Friday, October 06, 2006

The week on Kamchatka Peninsula flew by

My second week in Russia was over before I knew it. I had a good time teaching in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and only regret I wasn’t able to see more of the region’s natural beauty. But to see the volcanoes near the city is a full-day trip, and to go farther requires a helicopter ride and several hundred or even several thousand dollars. Next time! And I did get to visit the local hot springs and black sand beaches, so I feel very fortunate.

In the end, I spent most of my days preparing for and then teaching the professional journalists who attended the training. We had live Internet access in the room, which made it easier to show my example websites and teach them some practical skills, such as blogging, using SoundSlides, uploading and linking to videos using Google Video and more. Live Internet will definitely be one of my recommendations to the State Department for further online journalism training programs.

I spent the last night at a bed and breakfast run by American Martha Madsen. She is very active in the city and region and runs a tour business, publishes an English-language travel magazine about the area and much more. You can find out more at her website, Explore Kamchatka.

Laura Williams, the director of the fairly new local office of the World Wildlife Fund, also came by for dinner and brought two bottles of champagne. We had a hilarious evening, talking about their lives in Russia (both have lived here more than 10 years) and making jokes out of plays on English words.

Laura’s husband is the professional photographer I mentioned in one of my earlier posts. I highly recommend that you visit his website to get a better idea of what the Kamchatka Peninsula and other wild regions of Russia have to offer.

It was raining the next morning as Dmitri and I left Kamchatka, so I wasn’t able to see the city’s volcanoes again from the plane. I felt like I was getting out just in time, before the cold rainy season begins, followed quickly by mounds of snow.

I must be getting used to Florida already, because everywhere I went I was a little cold. Of course, the only coat I own is a light raincoat—perhaps not adequate for an area north of North Korea, with a climate not unlike Alaska’s!

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