Krasnoyarsk, Russia

Cedar trees are abundant in the taiga. Russians boil the cones and then eat the tasty 'cedar nuts' inside.

22-year-old Tatiana and Elena, 20

This isolated camp house was our home for a night in the taiga. Upstairs is a small room where we slept on the floor. Below, there is a sleeping platform that takes up half the room leaving the other half for a long table where we ate our meals. We cooked shashlyk, fish soup and boiled water on the cooker outside. We chopped wood to feed the cooker as well as the wood stove inside the house.

Every Russian country house must have a sauna. Heated by a wood stove, this one was the biggest, nicest and hottest one Jim or I had ever used. The Russians that were with us sat in the sauna and then immersed themselves in the frosty waters of Big Bear Lake before heading back into the heat of the sauna.

Big Bear Lake, located in the midst of the taiga, was our water source for washing, cooking and drinking during out overnight stay in a wooden camp house on its bank.

14 August 1999 – (See notes from yesterday for context.) Twenty-year-old Ilena is Sergei Ivanovich and Natasha’s daughter, who is studying law, lives at home and thinks Russian women work harder than men. In Ilena’s law school group, there are 25 women and 120 men. She aspires to be an “advocate” for people, but thinks smart, educated women have a difficult time finding men “who suit them, since most men do not want a woman who is as accomplished”.

Tatiana, 22 and a recent English and German major from the local university, told me she pays 400 rubles (US$16) per month for her flat, which has one room with heat and water included. She said doctors and professors make only 600 rubles (US$24) per month while lawyers make 5000 rubles ($200). Tatiana described New Russians as, “mostly young men with buzz haircuts, driving expensive, new cars, building large brick homes, who made their money illegally initially, but now legitimately.” Fond of bars, even though she does not drink alcohol, Tatiana likes music, classical novels and harbors no interest in politics. Flatly, she told me, “It is difficult to follow politics in Russia when the Prime Minister is ousted every three months.”


  Helicopter over Bear Lake
  The trip and overnight stay at Bear Mountain in the taiga (Paige)
  Dinner with Tatiana at a Serbian owned restaurant, Balkan Grill (Paige)
  Trip to Altay Mountains and Bear Lake (Jim)