Places to see in Yuzhno

Trip Start Apr 29, 2008
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Trip End Oct 11, 2008


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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Yuzhno has some nice places to go and visit during the summer months. A popular place on warm evenings and weekends is Gagarin Park. Here you can sit by the lake, drink beer and eat Shaslyk. In some of the tents you can even sing a little karaoke...Hmm, Mike steered me past these very quickly! He's trying to avoid more hearing loss. Oh well.
There are also many walking trails around Yuzhno that take you up mountains, across streams and through thick forest. Although I've taken a few walks, I've been a little nervous about the bears. However, I've been assured they are all fat and happy now that the salmon have started swimming upstream (not to mention the couple of people they had a chew of earlier in the season!).
For those less inclined to take to strenuous activity, a leisurely ride in the cable car up to the top of the mountain is a great way to spend the day. For just a few roubles, the cable car takes you up and back down the mountain. On the way up the cable car passes over some of the small dachas (summer houses). Most of these have small vegetable gardens and are basically a way to get out of the city for the weekend. The view from the top of the mountain is magnificent and many paragliders take the opportunity to use the mountain as their jumping off point. There's also a small eating area where excellent shaslyk is sold as well as cold beer...Unfortunately for us, the cable car broke down before we made the trip down the mountain! Funny story - I was in need of a toilet before going up the mountain but we were assured by the ticket person there was a toilet up the top of the mountain. So on arrival at the top we enquired and we were told, yes the forest is your toilet! It's only a matter of finding a good bush to squat behind and have Mike stand guard!

For those more culturally inclined, there is a fairly good museum housed in a Japanese building from when Sakhalin Island was called Karafuto and Yuzhno was called Toyohara. The museum has quite a good record of the history of the island, however knowing how to read Russian definitely helps in understanding it! There is also a largish collection of stuffed animals if you're into that sort of stuff.

There are often plays and concerts held at the Chekhov Theatre. I've been to a dance competition which was quite entertaining and it didn't really matter that I had no idea what people were saying. I also went to see a production of "The Bat" (an operetta) with a friend and her mother. Unfortunately for me we were only able to get tickets that placed us in different parts of the theatre so I didn't have any chance of interpretation during the play. However, it was thoroughly enjoyable and Natasha kindly told me the basic story so I could follow some parts of it. Regardless, it was a fine production and the costuming, acting, singing were all superb.

Just as popular are the cinemas. Again, it is all in Russian! I only went and saw one movie "The Mummy 3". We read up on the plot so we would have some idea of what was happening. It was quite funny and it was quite amusing to see Russian subtitles on the parts spoken in Chinese. Otherwise it was all dubbed in Russian!

I have yet to visit some of the other touristy type places such as the Art Gallery and the Railway museum. One place I won't be visiting is the Zoo. There's a story that I heard recently about a bear that wandered into the zoo looking for food, but it left because it didn't like it. From what I've heard the conditions in the zoo are rather pitiful compared to modern day zoos (particularly in Australia).
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