Monday, February 8, 2010

Siberia 8th Stop : Back to Ulan Ude

Ulan Ude
The ride back to Ulan Ude was bearable.The same hotel took us back in.Just a day or 2 left to check out the city.Woke up bright and early to head to the temple to watch the buddhist service.Having lived in singapore and going to temples all the time when on vacation to China...temples were not exactly the most interesting thing to me.But the temples here....are different.I was told that it is similar to tibetan buddhism.Met some thais at the temple.They made their way over to check out the Buddhism scene in russia.

The service ....was....condusive for sleeping.The chanting ,smell and warmth in there with the early morning stint saw a few of us nodding off into slumberland.I found water from Arshan being sold here!Can you believe it...enterprising monks.
On the temple grounds, i was firstly mistaken to be a Russian ,secondly ,mistaken to be a person who had a religion.But they sure did seem surprised to find a singaporean the middle of siberia.

Selma got tired of temples after that early morning call,so Therese and I headed off to see the Big Golden Buddha at the top of a hill which gave a good viewing point of Ulan Ude.There were plenty of trees with ribbons tied on the branches.A tranquil feeling up there.But still..a temple and a buddha with an ang mo monk.Yes.I'm not used to seeing buddhist monks who are white.

We caught sight of some celebrations as we walked around the city.It was a day where teens do community service and go around picking up rubbish.some kids from the uniform group put up a performance at one of the city squares.At the same time , a wedding photoshoot was in the background.That came out in the news that night.It's cool to know that I was at that very spot at that very time when they were filming it for the news.

dinner was at a chinese restaurant in a quiet dodgy area, which served NO RICE.And a mantou that tasted like rock.Can you believe it?If i hadn't known what man tou tasted like , i would have eaten it believing that it was that hard.And that was Selma's and Therese's birthday treat for me.Sweet.Except for eating chinese food....without the rice part.

checked out the Ethnographic Musuem the next day.A short taxi ride away.There is a bus going to Museum but we weren't sure which one to take and where to stop.The bus stops at the main road and you'll have to walk about 600m in before you see the museum.Tons of wooden houses and churhes with amazingly small doors.Were people that short in the past?Some yurts in there serving poezis/mantis ( da long baos )There was a zoo within the compunds as well.Very painful sight of hungry tigers either lying on the grounds looking sedated/dead or bears jumping and licking the cages to beg people for food.And people were not feeding them fish.They were feeding them sweets and crackers.

There was a temple along the way back to the city centre of Ulan Ude which we walked to.Took us nearly half an hour to 45 minutes.There were tons of flags tied to huge wooden poles , all wishes that the locals made tied to them.Here i met a woman in her 40ties, drunk and asking for money.and saying something about her husband leaving her.I had to scramble away for fear of being hurt.The first drunk woman i have met in Siberia.

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