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October 2008
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December 2008

November 2008

2nd river market

one of the many places i drive by but never check out is the 2nd river area.  one of the biggest reasons is the traffic in vlad.  you're better off, when driving, by exploring in the morning to avoid the traffic jams that develop by noon.  last sunday, i decided to check out the asian markets after having lunch with friends.  traffic was bumper to bumper as usual and after almost an hour for normally a 10 min drive i made it to русскя ул.

the market consists of several rows of outdoor vendors in little kiosks selling mostly the same thing in each stalll; footware, electronics, household wares, and clothes.  i was a little disappointed in the lack of variety, but i did scout out several things that might come in handy in the future.  even though the weather was cold it was still fun to browse through the shops.  i found one section entirely devoted to fur hats which was entertaining to watch as people of all ages tried them on.  i'll get a photo of that posted later.

off of the outdoor shops, there a very large fish market.  i didn't explore it, but it looks like it has everything you could possible want if you're craving something special.

next to the outdoor shops theres also a couple large mult-storied buildings that have more western mall type shops, mainly selling clothes. i checked both of them out mainly because i remembered someone saying there was a bedding shop in one of them. i needed a couple pillows.  i found the shop but the keeper's sign was up saying they'd be back in 5 min.  looking through the small shops window i could see they didn't carry any queen size pillows.  doh.  the quest continues.  

overall the market was a positive experience.  i saw several things that would come in handy for my stay here.  i'll be going back soon to pick up some bargains.

turkeys' black thursday


with the seasonal increase in turkeys' death rate, vladivostok appeared to be one of the last safe havens for the fowl to seek refuge.  but this year, americans gathered in the city to give thanks and feast on this particular bird.

i joined all my coworkers at one of our residences to celebrate thanksgiving.  everyone contributed, some why more than others, i just fixed an appetizer tray of fresh veggies and dip.  the typical choices were available such as the aforementioned gobbler, cranberry sauce, homemade bread rolls and cornbread, stuffing (oyster), and mashed potatoes.  we also had waldorf salad, scalloped corn, and tasty green bean salad.  for dessert; merangine with strawberries, the always welcome pumpkin pie, and a wicked concoction called "devil's float" consisting of a cake permeated by chocolate syrup. 

we broke out the board games, coffee, tea as our stomaches were given a chance to catch up on the digestive process that would keep it busy the rest of the day.

the only thing missing was football, but fortunately, i'll be able to catch all the games friday to get my gridiron fix.

how do ya like them apples?


i'm seriously looking at giving up PCs and moving to Apple.  i've been saying that for the last 10 years and have never made the move but this time it's different.  what's driven me in this direction?  the biggest reason; microsoft's os. period.  it's shocking how often you get use to reformating microsoft's os after a virus slips in and trashes your system.  or how often i have to patch the system.  back in the states it wasn't a big deal.  but living overseas and being on a limited internet plan makes you count your bytes when it comes to downloads.  i'd rather be watching a sarah silverman episode than waiting for the umpteenth security update to finish.  some other other factors pushing me in that direction are not ms related, but laptop induced.  i've had a toshiba satellite for almost 5 years now.  while the beast has done it's best, it's slowly given in to problems like overheating, reduced processor speed, and an abismal battery life.  so with any hardware that's reached it's lifespan, i'm moving on to buying another, this time it will be an apple macbook pro.  the only thing that was holding me back was the thought of trying to bring the toshiba back from the edge with upgrades.  but that was superseceded after being approached several times this year with apple questions.  i've had my share over the years but after a couple decades working in the computer field, it finally became embarassing to say "i didn't know much about apples".

where do russian dancing bears go when the curtain falls

Bigbird on crack

local zoos are always interesting and vladivostok's are no different.  i checked out a privately owned zoo, more like a farm/sanctuary, with some other americans. I got a look at several animals that normally don't reside in a zoo. i.e. cats, chickens, rabbits, dogs, etc.  but the owners had a couple emus, ostriches, camels, monkeys, snakes and a tiger pup.  there were also a couple black russian bears and one performed with a dance, for a treat.  ah wouldn't life be simple if that's all we had to do for food?  the snakes included; a boa, a python, and an anaconda. i can never get enough of snakes.  i find them incredibly mystifying and dangerous.  my only phobia is a snake in water.  i saw some cottonmouths in a river when i was a kid and to this day the image is burned into my brain. there something about the way they resemble prehistoric animals with their nonexistent changes in evolution.  snakes and sharks.  to me the worst thing would be to be eaten whole by a shark and then attacked by a snake that's waiting inside.  time to end this post since i have derailed from the original idea.  i'll post more pictures when i get a chance.