- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
387

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THE AMUR DISTRICT AND AMUR RAILWAY
387
It was evidently a good country for food that wc had
come to, as the table was liberally furnished ; the meal
began with all kinds of caviar, black and red, compressed
and fresh. There is sturgeon fishing in the Amiir, and
there are great quantities of Amiir salmon, khetå,
which seems to me as good as ours, although connoisseurs
insist that it is not quite so good. And it has the ad
vantage of yielding this red caviar, which has such a
splendid colour—like pale rubies. Besides many kinds
of fish, there is a large supply of game in the forests here,
and all these things appear on the table ; first cold
dishes—as though for a sakuska—and then hot ones as
well, so that I imagined the dinner had started and ate
accordingly. Then the table was cleared and wc had
apparently finished. But after that the soup came in,
the good Russian soup, which showed that dinner was
just beginning. What wc had had before was only
sakuska, or hors d’æuvre ; and now came excellent fish,
followed by one hot dish of meat and vegetables after
another. This was repeated every single day while I was
travelling through the Amiir District, and I could never
remember about the sakuska. I always thought the
dinner was over when it was just going to begin. Then
wc had glorious Caucasian wine, with that wonderful
deep golden colour, the very sight of which is intoxi
cating. There was also fruit from Tashkend, great
pears and swelling, juicy grapes, which we found every-
where in Siberia, even here in the Amiir District. It
must be a wonderful country for fruit, Turkestan.
Wednesday, October 8. Beyond here the line was
not yet sufficiently finished for us to go on by tram, and
wc had to use trolleys. It was still the same flat plain,
everywhere damp and marshy. The water was stagnant
and it was difficult to find any fit to drink ; in the wells
it seemed clear enough, but smelt of sulphuretted

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