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Columbia, South Carolina
May 13, 2004     The Columbia Star
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May 13, 2004

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1 2 o MA 1 3. As we approached Vladivostok, I expected a gloomy gray city full of broken-down Russian cars and slovenly people sadly looking down at their worn-out boots. Stories I had read emphasized the bad weather, repressed peo- ple, and the dismal naval base where Russian trawlers docked between spying trips to California. And more recently, roaming bands of Mafia thugs. The city had been founded in 1859 by a Russian count on board his steamePAmerika. He named it Rule the East, Vladivostok. It was to be the warmest deep water port of the Russian Far East, the place from which the tsar's troops could leverage them- selves between the Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese. Vladivostok had been heavily bombarded during the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905, and used as a supply base for the Russian Army at the beginning of WWI. During the Russian Revolution, it was where the White Russians were supplied by American, British, and Japanese ships. Between 1918 and 1922, troops from these nations.stayed to rescue the fleeing tsarist sol- diers. Between the world wars, the city prospered as a port and shipbuild- ing facility. During the Great Patriotic War (WWII), Vladivostok was a major supply station for the war against the Japanese in Manchuria. Some 25 ships were sunk in the harbor with 30,000 Russian sailors aboard them. With the heating up of the Cold War, Vladivostok was sealed off from the outside world as it became the home base of the USSR Pacific Fleet. Foreigners were prohibited, and Soviet citizens had to have special permission  to enter. In 1986, Gorbachev announced plans for a new "wide open window on the East," and Vladivostok was opened to the world in 1992. As we rode down the penin- sula that straddled two huge bays, I quickly real- 20O4 ized that my image of this Ruler of the East was wrong. Vladivostok is a major Pacific Rim city, a cosmopolitan city that is sucking up the commer- cialism of Japan and Korea. Overweight capi- talists bathed along the beaches. Well-dressed young men played chess in garages full of brand new Toyotas, Hyundais, and Nissans. Women in mini-skirts strolled the streets with cell phones dangling from their necks. Children drove go-carts through the city square dodging tourists leaving the submarine museum. Teenagers took drags on cigarettes between skateboard runs beside the World War II memorial. Weddings with musicians, photogra- phers, flowers, and well-wishers were every- where. What a pleasant surprise! Vladivostok, Ruler of the Russian Far East. (Next week: Vladivostok, Eastern terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway) Travel Adventure THE C o L U M BI Travel by Warner M. Montgomery The Trans-Siberian Railway Part 28: Arrival in Vladivostok Young men played chess in a garage housing brand new Korean and Japanese cars. This is the only beggar we saw on our Trans-Siberian trip. The woman is lecturing the young boy and sending him away. This wedding was taking place on Eagle's Nest Hill overlooking Vladvostok. I I I II Huge Garage Sale Help abused and abandoned animals ..... May 15 8 am-3 pm 1813 Laurel Street SQ Rescue Call Mary Key Escue, 788-1889. Contribute only lawn mowers and fumiture SQ Rescue is a nonprofit organization to rescue abused and aban- doned animals. Animals are spayed or neutered and put up for adop- tion. For more information, visit II II II I III IIII FRANK PRICE PERSONAL AUTOMOTIVE "Aside from the fact that you pleasant andaccommodating, KNOW what you're talking Thank you!" owner, 2001 For a car buying experience second to no , 732-1150. With 20 years experienge, Cash or good credit only, please. WWW.FRAI YOUR AUTOMOTIVE A 732-U50 mail @ frankpricecompanY, I I I i