Day 158 – 165 (Part 1)....lots more to come as I’ve been unable to post!!
Day 159 saw me out and about in Novosibirsk again, generally wandering around and taking in the sights. I did have a late lunch at a Restaurant called ‘Biblioteka’, which is owned by a lady called Natalia. She is a very interesting lady who has worked in the Restaurant trade for a number of year in various locations worldwide, and has now returned to Siberia and started her own place, which is where I was eating. She had organised a nice surprise for me, in that she allowed me to make my own ice cream using liquid nitrogen, which was a great experience (see video), thanks Natalia.
I had organised to move down to a location called ‘Sheregesh’, which was about 700km south of Novosibirsk, and had arranged an overnight bus to get me there. Well that was an experience! It was your normal everyday coach and I was sat next to a guy who should also have paid for half of my seat, because he certainly occupied it along with his own! Most of you will not know this, but I suffer from ‘Disco Leg’ (restless leg syndrome), whenever I try to go to sleep sitting up. It makes long trips on any form of transport a complete pain in the arse, as I normally arrive completely knackered. Basically within about a minute of nodding off to sleep my legs go into spasm and it wakes me up (feels very weird).
Now I may be wrong but I think the large chap occupying half of my seat, may have suffered from ‘Disco arm’, as he would jerk awake with his left arm shooting up in the air. It seems our strange individual quirks fell into sync with each other, as, when I fell asleep, my leg would go into breakdance mode waking me up which then immediately triggered fat bloke into some ‘Night Fever’ disco moves with his left arm….this must have looked blood strange to anyone sat near us and I know for a fact I heard a few giggles after a couple of our ‘Grease the Musical’ routines!
After 12 hours of dancing, we arrived in Sheregesh, which is a very small town hidden in the depth of Siberia. I had booked a hostel for a couple of days and was very much looking forward to some sleep but, as has happened many times during this trip, the place I had booked was not at the location its shown on its webpage, and no one was answering the phone or replying to texts or e mails. I wandered aimlessly for a while and ended up back at the point the hostel was shown on google maps, just to check if it had materialised in the 15 minutes since I had last been there. I saw a guy stood outside and approached him and showed him the e mail confirmation I had for the booking. He tried to call the hostel for me but also had no joy. Then (again as so often has happened), the guy signalled to follow him, walked inside the building that was supposed to be the hostel, and showed me a double ensuite room that was part of the small hotel he was manager of! He said it would be about £1.20 per night more than the hostel I had booked, so I said “yes thank you very much please thank you please”. I dropped my kit, hit the sack and woke up 8 hours later with a bladder that was pushing my eyes out of my ears.
It turns out that Sergi (the hotel manager), was just a goddam excellent bloke. Not only did he sort me a place to kip, the next day he set about trying to solve the problem of getting me to the Gornaya Shoria Megaliths, which I had basically dragged my arse half way round the world to see.
This proved to be an extremely difficult task, as the information of the exact locations of the megaliths is both sparse and conflicting. However Sergi called Physics professors, archaeologists, local guides and anyone he could think of, in an attempt to get the exact co-ordinates. The trouble is …..is that it’s a massive area and there are very many similar formations all over that particular region, so trying to identify which one was the place I wanted, from the grainy videos on ‘YouTube’ was very difficult.
Sergie found a local guide called ‘Nikita’ (“oh Nikita is it cold…in your little corner of the world etc”), and he explained that he could take me to a couple of places nearby which maybe what I was looking for, so it was organised for a couple of days trekking to visit these locations.
The next day we set off into the hills, along with a family, in order to check the first location. It was a great days walking and really allowed me to view and get a feeling for the area that is known as ‘Gornaya Shoria’….and it really is huge!!. I could see that there were many hilltop features that had similar characteristics to the location I’m looking for and this obviously leads to the thinking that, purely on the numbers game, they must be natural formations??
The first day was great but the location did not have as many of the ‘straight line, 90 degree angles’ that had made me sit up and take notice in the first place, when seen on YouTube. Nikita was excellent and did some of his own investigative work and felt that the site from a previous expedition could be considerably north of our current site, but could not say definitively?. We made a plan for a second day on the hills and pushed towards a location we could clearly see from atop the first days objective.
The second days walking was equally as enjoyable and bought me to a location that had many similar features of the place I was looking for. It was very interesting to look around and I will write a separate piece about the whole Gornaya Shoria location and megaliths. I will say that I cannot disprove the ‘null hypothesis’, that they are anything other than natural formations, but I do have to say that EVERY time I looked at the structures I could picture them as the ruins of a VERY VERY ancient structure, of which the original shape and purpose has been forever lost to the ravages of time. This fanciful thinking however, has no place in a decision making process based purely on palpable fact.
In Order to try and ascertain if this site, and others within the Gornaya Shoria region, were something other than geological features, would take a sizeable and well equipped expedition which could analyse rock samples, deploy ground penetrating radar, produce detailed and accurate maps and compare data from almost every location in that vast area. And a very basic starter would be knowing the exact location of previously considered locations
It was with this thought in mind and also a question from Nikita that lead to me considering my plans for the week. My original plan was to spend the week in search of the Gornaya Megaliths I had seen on many videos (see YouTube video attached), but with it being such a vast area, the chances of finding it were limited. Nikita was not available every day and he asked my what I was going to do for the 5 days that I would have to kill before heading back to Novosibirsk. This thought combined with my inability to rustle up a well stocked and funded expedition in those 5 days, lead to a radical change of plan!