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Пекин - Париж 1907: От Омска до Кургана



15. От Омска до Урала

Мы пересекаем реку Иртыш на большом просторном плоту, который буксирует тягач.
Река чрезвычайно широкая и, включая посадку, нам требуется более получаса, чтобы пересечь ее.
Начнем с того, что мы пойдем неправильным путем, следуя по пути вдоль Транссибирской железнодорожной линии; но по отличному земному краю.
На карте мы видели, что нам нужно пересечь железнодорожную линию примерно через 50 километров. Это будет знак того, что мы едем по верному пути.
К сожалению, произошел серьезный инцидент. Степная трава стала очень сухой из-за сильной жары, и внезапно мы попали в район с большим степным пожаром, вызванным, вероятно, искрами от локомотивов. Повсюду, слева и справа, трава медленно и тихо горит и дымится, без ветра.
Мы не могли рисковать, ведь на каждой машине было по 100 литров бензина. Поэтому мы отправились на разведку местности, и Бизак вернулся, заметив участок, где огонь ограничен. Используя наши лопаты и кирки, мы сделали узкий проход, поднимая траву и засыпая ее землей и песком. После этого мы смогли продолжить.

Еще через 60 верст у нас будет пикник в тени двух больших берез. (фото) День продолжился без происшествий.


Один очень заинтересованный русский слез с коня и стал по-русски спрашивать о чем-то Коллиньона. Тот отвечал русскому на французском языке; тем не менее, они, кажется, понимают друг друга. Приблизившись я услышал, как русские повторяют слово "лохади", указывая на капот автомобиля. Он спрашивает про лошадь!!


В деревне мы входим во двор, чтобы набрать воды из колодца. Я видел подобные колодцы в Румынии два года назад.


Слегка заблудившись накануне вечером и переночевав в неприятной Земской в Мидинсканской, в пятницу 26 июля мы добираемся до Петропавловска, небольшого городка с дружелюбными, приятными и отзывчивыми людьми. Среди других почтальон и полицейский оказали нам особое гостеприимство.

Наш следующий крупный город - Курган, примерно в 280 километрах, и поскольку мы уже не на главной Сибирской дороге, у нас есть выбор из четырех дорог.

Увы! На следующее утро мы обнаруживаем, что мы оставили хорошую степную почву позади и теперь находимся в районе, где почва такая же тяжелая, как в Нормандии. Мы скользим как на коньках и не добиваемся прогресса.
Половина одиннадцатого: мы в Кургане, въехав в город по мосту, который находится в тревожно плохом состоянии, даже если полиция укрепила его для нас.

Остановка для телеграмм, обеда и заправки топливом. В четыре часа мы тронулись в путь, а до следующей остановки, едва ли за 40 верст, - восемь вечера.
Утром в воскресенье, 28 июля, Коллиньон, проснувшись, был рад обнаружить, что зуд, который он страдал в течение последних нескольких дней, на самом деле не был вызван болезнью кожи, которую он беспокоился о том, чтобы принести домой. Он был просто покрыт....Я должен это сказать.... покрытый блохами, которые удобно разместились в фланелевом поясе, который он носил.
Сначала нам хотелось выбежать из комнаты, в которой мы спали. Какая от этого польза? Прожив вместе так долго, мы, скорее всего, все равно были в одном и том же состоянии.

Пейзаж становится все более живописным. Этот регион покрыт лесом, а деревни расположены очень близко друг к другу.

Долгое время мы следуем по небольшой речке, массе, которая вьется среди зелени, проходя по пути множество маленьких деревушек.
Поля интенсивно возделываются: овес, пшеница и рожь плодовиты, как конопля, и лен с его красивыми голубыми цветами.


Оригинал на английском:




15. From Omsk to the Urals

We cross the River Irtych on a large spacious raft towed by a tug.

The river is extremely wide and including landing it takes us more than half an hour to cross. To begin with we take the wrong way by following a track alongside the Trans-Siberian Railway line; but on an excellent ground surface. On the map we see that we have to cross over the railway line some fifty kilometers further on. This will ensure that we keep to the correct road.

Unfortunately a serious incident takes place. The Steppe grass has become very dry due to the intense heat and suddenly we come across an area which is on fire, probably caused by sparks from the locomotives. Everywhere, to left and right, the grass is slowly and quietly burning and smoking, without a breadth of wind.

We cannot risk making our way through this while carrying 100 litres of petrol each. We set off to reconnoitre the terrain and Bizac comes back having spotted a section where the fire is restricted. Usmg our spades and picks we make a narrow passageway by pulling up the grass and covering it with earth and sand. We are then able to continue.

After a further 60 versts we have a picnic lunch in the shade of two large birch trees.

The day proceeds without further mcident.

When a very interested Russian dismounts from his horse and asks Collignon, in Russian, for some information Collignon replies m French; nevertheless they seem to understand each other. I move closer and hear the Russian repeat the word “lochadi" while pointing at the car bonnet. He is enquiring about the horse!!

In a village we enter a courtyard to draw water from the well. I had seen similar wells to this in Romania two years before.

After having got lost the previous evening and slept in an unpleasant Zemskaia m Midinskanskaia, on Friday 26 July we reach Petrpavlosk, a small town with friendly, pleasant and helpful people. Amongst others the post master and the police officer made us particularly welcome.

Our next large town is Kourgane, about 280 kilometers away and since we are no longer on the main Siberian road we have a choice of four roads to get there. Each route has its supporter, which is very awkward. In the end I decide to rely on the opinion of the police officer, who finds a guide to accompany us for the next 80 kilometers. Fortunately this man knows the road very well, in fact we soon realise that we are driving across fields and that on our own we would never have found our way. We give him a few roubles when he leaves us. He has been a great help.

Towards one o: clock, a big storm builds up behind us. The wind blows very strongly on our backs. For a few hours we drive at full speed to keep ahead of it and only receive a few drops of rain.

However by evening the flood has arrived. Seeing a village on our right, we rush towards it. Morewskoie is small but strung out and we have difficulty finding the Zemskaia.

Once there du Taillis gets out of the car despite the rain and tries to have the man open the gate, but the fellow acts as if he does not want us to stay.

It is true that Du Taillis is wearing an old raincoat and a cap both of which are saturated. He looks like a tramp.

But with the torrential ram soaking him, du Taillis loses his temper, pushes the Zeamskaia keeper away and opens the double gate by himself. We sweep into the yard.

Half an hour later night has fallen. All the peasants have left and we are on our own in the courtyard. Our host, probably still furious about the way he was treated, has locked himself in his house without even offering us tea, which is extremely rare for a Russian.

We could not care less. We still have some sausages, sardines, bread and beer. We do not need anybody, and furthermore the outside appearance of the house does not make us want to sleep inside.

Du Taillis puts his bed up under a shed next to the livestock. I park my car next to him and Collignon stays in the middle of the yard. All of us except du Taillis sleep in the cars.

I wrap myself in a blanket and lie in the foetal position on the car seat.

It is far from being comfortable and I really need to stretch out. However we are so exhausted that we could sleep anywhere.

I was in a deep sleep when I was suddenly wakened by an unrecognisable sound. I listened carefully and all at once leapt up on the cushions. An army of rats had come down from the shed roof and was running around on the top of the car and the leather cover over my knees.

In daylight this creature does not bother me much but when I am asleep I do not want him to visit me.

The remedy is simple. I push my car into the middle of the yard and as a result I get rid of the rodents.

Alas! The next morning we discover that we have left the good Steppe soil behind and are now in an area where the soil is as heavy as in Normandy. We skate and skid: we are no longer making good progress.

Half past ten: we are m Kourgane having entered the town over a bridge which is in an alarmingly poor state of repair, even if the police did have it strengthened for us.  A stop for telegrams, lunch and re-fuelling. At four o'clock we set off and it is eight in the evening before we reach our next stop, hardly 40 versts further on. On the morning of Sunday 28'i July, Collignon on waking was pleased to discover that the itches he had been suffering for the last few days were not in fact due to a skin disease, which he was concerned about bringing home. He was just covered with....I must say it...., covered with fleas which had been lodging comfortably in the flannel belt he was wearing.

At first we felt like running out of the room we had been sleeping in. What good would that have done? Having lived together for so long it was likely that we were all in the same state anyway.

Several hours later he had got rid of the parasites and we were relieved to discover that we had been spared them.

The scenery is becoming more and more picturesque. This region is wooded and the villages very close to one another.

For a long time we follow a little river, the Miass, which winds through the greenery, passing many small villages along the way.

The fields are intensively cultivated: oats, wheat and rye are prolific as is hemp, and flax with its pretty blue flowers.

We come across a water mill for the first time on the Miass.

Flocks of sheep graze by the side of the stream; if it were not for the local dress we could imagine we are in Brie and not Siberia, except for one obvious difference: here every tree is a birch.

In France we often picture Siberia as a deserted country; far from it, this part especially is very densely populated.

A Cossack horseman escorts us for about ten kilometers, galloping alongside on a beautiful horse without saddle or stirrups. He leaves us as I am taking a picture of a small lake about 20 versts before Tcheliabinsk, where we arrive at six in the evening.

Tcheliabinsk seems a quiet and sleepy, rather sad town with wide streets and a population of some 40,000. As county town of the Orenburg district it is the arrival point for Russian emigrants to the Asian part of Siberia.

There is nothing special about this town, except the omnibuses which are of a kind that I have never come across before in my world travels.

They consist of a sort of large, sheet metal box, poorly constructed and fixed to two axles without springs. Large openings on each side serve as doors and there are two small openings on top for light.

What you cannot imagine is their colour, dirtiness and indescribable state of dilapidation.

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