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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Amurskaya, Russia

Jun 4, 2011 - A BAM Tale

So it was off to Yakutsk via the Baikalo-Amurskaya Magistral (the last word conveniently translates into English as "Mainline", so its catchy and evocative acronym, BAM, works in both Russian and English). BAM cut through 4234km of some of the most hostile terrain imaginable in the '70s and '80s. Unlike most trains and roads in these parts, built earlier, this one was not built with the mitts of doomed prisoners. Instead, the Soviets used volunteers who answered the call to participate in what would be the USSR's last great public works...

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Trip Journal


Far East Chronicles

May 25, 2011 - The Vodka Train

Chita was a letdown, larger and less walkable than we had expected, not to mention rainy and cold on this particular day. I got dad checked into the cheapest hotel in town, about 1500 rubles ($55) - about par for the course for a single in a lightly renovated Soviet concrete monstrosity (every city has a few). The plan was for me to board a late-afternoon train and push forward to Blagoveshchensk on my own, with dad meeting me a few days later in Khabarovsk. But that plan was scrapped almost as soon as we hatched it, a victim of foul...

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Trip Journal


Far East Chronicles

Jun 3, 2006 - Vladivostok - Harbour

The next day we went to the harbour and saw the Russian navy ships. On the way the local square had a tug of war match with the army and navy guys and there were lots of old guys up on a dais with all their uniforms and medals on. After it was all over, there was music playing and gun-salutes going off too, all the people mingled together and were taking photos, so we did too. There was a museum in a submarine that we went to, and we could walk all through the sub. We saw our first Russian church, a cute little waterfront chapel next to the...

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Jun 7, 2005 - How to blend in on Russian trains

MOUSTACHE TICKER... Uncle! Dyadya! Uncle!... Someone get me a moustache snorkel already!*... At the Nevyugri Coal Mine, one of the world's largest, the board of directors features 28 men... 11 had moustaches (2 had beards: disqualified)... a 23.6% ratio... that's right: 23.6!!... meanwhile in Blagoveshchensk, a respectable 10 of 50 went 'stache (20%)... a moustached man named Sergei (age 47, looked about 60) helped me store my bags on the overnight train to Nevyugri, while wife TATIANA sheeted my bed ('this is for women to do')... a...

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Jun 3, 2005 - Wake me up so I can go-go to Neryungri

MOUSTACHE TICKER... On a BAM train betwixt Severobaikalsk and Tynda, 11 of 50 men had moustaches (a snazzy 22%)... while the streets of Tynda yielded a mere, Moscow-level six of 50 (12%)... Siberian graffiti sample: 'Pank is not dead' and a drawing of a six-fingered hand giving the finger with one of its two middle fingers... a BAM t-shirt in Tynda costs US$10... A short play: [Two men stand on opposite sides of door] Dmitry Dmitrivich: Knock Knock* Pavel Maksimivich: Who's there? DD: BAM PM: BAM who? DD: BAM? Meant to say 'Wham' dammit!...

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