Sunday, October 25, 2009

Yaya, Siberia

My mother and her siblings, along with my grandmother, were exiled to a place called Yaya in Siberia. It's a bit southeast of Tomsk and off the beaten track. Thanks to google, I've more interesting information about this journey. It's about 3000 kilometers from Moscow to Yaya. Gas costing $1.29 a liter (or $4.89 a gallon) means a round trip would cost about $750.00 dollars - and we definitely would want to make this a round trip. But in 1930 they would have left from Zhytomyr, which adds another thousand kilometers to the trip. So a round trip from Zhytomyr ... would cost about $1000.00 dollars in gas money. Still probably cheaper than the train. Wouldn't that be a cross-country adventure?

Of course, back in 1930, the trip into exile was courtesy of the government. A slow, unheated freight train ride to the middle of nowhere at the beginning of winter. Plus, it was a one-way trip for my grandmother.

My grandmother was hoping that they'd be dumped in Irkursk on Lake Baikal because that was where other family members had been sent. It would have added another thousand kilometers. Yaya, was only supposed to be a transition camp - a place to spend the winter. Irkursk seems less desolate than Yaya. Today, it's quite the tourist destination - because of it's proximity to Lake Baikal, no doubt. So if I went, that would a good place in which to headquarter.

Someday.


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