Headaches this morning!! Thank goodness our drive was short only 213 km.! Our new group was waiting for us at Krasnoyarsk, Kenny and Barbie Ross; Bob and Terry McGregor. So we were all in good spirits despite the headaches. Okay, we did move a little slower than usual but only for a couple of hours. We left early at 7:45 a.m. and it definitely felt like fall 13 degrees C. and a little reminder of the apple moonshine of last night. We were all anxious to get moving but Russ and I got locked in our room and at last with all of Russ’ fiddling the whole lock fell out of the door handle with the key! And when Terry took his shower (in the little 1/2 bathtub) the shower head fell off which let the water spray all over the room. So we are pretty sure that this sketchy hotel was just as glad to see us leave as we were to leave it.
As we entered into the city limits of Krasnoyarsk the houses were still the same style as in the little villages. Also the street into the city was paved but all the side roads leading to the houses were unpaved mud or gravel streets with little paths leading up to the doorways of the houses. 900,000 people live in this city! As we got closer to the center we were relieved to see more modern buildings and we actually came upon a 4 lane bridge going each way (that is 8 lanes)!! Up to now all the highways have only been two lanes, one going each way. Many of the buildings we passed as we got closer to our hotel, were unfinished. Our guide told us this was because the builder had run out of money and the power changed from one political party to another which made the construction stop. Almost every city we have been to has a Peace street and a Lenin street, interesting. We were delighted to meet our next group as we checked into the hotel.
That afternoon we all went on a tour of the city’s museum. This was a great museum and we learned alot about Siberia that we did not know previously. Siberia has nine different Aboriginal Tribes. These tribes plus the Mongolians and the Russians have all settled into Siberia. In ancient times the Buryat’s which is the Republic in Siberia closest to Mongolia (I believe they are probably descendants from Mongolia). Anyway there were more girls than boys so parents had to arrange marriages at a very young age for their sons or they may never marry because all the girls would be taken. So by the age of 3 most boys and girls were betrothed to someone. To confirm the arrangement the two families would exchange scarves but the boy’s family would have to pay for the bride. The dowry would be goats, horses, silk or whatever the two families decided. If a family had many sons it would take awhile to raise the dowry for his bride so even though the two were betrothed to marry it sometimes took a long time before the man’s family could pay for the bride. So sometimes the man would be a lot older than the bride. Also if a family had a lot of sons they married them off in order of their birth. (Maybe that is one of the reasons families gave a son to the monastery to be raised as a monk as they had no money for a dowry or was it just because it was an honor to have a monk in the family?) As the Russians started to move into Siberia the Buryat men started marrying Russian women and this ended the custom of dowries being paid for a bride.
A couple of the tribes in Siberia raise and herd reindeer; some hunt and fish; some live in wooden Gers while others live in “Chums” (T-pees). These Chums are made of bark in summer and animal hides in winter. One of the nine Aboriginal Tribes have tattoos on their faces. To make the tattoos they use a needle (or sharp object) to make a pin prick design on the face. Then after they are happy with the design they sew a reindeer tendon or ligament (which has been boiled to make it soft and pliable) in and out through the design. Exposure to the sun makes the reindeer tendon black and viola they have a permanent tattoo on their face. Brilliant really, who would have thought of that!
Another tool we were shown at this museum was used to help in the delivery of babies (human babies). It was a long stick with a knife blade at the top. This tool was used to cut the umbilical cord and each family had one of these important tools. When a baby was born a ribbon was knotted to the bottom of the handle (opposite the blade end). This showed everybody how many babies the woman of the house had delivered (or it may have showed how many chords this tool had cut after all there may have been more than one woman delivering babies in a family).
There was a great exhibit of Shamans which was the first religion of Siberia and Mongolia. The Shamans dressed as animals or birds. Their jackets had lots of fringes along the arms representing bird feathers and their gloves had claws or feathers tied on to them. (Claws represented bears). The faces were always covered by decorated strings dangling from their hats. They wanted their eyes covered because they believed you could reach a person’s soul through their eyes and by covering their eyes it protected their souls from evil spirits.
The most obvious thing we learned by touring this museum was how similar aboriginal people are around the world. These aboriginals in Siberia are very similar to our Native American Indians (First Nations) and Eskimos. Our Aboriginals had T-pees; Siberia’s had chums; Alaska’s have igloos. All first nations hunted and fished; have elders, shamans, and witch-doctors. There music consists of chanting, throat singing and dancing. Aboriginal people are all similar around the world and they all come from the same knowledge and the same roots whether it’s Hawaii, Siberia or North America!
At dinner which was the last night with Gordie, Laverne, Terry and Gillian (Boo Hoo), the girls and the boys entertained our new group and each other by singing songs we wrote about the trip. The girls sang a song to the tune of “We Three Kings Of Orient Are” only of course we were the three queens traveling from Ulan Baatar! The boys actually sang us two songs!! One was to the tune of “The House of the Rising Sun” and the other was to the tune of “We Will Follow You” It was a great night (again!!) and very sad to say good-bye to everyone. We definitely want to adopt “Bubbly” our guide Ksenia. We looked forward to continuing our adventure with Ken, Barb, Bob and Terry. We have also been reunited with Tatiana who was with us through Mongolia and she was brave enough to join up with us again. She will guide us to Moscow.