Drinking The Local Way
It is commonly understood that Russians are particularly fond of alcohol (someone far wittier than me once commented of Russians that if it is liquid and it burns, they will drink it), but it is very rare that they drink by itself - food is also an important part of the activity.
Typically accompaniments include cucumbers (fresh or pickled), fish (raw, salted, dried), cooked meats, cheeses etc.
Being a dedicated hater of all seafood, I cannot comment on the tastiness of the dried fish in the picture, but I can confirm the smell was appalling...
Museum about Japanese history...
Museum about Japanese history in Sakhalin?fs where you can find a lot of daily use staffs written in Japanese. For example, the elementary graduate certificate. All the things display in the Museum may tells you the close relation between Japanese History and Sakhalin?fs.
Great Train Journeys of the East
"The Backbone of the Island"
Sakhalin is a long, skinny island with very poor infrastructure. The road network has suffered from years of Moscow neglect, the damage being regularly compunded by the extreme winters where temperatures of -30 degrees celcius really hammer the tarmac (where it actually exists...)
Therefore, the easiest, most efficient way of getting up and down the island is be train.
"The End of a Way of Life?"
Most of the villages the train passes by are still struggling to progress beyond the economic collapse of the country in the 80s and 90s. Run-down, dilapidated buildings seem to dominate each and every settlement. Sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, vast hulks of former factories lie in slow decay; the few still inhabited homes nearby looking as if they will inevitable follow the same route. Why they existed there in the first place remains a mystery to me.
Elsewhere, there are places where life appears to have been extinguished, the lure of city life and the attractions it offers drawing away the young. As for the old, who knows?
Not a lot to say about this little place, other than I have passed through Dolinsk many times, but never once stopped there. I suspect that there is not so much for the casual visitor to see there.
Thankfully, some places still manage to survive in the old ways – fishing is still a booming industry that keeps many people employed.
Summer also brings an abundance of fruits and vegetables, and many people gain extra income from selling their bountiful harvests; or maybe prepare for winter by preserving their produce.
"Fast Train and Slow Train"
There are 2 main trains running up and down the island each day – the slow train and the fast train. While the slow train can be considered reasonably accurate by name, but at 15 hours to cover the 650 km from Yuzhno to Nogliki, the fast train is surely only named such as it is relative to the slow train. Still, it gives plenty opportunity to enjoy the views – and a beer or two...
Winters can indeed be fierce. This picture was taken at Timovsk, about 2 hours south of Nogliki by train. The train usually stops for up to an hour here, so it is a good opportunity to replenish beer supplies, should the restaurant car not be running.
Also, there are usually old ladies on the station concourse selling wonderful roasted nuts all year round, and berries in season. Weather like this does even not put off the most determined.
Nogliki is not at the end of the line as such, but it seems to be about as far as you can get without a lot of hassle.
A funny little town, spread out over quite a distance, it boasts a great new airport, courtesy of the oil companies - however the petty local politics means that it is closed to fixed wing flights. Something to do with the larger, regional capital airport being miffed at the superior facilities here.
As you can see from the picture, not a lot happens on a hot Sunday afternoon.