A few scenes from around Sakhalin Island

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


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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Well folks, I have visited a few nice places outside of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk recently. Some of these were as a result of having joined the Hash House Harriers. Those of you who are unfamiliar with this club, hereafter called H3, it is a club that meets on a fairly regular basis to go for a run or in our case, walk along a trail set by some other members. Throughout the afternoon the chorus of OnOn is heard, is it a bird or is it a band of crazy people? After a sometimes strenuous walk, climb or whatever, we gather around the bbq at the chosen site to drink a few beers, have a bbq and chat for a while. H3 in Sakhalin is mainly active through the summer months but during the winter months when running is not really possible, the club meets at one of the bars to catch up on news etc and to keep everyone in touch. Everyone in this illustrious club has a nickname (hash name) after they have completed a number of runs or have done something truly memorable. For example, one hasher is known as Choirboy as he is often heard singing. Another is called Imelda the moaner because she used to moan (complain) a lot on hash runs. Mike and I now have hash names - Mike is now known as "yellow seaman" (thanks to his submariner background I am assuming) while my name is "seaman stains" (I am sure this is just to link me in with Mike!)The alternatives thrown about during the naming ceremony were various but along the same theme. I reckon we got off quite lightly all things considered.

Apart from H3 events, we have also been to a place called Tikhya (meaning quiet place) where we had a bbq with friends and went for strolls along the beach. I had hoped to go in the Pacific Ocean at this point but it just wasn't warm enough. Tikhya is little more than a settlement and is located on the coast about 2 hours north of Yuzhno. To get there we passed through several small towns. Just out of Yuzhno there is also the checkpoint where papers can be checked and misdemeanours imagined. Foreigners can be susceptible to fines especially if their command of Russian language is not fantastic. Fortunately for us we weren't stopped. I held my breath as we went past thinking of all the days, it had to be this day I forgot to bring my registration papers! Usually I carry them everywhere just in case.

We also went to Korsakov recently with a group of friends, one of whom hails from Korsakov. This was a terrific day, and the town was in a festive mood following City Day celebrations the day before. Five of us took the local bus and rattled our way south to Korsakov to meet up with Natasha. Natasha took us on the walk through the main part of the town down to the port and then off to a nice little bar where they brew their own beer. Here we stayed and tried some of the local brew and had some lunch. Russian people generally eat when they drink beer and often the choice of food is some dried, salted or fresh fish. We all followed Natasha's lead as well and dipped our fish in our beer for a different taste experience. Not as bad as it looked but I reckon I prefer my flavours unmixed.

We also took the wild ride to the top of the mountain above Korsakov. Forget roller coasters, take a taxi instead! While we had experienced a variety of taxi rides in Yuzhno, the Korsakov ride was somewhat wilder. It was a bit hair-raising, but we ended up at our destination safe and sound, although a little weak at the knees.

It was time to go back to Yuzhno - again on the local bus but this time a mini bus. A much quicker ride as this bus didn't stop quite as often as the big bus, however much more cramped. It was then off to the Pacific Plaza for some ice cream and beer - courtesy of Arnold!
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