Welcome to Irkutsk

The usual welcoming comittee was here. The homeless (friendly, articulate, not even drunk), the prostitute (cheap, her room is a car, definitely drunk), and the taxi drivers (laughing, unconcerned, wondering where you are going, twirling their keys, hopefully not drunk).Every city is great at dawn. This is similar to my theory that people are at their most beautiful and real when they just wake up. Wandering around Irkutsk just after the sun gave me a new perspective on a place I had always thought was dusty, nasty and dirty.

Of course it is dusty and dirty, once the cars and buses and trucks get up. And my pleasant, if semi-somnolent (my body is still confused), reflections were somewhat marred by the aftermath of the street fight I came across lying on the side of the road. But even so Irkutsk was looking particularly nice this morning.