Friday, September 30, 2016

Nome to Anadyr, Siberia

Day 1: 2016-09-11 / 12
The weather was nice; in the 40s and 50s. After breakfast we gathered with 8 other people (11 in all) to taxi to the Bering Cargo terminal where we were met by a real character. Dick Belleville, who is the mayor of Nome, also does tours and works with Heritage Expeditions. He is a real New Yorker and was an actor and entertainer in a previous life. He entertained us for two hour in the Bering hangar with stories, a little singing and dancing, and a lot of good information about Alaska, Nome, etc. We met our pilot, Ryan, who told us we would be delayed because the Anadyr airport was foggy and we would have to wait to see if it cleared. About a half hour after our scheduled departure time, we board the 19 passenger plane. A propeller plane, but fine for the one hour and forty five minute flight across the Bering Sea to Anadyr. It was a very smooth flight but could not see much because of the clouds.  

We landed in Anadyr and were met by a bunch of Russian border police and a bus and a steady drizzle. We went from the bus to the terminal and filled out our forms and went through immigration without incident. However, they couldn't get the x-ray machine to work for our luggage, so we were slightly delayed. They also weighed our luggage, not sure what that was for. We took our luggage down to a dilapidated old truck, loaded it on, and then got into two vans which took us to the cargo dock area where we met a barge which took us to the boat. It was a rusty old thing but it worked and we arrived about 20 minutes later at our ship which was out in the bay.

We boarded the ship, the Spirit of  Enderby (or in Russian, the Professor Khromov), and found our room with two beds, lots of storage, and a bathroom. It is just fine, not luxurious but comfortable. We met the large staff ; lots of naturalists -7 or 8 of  them doubling as zodiac drivers (French, German, Russian, New Zealand), 2 chefs and their staff, a 'hotel' director and her staff, and the largely Russian crew. After a light lunch rested. we went through an orientation, and a safety drill in the afternoon. Then we rested for a while again, had a drink in the bar, and dinner. The people are generally interesting. There are 8 Americans, 8 Australians, 3 New Zealanders, 2 Swiss, 3 English, 1 Argentinian, and 9 Russians as passengers; at least so far those are who we have met. we went to bed early.     

Rodney Russ, the leader of the expedition.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Nome, Alaska

From September 10-22, we have been on a ship-based tour of the Russian Far East. The blog posts during that period, showing various Portland scenes, have been scheduled to appear daily while we had no useful internet availability. Now we're in South Korea, with great internet, so I'll be posting a journal of our tour for the next couple of weeks. Words by my wife, Elsa Shapiro; pictures by me.

Day 0: 2016-09-10

We arrived in Nome after meeting our friend Edie at the Anchorage airport after our flight from Portland. We took a taxi to the Aurora Inn: adequate but not luxurious. Had dinner at the Polar Cafe (fried food, etc., but OK) and the next morning had breakfast there.

Some impressions of Nome, wandering around in the evening:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Eagle Creek Trail

Eagle Creek Trail in the Columbia River Gorge is a deservedly popular hike. Unfortunately, a recent landslide took out a bridge across a creek, leading to the closure of a large part of the trail until repairs can be made (which will take a year or so). These photos were taken before that event, in May 2015. They remind me that we need to do more hiking in the Gorge.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Ivy on the trail leading up to Washington Park (adjacent to Forest Park, and the home of the Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Zoo, and more). The ivy is viewed as invasive and something to be eliminated before it chokes out native vegetation; but it has its own appeal.

Monday, September 26, 2016

People in the Park

Forest Park is not just wilderness. It's intended to be used by people, and is, though fortunately rarely does one have a sense of crowding. Solitude is more common.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Macleay Park in Spring

At the end of March last year, we took a walk in Macleay Park, a piece of Forest Park that's near to Portland's Northwest District. The entry looks civilized, but much of the rest is pretty gnarly.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Forest Park in Spring with Ivy

A month later, near the end of March, spring flowers have emerged and the fir trees are feathering out. And ivy is prominent; it's reviled here as an invasive species.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Forest Park in Winter

At the end of February, 2015, Portland's Forest Park was still green - but it was a dark green, before the new growth had begun to freshen up.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

High Rise Scenic Vandalism

A new high-rise obstructs the view of Mount Hood from Portland's Rose Test Garden.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Marine Terminal

Port of Portland Marine Terminal, on the east bank of the Willamette River.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Keep Away

Some things are definitely not warm and fuzzy, and demand to be photographed in stark black and white.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Cars Parked

The places in which cars are parked can give some interesting insights into the nature of a neighborhood - in this case Portland's Central Eastside Industrial District. Industrial is only part of the character of this place; working class might be a better description.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

East Side Details

A few details that caught my eye in Portland's Central Eastside Industrial District: