A two hour flight from Yakutz to Khabarovsk, drop off the K. It is somewhere above Vladivostock  and a different province to Yakutia where we spent most of our time in Siberia. Also noticeable was it got dark at night, became accustomed to going to sleep while it was light and waking up to the same. 

Must comment on the Russian method of boarding planes, happened everytime. Planes are all lined up neatly a considerable distance from the terminal, you pile onto a bus then mill around the bottom of the stairs whilst a guard allows a certain number up the stairs, no crowding on the stairway here. Landing is also controlled, passengers stay meekly in their seats and only get up when directed unlike us who leap up as soon as the wheels touch the ground- well almost. Food, euphemistically called a snack is usually a hulking great dry sandwich, I ate the filling. equally dry chicken.

Nice hotel, lots of vodka drunk at the farewell dinner. Next morning out early for a rushed look at Khabarovsk, a very neat and tidy city perched on the River Amur. Been around since the 16C . Variously in Chinese and Russian hands, been Russian now for a couple of hundred years.

Three large squares all with a Russian Orthodox Church, all rebuilt in the last twenty years. Lots of flower gardens and trees. The climate is not quite as extreme as yakutia, -40degrees occurs but is not  a common temperature. There are some nasty nasty apartment blocks but nowhere near as many or as common as in Yakutz. Also no old wooden buildings, none really , maybe all been destroyed. In Irkutz there was a row of crosses, asked and found it they were for the wooden houses that had been destroyed- clever. 

Lots of redbrick buildings, quite Edwardian in style. Someone asked our guide what she thought of Stalin, great man was her response, our jaws dropped, Gorbachev- sold us out her reply, Yeltsin, a drunk, Putin- well he got two thumbs up! Surprising, gave us something to think about. However when you reflect on Russian history, the revered ones, Peter the Great and Catherine the Great, both did their share of murder and mayhem.

Nice place to end our tour, would have been better to spend two nights here. In the inevitable bus to the plane for Narita an American asked one of our group what we thought of Khaborovsk, great was the reply, he was surprised, Di said you should have been to some of the places  we have been…

Narita a nightmare, two hours to get off the plane and to the terminal we were leaving from. Trip home, fine but the yellowfin dinner I had is still causing havoc three  days later.

Auckland airport seemed so quiet and polite.

Glad I went, glad I am home.

view of the Amur River

sideways church

red brick building

ww2 memorial to 400,000 people from this province