Jenny arrived at Novosibirsk early in the morning. I left her sleeping off the jetlag for most of the day and continued with the equipment inventory. Oleg showed up after lunch and we then headed over to our storeman Vladimir, where we collected the last of our gear and transferred everything over to the Azimut hotel. Finally, everything is now in one place.
One thing that Biosphere Expedition does is create scholarships and placements for local people wherever possible. The Altai expedition is no exception and we conducted interviews throughout the morning and finally settled on three winners: Ivan, Elena and Evgenia who will be with us for groups 3, 4 and 5 respectively; they all displayed great interest in conservation and biology, their English was good and their keenness inspiring. Welcome to the team.
After the past 34 C days, rain finally arrived and brought some relief to Novosibirsk. We went out for bit of walk and headed up to the main square, where a public concert was being held. After asking lots of people for days what this public holiday was for, we found out that it is “Russia Day”. Apparently it’s a brand new holiday Mr Putin awarded his fellow Russians for their votes. I think they were as baffled as we were.
We then carried on with our preparations, unpacking cars (see picture), Jenny pouring over Google Earth and me, as usual, playing with the equipment and Land Rovers. I think they too now have itchy wheels and cannot wait to hit the road for the mountains and fresh air.
Update from our snow leopard conservation expedition to the high mountains of the Altai Republic in Central Asia