the river were very smokey and we heard that there are big peat fires in the north. Our guide darkly said they are often deliberately lit by the Chinese so they can access the wood. Apparently just over the border in China there are endless mills which receive truckload after truckload of wood, some singed! How true it is who knows but suspect it may be.

Off to Khabarovsk in South East Russia, still Siberia but not Yakutia. 

The group is splintering, the blondes are muttering darkly, the waifs and strays just drink vodka, and the teetotallers flutter around the edges. 

Dahlias for Joss

War memorial bronzes

War Memorial

Ghastly apartment blocks

Painted restaurant