Location: Petropavlosk, Russia
by Wayne Brown
Clipper Odyssey is docked at Petropavlosk. Our Russian host and guide, Sergey Frolov, has come onboard to meet us. Sergey will has spent many years exploring the Kuril Islands. He will help us find the most interesting places to visit and will act as our translator when we meet other Russians during our expedition. Sergey brought his two young daughters along for us to meet, Vera, age 13, and Anna, age 7. Like their dad, Vera and Ana speak both Russian and English. Vera and Anna used to live in Petropavlosk. About two years ago they moved, with their dad, to Seattle, Washington. Now they visit Petropavlosk during their summer vacation. Their summer vacation is almost over so Vera and Anna are about ready to fly back to Seattle to start school. Before they left I had a chance to ask Vera some questions about life in Russia compared to Seattle.
Vera tells me that in Russia schools are harder and the teachers are stricter, but there are less rules and you can wear whatever you want. In her school in Seattle her teachers won't let kids tap each other during class like she did in her Russian classroom. In Russia Vera said before and after school she liked to go on long walks with her friends. In the US Vera says kids don't go for long walks. In the US Vera likes that there are more stores and more things to do.
After talking to Sergey, Vera and Anna, I join some of our passengers getting off the ship to explore Petropavlosk. (Petropavlosk was named by early Russian explorers for the apostles St. Peter (Petro) and St. Paul (Pavl).) When we get off ship on the dock we are met by a group of Russian singers and dancers dressed in clothing that was worn by Russians that lived here over 100 years ago. They have come to our ship to greet us by singing Russian songs. One lady stands in front of the other dancers and is holding a huge loaf of bread in the shape of a giant donut. In the hole is a small dish of salt. Sergey told us that this was the traditional Russian greeting for travelers. He shows us how to break off a piece of bread, and dip it in the salt, then eat it. I take some bread and say "spa-SEE-ba", which means "thank you" in Russian.
Petropavlosk is the largest and most important city on the Kamchatka Peninsula. About 273,000 people live here. The city is not very crowded and there is lots of open space and parks with colorful flowers. Most people live in apartments and walk by lots of long, low apartment buildings. As I walk around the city I don't see many cars. The cars I do see are older Japanese cars. (Sergey says that Russian business people go to Japan to buy used cars in Japan and sell them here.) I don't see any graffiti here, so even the old buildings look clean.
The first place I stopped was the local market. This is a large area where people have small (about 8'x6') booths to sell all sorts of things. People were selling fish, meat, vegetables, cooked food, candy, flowers, make-up, perfume, clothes, shoes, Russian and American CD's, video tapes of American movies and cartoons and even pets. As I walk around it is crowded with people all speaking Russian. I smell all sorts of things - fishy, sweet, flowery, perfumey.
I met some Russian kids at the market. Unfortunately, I only know a few words of Russian and they didn't know much English, so we could talk to each other very well. I met two boys at a booth looking at American videos. The boys, Ivan - age 10, and Gregori - age 8, told me that they like American cartoons. Fortunately the cartoons are all changed so the cartoon characters speak Russian.
As I explored the market I saw a mother and daughter staring at me. I was the only American in the market and they where curious about me and what I was doing. With a little of my Russian and a little of their English (Their English was better than my Russian!) Anna -age 7, had come to the market with her Mom, Irina, to buy a pet. I saw that Anna was holding a bag filled with water. When I first saw it I thought she had a fish. Anna showed me that she had a little frog. The frog was her new pet!
It was now late in the afternoon. The market was closing. It was time for me to get back to Odyssey as the ship gets ready to leave Petropavlosk and continue our expedition.
I had fun exploring Petropavlosk, today, visiting the parks and the market and meeting some of the kids that live here. Everyone I met was friendly. I hope I can visit again. Maybe next time I will know a few more Russian words.
Tomorrow, we will be exploring wild areas that few people have ever seen. Log on tomorrow and see what we find.
Position: 53º 81' N / 158º 38' E
Midday Air Temp: 68ºF
Evening Air Temp: 61ºF
Weather: light breeze, sunny with scattered clouds.
Water Temp: 45ºF
Petropavlosk, Russia. The long, low buildings are apartments. (Notice the top of a volcano sticking out of the clouds. See snow on top of the volcano?)
Sergey Frolov, and his kids, Vera - age 13, and Anna - age 7.
Wearing traditional dress this Russian lady is offering me bread and salt as a welcome. (Notice the Russian singers behind her.)
In the market Ivan and Gregori look at American videos for sale in Russian.
Anna and her mom are leaving the market with her new pet - af little frog!