We have been in Ulan Ude for two days now, and we lke it better than Irkutsk. There are a lot of native Buriat people here. We feel like we are really in Asia! Yesterday, we walked around the city and tried some KBAC (kvas in english). It is brewed from old bread. It is dark in color like dark apple cider, and it tastes like apples and raisins and is a little sweet. Today we went to the big Buddist temple (the native people here are Buddist). It was very colorful. We also got some prayer flags that they hang up on the trees. The monk put our names on it.
Also, in Ulan Ude, there is the largest sculpted head statue in the world, and it is of Lenin. He is in the middle of Soviet Square, which is two minutes from our hostel! His head is really really big! It is about as big as a bus, if you made a bus round into a head shape!
Tomarrow we are leaving with the GBT to Ust Barguzin, and then starting our hike through the mountains to Lake Baikal.