Nope! I woke up and my hand had swollen in the night, i now looked like i was wearing one of them foam ones you wear at concerts. But it didnt matter we were on our way to see Lake Baikel today. They say its the biggest, oldest, deepest and cleanest lake in the world, i think maybe one of them facts is true but not sure which. First we had to get there. We found the bus station but getting a ticket wasnt as easy, even with my best Russian i just kept getting shoed away liike some kind of pesky insect. I heard some others speaking English and aproached them, they were having the same problems, before we knew it there were 7 of us all looking for the same bus all being shoed away. I spotted a sign next to some mini vans that had our destination in Russian, everyone followed except for one couple who were sure that they were standing in the right place and wanted to wait for the bus. When we got to the sign a Russian man said he could take us all there fopr 100 rubles each about 2 pound which seemed like a deal since it was 2 hours away. We climbed into his minibus and then the world and his wife piled in including the couple who wanted to wait for their bus. Then we took off, literally, i think Steve said he wished he had a seatbelt at least 3 times before we got out of the first road. A few minutes out of the city and the landscape was beautiful no concrete no ugly shacks just lush forests, streams and mountains, it was very Swiss family Robinson. The driver had obviously seen it all too many times and did his best to turn it into one big green blur as he hurtled along the roads and tried to launch the van off of every hill. We had been talking to the Swedish guys next to us, i say next to us they were practically on our laps, not due to my charm but to the fact that we had more people than seats. One of the guys reached into his rucksack and got out some sandwich bags, I'm always surprised by strangers generosity when travelling and was imagining the delicous home made sandwiches he was about to share with us when i realised he was getting the sandwich bag to puke into. Everyone looked at each other and we all suddenly found some extra room to edge out of splashback range. We all crossed everything, the guy next to me even had his eyes crossed. Two hours later the lake came into view it was huge crystal clear and surrounded by green mountains it was like looking out to the ocean just water as far as you could see. We had made it, im not sure if i was more amazed by the beauty of the place or the fact that i wasnt covered in chunder. Apart from admire the lake, do a boat trip or sunbathe there wasnt that much to do, and it was too cold to sunbathe even if all the fat Russians in budgie smugglers and dental floss bikinis said otherwise. We wandered around the stalls, you know how much i love a bootfair, no ponys this time though just the same bangles and trinkets on every stall and smoked fish everywhere. We decided to walk along the edge of the lake and it started to warm up, there were different things to explore like a giant icebreaker ship that was just left moored to the shore, im not sure you were allowed to climb onto it but i thought it would make a good picture, until it started to creak and i was worried that i might get stuck on an abandoned ship in the middle of the biggest, deepest or whatever this lake actually was. Eventually we came to a really grand hotel on the shore, with flash cars outside and people being waited on in Cabbanas. We decided to walk in and make use of their loungers, it was lovely the sun was shining, they had music playing, and the view was amazing. After about an hour of sunbathing i needed the toilet, i went inside and the staff eyed me suspiciously but i did my best to look like i belonged in my tatty trainers and jeans with holes in them. On my way back to the loungers i noticed an official man in a suit looking angry, he was tallking to the other people on the loungers in Russian, it was obvious they weren't meant to be there either. He got to Steve but Steve was asleep with his sun glasses on, or at least pretending to be, after several attempts at waking Steve the guy moved down to some more people, i ran over got our stuff together and told Steve to scarper so we continued along the lake, but this time with a strut proud with our crime of the century, maybe this is how Bonnie and Clyde started. Eventually it was time to get the bus back, the driver wouldnt let us on the bus but an old lady took pity on me and motioned for me to follow her, she introduced me to a lady that spoke English and arranged for another Minivan to take us back, i never did figure out why foreigners wernt allowed to take the bus, i suspect the cheap travel is reserved for locals. Another evening in Irkutsk and another few hours of wondering, eventually we found a place to eat we had a bowl of noodles and a beer for 20 pound, again i should have eaten my shoe. Its strange there is barely anywhere to eat out here and its so expensive, maybe thats why its such a s*** hole cos all the money they have is spent on eating.