Geoff – April 3rd
Baikaler Hostel, Irkutsk, RUS
I knew that I was taking a risk when I decided to bring only One Pair of Pants on this trip. Two months, through some cold weather… I thought that it might present some problems. I would have to wear shorts every time I wanted to wash the One Pair of Pants. If I got a stain on them, I would have to wear it until such time that I was able to have at least a few hours to wash and dry them. And maybe I’d even get sick of the One Pair of Pants I was to bring on the trip.
Well, let me just say that washing The Pants won’t be a problem anymore.
Shortly after leaving, I realized that the crotchal area of the pants was already quite compromised. I’ve had these pants for 3+ years already, and they’ve served me well. Unfortunately, the area where the two legs connect has seen a fair bit of stress over those years, and thus was already quite threadbare when this trip began 46+ days ago.
While we were in Mongolia for a few days, we did some physical activity – hiking, riding horses, and riding camels. I think it was while riding camels that “threadbare” transitioned to “rip in my pants”. But that wasn’t the worst of it.
That night, we ate a huuuuuuge meal in our host family’s Ger (Mongolian yurt). At the end, after being offered (and being unable to politely decline) many courses of mutton and potatoes (and Mongolian milk tea, and salad, and vodka), I thought it would be funny to dramatically fall backwards off of my stool onto the floor, and pretend that my belly was about to burst.
Well, my belly didn’t burst, but The Pants did. Luckily, since it was Mongolia in March, I was wearing long johns and thus was spared any serious embarassement. However, I had to wear those long johns until I had a chance to change into shorts – you’ll see why once you get to the pictures below. I wore my holy pants proudly for two days, until we got on the train from Ulan Bator, Mongolia, to Irkutsk, Russia. Once there, I devoted a solid hour to sewing and patching, in order to make the One Pair of Pants wearable once again.
Combining several strips of white hockey tape, and metres of black thread that I purchased at a small market at the Mongolian-Russian border, I manage to restructure the seam in a way that will be 100% guaranteed not to rip again in the last 12 days of our trip.
I’m not saying that it looks good. But it will get the job done. And the sewing job has saved me from having to buy another pair of pants.
Tomorrow, we’re off to check out Lake Baikal (which holds 20% of the world’s unfrozen fresh water!). And the next day, we’re in for a 56-hour train ride to the city of Perm, where we’ll take a side-trip off of the rail line to see Perm-36, an old Soviet-era Gulag. Then, from there, off to St. Petersburg and Moscow for the final 2 stops of the trip (and hopefully a game of the KHL Gagarin Cup Finals in Moscow!)!
As always, thanks for reading and love to you all wherever you might be.