Hello.

It looks like you're new here. Sign in or register to get started.

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.

Helen Hunt Jackson - September
The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Chrysanthemums.
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

John Updike, September
Learn English in September

Russia

mheredgemheredge Posts: 49,060 ✭✭✭✭
I realise that we don't seem to have a topic devoted to Russia. I have very fond memories of visiting St Basil in the middle of winter, many years ago. It was minus 30 degrees centigrade. My cheeks hurt, it was so cold.



Russia is famous for many things. The Trans-Siberian Railway is often on travellers' bucket list.



Not a patch on the real thing, these Australians have their own fake Russian choir and have been making the news: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-25/australian-fake-russian-choir-dustyesky-goes-viral-mullumbimby/12270670?fbclid=IwAR14BtKylct0dJ1VIyQ4W1nWE73h-yk6llDO2Skzztr-wRBFO7aT9KdNg8U



And from next year, unless the current situation with the pandemic changes things, it should become much easier for tourists to visit with the new e-visa that is being rolled out.
«13456

Comments

  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 3,157 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:


    Not a patch on the real thing, these Australians have their own fake Russian choir and have been making the news

    A funny choice of song. Here is a link to translated lyrics.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 3,157 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2020
    Most foreign tourist visit Russia for Moscow and St. Petersburg and their suburbs, which cultural assets (architecture, museums, theatres, especially the top classical ballet companies are very good). Add to this the medieval cities of the so-called Golden Ring, like Suzdal. Kazan, which is the capital of the Tatar autonomous republic is also well worth of a visit.

    As for the national wonders there are plenty of. The most popular (and it has grown rather over-visited) is the Lake Baikal. Also in Russia there are numerous places for hiking, rafting, hunting, fishing.
    Here is a gallery of the national sanctuary "Krasnoyarskie stolby" near the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk which is famous for its fantastic rocks.
    Post edited by Practical_Severard on
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 3,157 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2020
    There is a natural reserve famous for its geysers and hot springs in Kamchatka, but it's not a short route and there's not much of comfort, it's more like a multi-day hiking tours. The reserve's website. But one will be impressed very much. Visiting is however limited because of ecological reasons. Entering this territory on an e-visa is already available.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 49,060 ✭✭✭✭
    That's interesting @Practical_Severard. Places like Kamchatka definitely appeal to me. Though I guess you need your own transport as getting there and travelling around such remote areas must be difficult otherwise?
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 3,157 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2020
    mheredge said:

    That's interesting @Practical_Severard. Places like Kamchatka definitely appeal to me. Though I guess you need your own transport as getting there and travelling around such remote areas must be difficult otherwise?

    Indeed it's difficult. First you need to get to the Petropavlovsk Kamchatsky airport and they have a single regular international flight from Anchorage (Alaska, USA and a charter in the summer from a resort place in Vietnam). To keep the opportunity of entry by an e-visa you probably have to fly to Vladivostok first, which have a wider networks with Asian country.
    The you have two options: either of joining a hiking group to walk there by foot (8 days and the same back) for $100-150 or of joining a day long helicopter excursion for something about $500-$700. If you were ready to splash out for a solo helicopter hire, it'd be also possible. The reserve charges its own fees for guidance and accomodation (either in log huts or in tents). They also limit the number of visitors because of conservation concerns (so not more than 3,000 people annualy are allowed) They maintain wooden pavements for the tourists for the same reason.

    In short one needs to buy a holiday from a local tour operator. I can look them up for you, probably there are some who can speak English or French. So, it's definitely not an easy trip, though a European who've been through it can boast a lot.
    P.S. If you join a hiking group you need to be aware that the local hiking culture is different, such as there's a gender-based camp job distribution, people have meals and then hang out by the campfire together, often playing the guitar and singing songs and then sleep in multi-place tents rather than each person in their own.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 49,060 ✭✭✭✭
    Wow @Practical_Severard, this does sound very interesting. I'm guessing that the summer would be the best time of year to access this place. I have the feeling that tourism around the world is going to be messed up for most of the rest of the year, but this is surely somewhere to add to my bucket list for perhaps next year.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 3,157 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:

    I have the feeling that tourism around the world is going to be messed up for most of the rest of the year, but this is surely somewhere to add to my bucket list for perhaps next year.

    Agreed. The place is currently closed for visits and I can guess they don't know for how long. You could also come in a company of friends, this would be much fun too, and probably more comfortable psychologically.

  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 49,060 ✭✭✭✭
    I have a Portuguese friend who organises these types of trips. I might have to see whether he could sort something out @Practical_Severard. The plan was to visit Algeria in September, but I don't know whether this will be possible yet. Turkish Airlines have cancelled my friend's flight for 5 June, after insisting it was confirmed right up to a few days ago. So who knows.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 3,157 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2020
    I've found on the Internet a Russian ecotravel tour operator who offers multiple tours, including birdwatching, though I'm not sure that the prices are low, especially to remote areas. They service the English speaking public as well and provide them with a visa support. Though some of them are to areas close enough to Moscow and short enough (1-2 days), so they're cheaper (such as $100 per person if the transfer by personal car). The prices quoted in RUR, to calculate the EUR value, divide them by 78.3 There's also a picture gallery of birds, plants and animals, but also landscapes which is worth of taking a look.
    Post edited by Practical_Severard on
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 49,060 ✭✭✭✭
    What's the name of this company @Practical_Severard? This might be useful when things start returning to normal. Yesterday I was talking with an Italian lady who told me that although the border to Italy opens next week, this only means that visitors can enter. But apparently the border into France is still not open. She says she can't visit her relatives until this changes, as she doesn't want to get stuck there. It is very difficult to know when borders are going to be open as freely as before, if ever.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 3,157 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:

    What's the name of this company @Practical_Severard? This might be useful when things start returning to normal.

    Ecotravel, @mheredge . Click the link I posted in the previous message and it'll lead you to their English website.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 49,060 ✭✭✭✭
    Sorry @Practical_Severard, I didn't notice (my eyes!). But actually, I'm not sure that it even shows up on my screen highlighted much when you put a link.

    This looks right up my street. What beautiful scenery!


  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 3,157 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2020
    mheredge said:

    Sorry @Practical_Severard, I didn't notice (my eyes!). But actually, I'm not sure that it even shows up on my screen highlighted much when you put a link.

    OK, I'll highlight my links in a way. You probably use a small screen.
    mheredge said:


    This looks right up my street. What beautiful scenery!

    Indeed. This is from the Commander islands. If it's like a view from your window then I guess that one might meet a brown bear in Promenade des Anglais. At least a sea-calf.

  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 49,060 ✭✭✭✭
    Thank you very much for putting these ideas into my head @Practical_Severard! It might not be possible to travel much yet, but at least this gives time to think about the places that are out there to be explored.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 49,060 ✭✭✭✭
    These two guides to Norilsk and Magadan were sent to me by a travel agent that specialises usually in trips to North Korea. (They also offer tours in Turkmenistan and a few other less usual places).

    They would be interesting save for the high price tag attached to the 8-day tours (excluding all flights). Have you ever been to any of these places @Practical_Severard? Certainly they sound very tough places. Part of me too, is a little adverse to visiting places where so much hardship was (and still) is endured.

    https://koryogroup.com/travel-guide/norilsk-russia-russia-travel-guide

    https://koryogroup.com/travel-guide/magadan-russia-travel-guide
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 3,157 ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2020
    Post edited by Practical_Severard on
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 49,060 ✭✭✭✭
  • amatsuscribbleramatsuscribbler Posts: 4,689 mod
    I don't usually post Telegraph stuff but this is quite an indictment. I had heard that Russia was manipulating their figures but didn't realise it was this bad. (Sorry you cannot access the whole article)
    https://telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/06/11/asks-russia-review-covid-19-death-toll-rare-rebuke/
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 3,157 ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2020
    This preview isn't very helpful. Could you copy and paste the main points of the article, please?
    Post edited by Practical_Severard on
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 49,060 ✭✭✭✭
    Unfortunately you have to be a subscriber to see the whole article @amatsuscribbler. But I found this useful Youtube that seems to have gotten around the problem @Practical_Severard.



    Is this an accurate reflection of the report in The Telegraph @amatsuscribbler? I think most countries have been unable to really report accurately on the pandemic. I don't think any country has really been able to come anywhere near assessing the real deathtoll especially those outside hospitals and care homes, nor the people who have died indirectly due to the virus like not obtaining medical attention in time for other problems.

  • amatsuscribbleramatsuscribbler Posts: 4,689 mod
    @Practical_Severard - I'm sorry I can't as Telegraph operates behind a paywall. And I refuse to subscribe to the tory mouthpiece! Having said that, they have been moving away from just spouting Cummings propaganda recently so maybe there is hope for England yet!

    @mheredge thanks - very useful.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 3,157 ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2020

    @mheredge thanks - very useful.

    mheredge said:

    Unfortunately you have to be a subscriber to see the whole article @amatsuscribbler. But I found this useful Youtube that seems to have gotten around the problem @Practical_Severard.

    This video mentions the June, 10 preliminary report by the City of Moscow's Healthcare department (though it fails to properly refer to it). Their figure has been calculated by a new protocol what effectively doubled the mortality rate from 2% to 3.8% (what is excellent anyway). Compare: New York: 10.7%, London: 22.7%, Stockholm 15.2%, Madrid: 21.5%. The protocol had been issued by the Russian Ministry of Healthcare (sic!).

    Some details on the protocol: The Moscow's May death figure: 15713, what is by 5715 more than last year. (9935 in 2017, 9808 in 2018, 9998 in 2019). In 5260 cases COVID-19 contributed to the death, either as the main cause (2757 cases) or as a factor (2503) of the deaths. Among those 2503 cases there are 433 people who had had negative COVID-19 results, both while they were living and in a post mortem, but a damage likely caused by COVID-19 was found.

    COVID-19 was a catalyst of a fatal decease in 980 cases (843 - blood circulation deceases, aspiration organs deceases - 73, other -63, I don't know proper English terms, though it's unlikely that I 'll need them ever again). An important this that Moscow had been doing autopsies in all the deaths.

    All of the above is actually my retelling of the original statement. What we can conclude:
    There had been two protocols an old and a new one, the both by a Russian government agency. WHO didn't object against the first one at first (nothing from them at that time, and Russia issued another one (on May 28), and the Ministry of Healthcare said in its statement "the protocol was worked out according to the WHO principles and has been sent to the provinces.". The Ministry also said that in Russia autopsy is done in 98% of the deaths.
    So
    1) It's not a situation of Russia's denying (Russia has done what WHO wanted it to do) Other regions' report may be expected to follow, because the guidelines were issued fairly recently. This is not enough data to update the national report yet.

    2) The criteria of the death from COVID-19 is questionable. If a person dies from cancer and he or she has the bug, how will you decide the cause of the death?

    3)Why would Russia want to massage the coronavirus fugures?

    4) There obvious to knowledgeable people differences between the Russian and the Western European situations:
    - foreign travel isn't that widespread in Russia, partly because of the visa restrictions, partly because of lower wealth level.
    - There is a wealth gap between Moscow and other Russian provinces (2-3 times)
    - There are way fewer seniors living in care homes
    - Russia did close the Chinese border as early as in February (though they should have closed all the international passenger traffic, especially from the Western Europe, as we have seen)
    - Russia does about 200,000 COVID-19 tests daily having a 142M population (I have an impression that the UK does less per capita)
    - Russia had 78.4 hospital beds per 10000 people in 2019 (Rosstat) vs England had 21.15 (141,000 beds per 66.65 mln people)
    - The Russian ventilators availability rate was higher than in the USA last time I checked.

    But there is indeed some figure massaging, the thing is, it's hard, maybe impossible to calculate. The doctors aren't independent from the local authorities and high figures isn't a pleasant thing to own up in face of Putin for any governor.


  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 49,060 ✭✭✭✭
    I think point number one is one of the most significant factors @Practical_Severard. As soon as China started to open its borders, immediately there was an upsurge in cases. Similarly in Nepal, they are now only started to get more cases as migrant workers are beginning to return in larger numbers.

    I think your point about old people's homes is also very significant. A very large percent of fatalities in France were in nursing homes, where it must have be nearly impossible to contain once someone contracted the virus.

    I am not so sure anyone has tried massaging the figures so much as each country has a different situation and are probably all counting in slightly different ways. For some time the UK was only reporting hospital cases.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 3,157 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:


    For some time the UK was only reporting hospital cases.

    Is an autopsy mandatory in the UK during the pandemic? If it were they could update the figures in future.

  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 49,060 ✭✭✭✭
    I don't know. I guess so @Practical_Severard. But also a lot of people have died due to other health issues that might have been treated sooner if they had sought medical help earlier, but didn't due to the pandemic. Those are impossible to quantify accurately.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 49,060 ✭✭✭✭
  • VokVok Posts: 2,640 ✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge would it help if someone is still a carrier of the virus?
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 49,060 ✭✭✭✭
    I can only guess that it lessens the risk @Vok but I can't imagine it is foolproof.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 3,157 ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2020
    Vok said:

    @mheredge would it help if someone is still a carrier of the virus?

    When I was checking it on the Russian Internet the search engine showed an ad that such tunnels were available starting from 6316 EUR for the simplest model. The company's site says that the tunnels are equipped with a a thermal camera to measure a person's body temperature. So the piece about the tunnel at the Putin's residence is a step to support local manufacturer, among everything else. A big company employing many people might purchase this equipment. Yesterday I was in the office, and my body temperature was taken twice during the day and logged. But there were not so many people.

    As for the people who visit Putin I'm sure that they're tested for COVID-19 in advance.
    Update:
    The 6316 price tag was for something imported from China.
    The Putin's tunnel doesn't test body temperature, just sprays a disinfectant.
    There are several vendors available. The Putin's supplier makes mostly assembly part washing machines. The CEO:image
    Post edited by Practical_Severard on
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 49,060 ✭✭✭✭
    I prefer not to worry about it too much. Life has enough stress without constantly worrying whether someone is going to give you the virus. So far apart from disinfectant to wash my hands, wearing gloves in the supermarket to pick up my fruit and vegetables, and wearing masks, I have not yet encountered any other things like thermal detectors or such tunnels as Mr Putin is using.
Sign In or Register to comment.