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This morning we continued our long train ride headed for Moscow, a place closer to New York than Vladivostok where the trans-Siberian railway begins for people heading West. The scenery changes little in the thousands of kilometers we've traveled thus far. By now we're in Western Siberia, a slightly warmer region than Eastern Siberia, and therefore trees like the spruce appear alongside the larch and birch. We see people cutting grass with scythes instead of lawn mowers, laying down the grass to dry in the sun and gathering hay to keep for livestock in winter. The people live in log cabins with blue or green shutters and tin roofs. Wells and outhouses show us that many homes here have no plumbing. At midday we reach the largest city in Siberia, Ekaterinburg, population 1.5 million, a city opened to foreigners only 10 years ago. Our hosts, Alexander and Deanna, offer great Russian hospitality in their modest apartment tucked behind an iron grate door in one of the concrete highrises that single-minded Communist architects built for utility rather than beauty.
Jill gets a Russian language lesson - she still can't say zdravstvuitye (hello). The young girl thinks we're soo uncultured because we don't speak Russian.
At each stop the village women sell berries, meat dumplings, small cakes, and pine cones. Pine nuts are good but your fingers get sappy.
These tin shacks are garages for the apartment complex behind. (The Communists weren't fans of underground parking).