A dramatic start to today! A fire in the galley. More serious than Dennis burning the porridge! The cooker has periodically played up after being refuelled, but this morning it burst into uncontrollable flames. So serious, the fire extinguisher had to be deployed. The towel and tea towel, which were hanging next to the cooker suffered badly, as more annoyingly did the mosquito netting covering the overhead vent. It’s plastic and melted, so now has a large hole. Not ideal in this part of Russia which seems to be mosquito paradise. I suggested we might try and patch it up by cutting up a pair of tights. This evening we have carried out the repair. It doesn’t look pretty, but it means we can have the vent open and not have the mossies coming in to feast on us. Fortunately we have a back up cooking system. The two small gas cookers we use when we are on cycling trips. They are efficient, for their size, and we have plenty of gas cylinders. So, we won’t starve.
After we had cleaned up the galley the best we could, we rushed to get the Caranex down, as rain threatened. On the road into Chita by 0810, or 0910, we’re not sure whether or not we have lost another hour. Just before we arrived in the city a young policeman waived us down. We said a very cheery “Good Morning” to him and replied in the same manner, in English. He asked for our passports with the perennial question “Where you from?” We told him and he flicked through our passports and handed them back with a smiley “Goodbye”. I’m sure he just wanted to practice his English!
In Chita we found a strong Wifi signal so stopped to update the blog and do some correspondence. A pack of pretty wild looking dogs was chasing up and down the street, mostly Alsatians. I was glad we had the protection of being in the Land Rover. Chita has its fair share of belching chimneys and decaying infrastructure. It felt quite positive though and we found a modern shopping mall where we tried, unsuccessfully, to locate some mosquito netting to repair the burned vent. More fuel and then back on the road and heading towards Khabarovsk. Dauntingly over 2000ks. It is a good road, however, so we should make better progress than yesterday.
We have covered just over 400ks, so that’s a start. Tonight we are camped high up from the road over looking a quarry lake with a village in the distance. Camping places are not easy to find. Yesterday was mainly boggy tundra. Today has been either thick pine forests or very open grassland, both very hilly. A railway line in the distance though, so it may not be very peaceful.