Edit Blog Post
Published: August 25th 2011
150 years Khabarovsk
Almost until the last minute I was standing on the track talking to Aliki before jumping on the train to Khabarovsk. I boarded the train, as usual the train attendant passed by to take the copy of your ticket, but for some reason everyone except for me already got their linen beforehand – I thought maybe it’s because I was standing outside for so long. Turned out , even for the train attendant a foreigner was something special – I asked him for the linen, he told me he’d bring it… after waiting like 1h I decided to pass by his ‘’office’’ – he started asking me all the typical “OMG a foreigner” questions 😊 After some 15min I got my linen and free chocolate on top of that 😉 I made my ‘’bed’’ – lay down and slept for the rest of the train ride.
The next morning Yulia, the daughter of my friend’s mother’s friend’s university friend picked me up – did you get it? 😉 In Khabarovsk you actually realize that it’s summer – I guess it was probably like 35 degrees – so Yulia and I went for a short
Khabarovsk - Dynamo park
walk in the park before going to the pool. Me, used to Swiss pools, expected an outdoor pool, park, a place to relax and chill – in Russia however a pool is mainly to swim not to relax. The only outdoor pool in Khabarovsk is the pool of the Russian army. The procedure is as follows: They let people in every hour, you have to pass by the “doctor’’ beforehand who tells you that you should wash yourself thoroughly etc, then you pay 300 roubles , you go and shower thoroughly, swim for about 40min before they send you back to shower in order for the next people an hour later to enter the pool. Apparently that’s completely normal and there are many people paying for that! In Switzerland you pay probably half of this for the entire day, you have several pools, green areas to relax, etc. – As for the Amur I was told that you shouldn’t swim in it as it has been severely polluted by the Chinese up the river – I saw plenty of people swimming there the next day…
Back up to the city center
working the next day. I went off by myself to explore the rest of the city. Khabarovsk reminded me of Lausanne – up and down, up and down all the time – you have three main axes, two of them are down, one is up, so you always think twice where you want to walk 😉 The city differs from other places in Russia in the sense that the regional government seems to actually invest some money for the public and not put everything in their own pockets. The city center as well as the pedestrian / beach area along the Amur are really pretty with loads of green areas. Nevertheless also in Khabarovsk young people seem to be leaving more and more – Yulia says that she really likes Khabarovsk and she would have never wanted to leave, but now that she sees more and more of her friends leaving, she’s actually also thinking of it. She’d like to go to Australia and start working there .
Currently Yulia has also her friend and her friend’s
Beach at the Amur
mother over in the apartment as they are renovating their apartment. Ljuba is originally from Komsomolsk-na-Amure and only moved down to Khabarovsk about a year ago. She told me that due to the severe climate in the North they already retire with 50. Knowing that the pension is very small, I asked her whether it’s good or bad for her – she was like “of course it’s good – you get the pension and can still work at the same time!” I guess that’s a different perception of retirement than we have… In the evening, Yulia took me to a nice spot where you have a good view over the city and drove me to the impressive and only bridge over the Amur in Khabarovsk. Afterwards we talked about the government and politics – I’m always wondering why Russians just accept the decisions made by the government [as for example the fact that regional governors are put in place by Medvedev and not elected by the people – I’m wondering, how can Medvedev know who’s good for a region that is thousands of km away from Moscow... Yulia told me that there is no point in protesting, as the
down and up :)
protests in Russia are just suppressed – in Vladivostok a lot of the business is made by importing Japanese cars and selling them in Russia – the Russian government introduced a law to prohibit or at least limit that – the people actually did go on the streets to protest – the police came and made sure the protests stopped quickly. I’m not very interested in Swiss politics, but the few things I was telling Yulia made me realize that they absolutely don’t think about Russian politics as they don’t believe that anything is gonna change anyway.
The next day it was raining the whole day – I didn’t really mind as the temperature at least cooled down to 28 degrees 😉 I took an easy day before flying out to Kamchatka the day after.
Tot: 0.067s; Tpl: 0.019s; cc: 14; qc: 29; dbt: 0.0073s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb