The Country research has begun. Emma has been researching the first few countries we plan to visit; Iran and 3 of the Stans and I have started researching Eastern Russia, Mongolia and Japan. Five minutes into my Russia research and I have already gathered some fascinating insights. If visiting someone’s house it is polite to bring a gift; chocolates or flowers (an odd number over 2 flowers and not yellow) are a good suggestion. (Even number of flowers is good at funerals only.) Your visit IS going to involve dinner, which can be a lengthy process, don’t expect just to visit for 30 mins. It is not rude to decline vodka...but if you do
drink with Russians, know that the bottle is usually drunk until it is empty. Yes!
Don't expect people to smile at you. It is not customary in Russia, especially in big cities, to talk or smile at strangers, so don't
interpret this behaviour as coldness or unfriendliness. OK, so far it sounds like I’m going to fit right in.
Apparently dental tourism to the Ukraine is very popular.
It also seems apparent that due to the vastness of the area we plan to visit we are likely to encounter all kinds of weather. The best times for us to visit are between May and August. Although this is the summer we are still likely to experience fairly big extremes in weather. Along with extreme weather we are also going to experience a wide variety of terrain, including many active Volcano’s and national parks if we decide to venture as far east as the Kamchatka Peninsula.
More to follow.