By Rocco Castoro / Source: VICE
Ten hours into my first trip to Russia I catch an express train back to the airport. It's August in Moscow so I'm sweating in a particularly gross and unfamiliar way, as I have since my arrival, and I'm running late. If I miss my flight, I probably won't make it to Petropavlovka in time for the Holiday of Good Fruits, or speak with a Siberian man who looks like Jesus and believes his is the Word of God.
I buy a ticket and arrive at the platform with a couple minutes to spare, enough time to find the emptiest car and take a seat in the back. It departs three minutes later. This makes me feel a bit better, but I'm still suppressing a freak-out over the possibility of missing my plane. The flight only happens once a day, and I can't fathom having to deal with whoever answers the phones at Vladivostok Air, Siberia's largest carrier.
If I don't make it in time I'll also have to reschedule my ride. This will involve begging a woman named Tamriko, whom I've only corresponded with via email, to persuade a fellow member of what many consider to be a cult to wake up at 4 AM tomorrow, make the three-hour drive to Abakan International Airport to pick up a nosy American stranger, and take him to a remote and deeply religious community of about 4,000 people living in the middle of the Taiga forest.