Day 10

Vladivostok, Russia.

I woke up early again this morning with the time change. I managed to snap a couple pictures of what could have been a great sunrise, if it had risen before 7:30am

Today’s immigration procedure was WAY better than in Japan.  Our passports were delivered to us around 7:30am by our cabin stewards.  By 8:00 the disembarkation began.  After I gathered all the stuff I wanted to carry around for the day, I headed down to the gangway around 9:00.  There wasn’t even a line to get off the boat, just a steady stream of people.

The first thing I did was find a bank.  There were a couple ATMs at the train station across from the ship, but I didn’t feel like paying whatever fee it was going to charge me.  I took my cash in to the bank and tried to change 60 USD.  The woman took the bills and did the “counterfeit” routine.  She discovered a very small rip in one of them, and she handed back to me saying, “Nyet, Nyet, Nyet”.   So I walked out with 1300 rubles.

I was not on a ship organized tour, so I did what I did in Muroran – I just went walking.  Over the course of the morning and afternoon, I probably walked 6 miles.  A couple times I felt like I was in San Francisco.  One road I walked just seemed to go up and up and up with just a few places slightly level.

All-in-all, I found Vladivostok to be a rundown city with heavily rutted streets and crumbling sidewalks.  There is, however, a great deal of renovation and restoration.  Vladivostok is hosting the APEC Summit next year.  With the Asian Pacific Economic Counsel coming, Russia is pouring a tremendous amount of money in to fixing the place up all over the city.  They are working on two new bridges, two new big hotels, street and sidewalk repair, and an entire new “city” on an island across the bay.  It would be interesting to visit Vladivostok again some time next year to see the improvements done.

My walk about town brought me to a couple Orthodox Chapels, and of course the C-56 Submarine.

The submarine’s history includes its historic circumnavigation of the globe back to Vladivostok after it was damaged somewhere in the Atlantic.

One thing I noticed in Vladivostok was the HUGE number of smokin’ hot Russian women with legs up to their armpits wearing mini-skirts up to their butt cheeks, tights, and 4-inch spike heels.  Okay, okay.  Not ALL of them were in 4-inch spikes, some were only three inches…

Another sea day tomorrow.  Not sure what’s up…  Trivia for sure.

Next stop:  Busan, South Korea.