Siberia, Russia Part 5 – Khabarovsk and a Little Russian

Written by Rick Chapo

In this continuing series, we cover my move from San Diego to Chita, Siberia to be a professor at Chita State Technical University. We pick uprepparttar story outsiderepparttar 141544 airport in Khabarovsk, Russia.


Khabarovsk is an amazing city. Museums with works from Picasso, Rembrandt and other masters. A bustling downtown area with cafes, a lively music scene and architectural triumphs. Then again, maybe not. We were far more interested in finding a hotel with hot water and never ventured intorepparttar 141545 city.

Outside ofrepparttar 141546 airport, we were a bit flummoxed byrepparttar 141547 fact there appeared to be no taxis. We quickly learned that practically any Russian with a car is also a taxi for hire. After 5 minutes of egging each other on, Grae made taxi arrangements and we were off. Apparently taking in out disheveled appearance after 3 days of traveling, our driver suggestedrepparttar 141548 Intourist hotel. We readily agreed.

During communism, Intourist hotels were set up for exclusive use by foreigners. Ours was fairly nice and, importantly, had showers with copious amounts of hot water. You can see a picture of it at After having returned to humanity with one ofrepparttar 141549 best showers of my life, it was time to brush up on my Russian skills.

Siberia, Russia Part 4 – Airport Follies and a Stern Lecture

Written by Rick Chapo

In this continuing series, we cover my decision to move from San Diego to Chita, Siberia to be a professor at Chita State Technical University. We pick uprepparttar story aboardrepparttar 141543 flight from Anchorage to Khabarovsk, Russia.

Day 3 [Still]

As I lounged in my huge Aeroflot seat,repparttar 141544 stewardess announced that we would be arriving in Khabarovsk inrepparttar 141545 next 30 minutes. Khabarovsk is located inrepparttar 141546 deep south ofrepparttar 141547 far east of Russia onrepparttar 141548 border with China. It isrepparttar 141549 home ofrepparttar 141550 Far East Military of Russia and isrepparttar 141551 largest city east of Lake Baikal. I was primarily interested in how hard it would be to find a hot shower.

Well, this was it,repparttar 141552 first day of my year in Siberia. I had my phrase book, electric blanket, traveler’s checks and a solid rush of adrenaline. Of course, I had never actually taught a class before, but I would deal with that later.

We descended out ofrepparttar 141553 clouds into a rainstorm. The view was still incredible. We were flying into a flat valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Everything was a deep green. A few cabins could be seen onrepparttar 141554 ground.

There was a very clear view ofrepparttar 141555 airport as we banked throughrepparttar 141556 valley to approach fromrepparttar 141557 West. Umm, aren’t airports usually lit up? This one looked like a ghost town. The runways looked fine, but there were no lights inrepparttar 141558 buildings. There appeared to be a dearth of activity onrepparttar 141559 ground. I had never backpacked from a plane torepparttar 141560 airport, but maybe this wasrepparttar 141561 way it was done. When in Rome…

Finishing off an incredible flight, our Russian pilot set us down with a light touch. As we taxied up torepparttar 141562 airport, I could only think that ifrepparttar 141563 rest of Russia was as good asrepparttar 141564 flight, it was going to be a great year.

Blink, blink, blink…lights started coming on inrepparttar 141565 terminal! Despite being no more than 50 feet from it, we were herded onto a transport. We started, did a wide u-turn and stopped atrepparttar 141566 gate. All I could think of was “The Gods Must Be Crazy.”

“The Gods Must Be Crazy” was a hilarious movie released inrepparttar 141567 eighties [no jokes about my age]. The first scenes ofrepparttar 141568 movie are biting satires of our modern way of life versusrepparttar 141569 indigenous tribes of Africa. In one scene, a woman gets into her car, backs down torepparttar 141570 end of her driveway and puts a letter inrepparttar 141571 mailbox. Ah, progress! The journey fromrepparttar 141572 plane torepparttar 141573 airport couldn’t have been much longer.

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