After arriving at the hotel very late and getting some rest, West and Jeff met up with Paul to get some running around done. Here's the update from West:
Getting batteries charged (literally) and records backed up in this truly wonderful hotel. The staff are great and the bar stocks Jack Daniels, so all is well. Amazing showers and we got our laundry done. This should keep the incessant urine smell at bay for at least a few hours. We also got more sunscreen from an abteka and spent an amazingly small amount of rubles for haircuts and beard trimmings. Jeff has perfected his Jacques Cousteau look and is now going for an Earnest Hemingway theme. I'm back to short hair and clean shaven, since Russia finally decided to have summer.
Pavel gave us jackets made of mosquito nets as a gift, as they all report the "moshkies" and "camars" are going to be getting really bad. Moshkies are mosquitos and camars are something like that, but instead of sucking blood they eat our flesh. Oh, the times are a-just getting better.
"Tourist" means quite a different thing here in Russia than in the US. A tourist club is a group of people in a city or region that does activities such as white water paddling, hiking or mountain climbing and enters in competitions across the nation and regions. It has nothing to do with tourism as the US sees tourism. We met this evening with a small group from ВГОО "Клуб Туристов" www.turclub34.ru to talk about the expedition and the Amazon expedition. Marina did most of the translating, though they all did a great job at English. It was a fun evening, exchanging differences and similarities in our cultures and activities.
The wind is howling from the east and we hope it lays down before we depart around mid-day on Sunday. The entire Volga was laced with white caps as we saw it several times from the windy overlooks from out tours through the city. (I've included the wind report here) It looks like it will continue to be tough...