Sunday, July 8, 2007

June Travels (June 9 – July 7, 2007)

On June 9 I left Vladivostok for a month of traveling in the Amur Region and Jewish Autonomous Region (north and west of Vladivostok, but also on the border with China; the Amur Region is the red blob on the map at right, and the Jewish Autonomous Region is a tiny little bit of land snuggled right up to the southeast side of the Amur Region). There I visited Muraviovka Park, Russia’s only private nature reserve (Amur Region; June 11 – June 15); Khingansky Zapovednik (Amur Region; June 15-July 2), and Zapovednik Bastak (Jewish Autonomous Region; July 2-7). It was a great trip, and you can read more about it in the following posts.

It is amazing to think of the places you'll go! Back when I had to learn the capitals of all the regions of Russia while studying in Irkutsk in 2004, places like Blagoveschensk (the capital of the Amur Region) and Birobidzhan (the capital of the Jewish Autonomous Region) seemed like unbelievably far-away dots on a map, places I would never even think twice about, except to try to get my tongue around their exotic-sounding names. And now I have even been in places seemingly even farther away, like Arkhara, a town of 9000 people in the Amur Region near Khingansky Zapovednik, and these places have taken on such meaning for me, all because I met a few amazing people there. Life can certainly be unexpected! I am so excited by the opportunities I have here, and am left with a constant feeling of gratitude to everyone who has helped to make them possible.

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