We visit the Circus and Russky Island
It was another cold and overcast day with a thick fog covering the city when we met Marina in the square at 11am. Today the square was crowded with school children dressed as characters from their story books. Apparently, this was an annual event and we were sorry that we couldn’t stay to watch, as it appeared they would march around to the beat of drums played by a young women’s band. There were many parents and teachers organising the children and a few friendly policemen standing around watching.
|School children dressed as book characters|
|A friendly policeman|
|Russian mother and daughter arriving|
Marina had kindly bought tickets to take us to see the circus so we had to leave and walk a short distance to the permanent circus building. Being a Sunday there were many young children, mostly girls, with their mothers in the audience. We enjoyed watching the talented performers such as the acrobats, a high wire walker and an act with dogs and an amazing pussy cat. The children loved the clowns and many of them were given balloons made in the shape of animals. The ‘highlight’ of the circus was performing Yaks. This segment we did not enjoy as the trainer had a big whip and one poor yak fell off a motor bike that it was forced to stand on.
We walked down to the waterfront and found that the car/passenger ferry was leaving in 15 minutes for an hour trip over to Russky Island. We had a good trip standing out on the deck and got a great view of the port and saw that the ship M/V Rus had arrived from Japan. This is the ship that we are booked on to take us over the Sea of Japan to Fushiki. We noticed that all its decks were crammed full of Japanese cars and they were being unloaded by a crane.
|M/V Rus - the ship that will take us to Japan|
|Naval ships in Vladivostok port|
It was a busy port with ships being loaded with scrap metal.
|Cranes loading scrap metal into ships for China|
And ships used just as car carriers with platforms built to hold the cars.
|An empty car carrying ship with the last cement mixer being unloaded|
We also saw a number of ice breakers that were owned by the Far East Shipping Company. The ships were similar to the Russian icebreakers that Greg and Margaret Mortimer use for their Aurora Expeditions trips to Antarctica and the Arctic.
|Russian ice breakers of the Far East Shipping Company|
We only spent a few minutes on Russky Island, a place where Russians normally go in the summer time as the beaches and water are much cleaner over there. We then returned with a group of young students aged 14 and 15 years old who had been on an overnight school excursion celebrating the end of their school year.
|The car/people ferry we caught to Russky Island|
We walked quickly in the cold weather, to Marina’s apartment where we met her lovely daughter Anna and enjoyed a delightful evening eating and talking. Marina also invited Slava to join us.
|Anna and Marina Plotnikova|
We walked back to our hotel just before a big thunderstorm engulfed the city with heavy rain and lightning.
Here is further information about Japanese cars imported into Russia.
A Landcruiser Prada 2005 model with 140,000 kilometres on the clock costs about $US21,000 in Japan, then about $12,000 taxes and duty added. A Corolla 2000 model costs about $US7,000 and has about $3,500 tax and duty. It would sell for about $17,000 in Moscow giving the dealer about $500 profit after paying for the freight etc to ship a car to Chita by rail. Thus by-passing the worst bit of the road costs about $1,500 – that is three times more expensive than driving it there. Most of the vehicles imported into Vladivostok don’t go as far as Moscow – most are sold in the Russian Far East and Siberia. It takes about 2 weeks for a driver to deliver a car by road to Moscow. The reason the Surf Jeep that we mentioned before had so much duty was because it was older than 7 years.
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