Saturday, July 25, 2009

"Wild Russia"

Right now I am watching a documentary on Animal Planet called "Wild Russia", about a region called Kamchatka (Камчатка?), land of fire/volcanoes and ice.

In the previews for it, they had the title "Wild Russia" switch from Russian to English, sort of like train station signs change letter-by-letter. In their opening theme, they've got the following phrases:


I was quite amused that they mixed in Cyrillic letters for the R's and one of the N's. Yes, those are really letters..."Я" is pronounced "ya," and standing alone, it means "I". "И" is pronounced "ee", like the Spanish "y" or "i", and by itself means "and."

A couple notes from the beginning of the first episode:
Russia* = largest country on earth, more than 2x size of US, 6 1/2 million square miles
each region is a world of its own

300 volcanoes
far east of asian continent
peninsula, size of California, but only 4,000 people
hidden behind Soviet iron curtain until only recently

Following this episode was one on the forested region of Primorye, also in the east but more to the south. There are amazing views of the land, whether forests, volcanoes, plains, valleys...and yes, the animals are interesting too.

"Chipmunks bury food all the time, but their memory span is only 3 days, so they forget where previous hoards are." Ha ha.

*Ukraine is NOT part of Russia. I am NOT going to Russia (unless there is a CIS field retreat in Moscow). I am on the other side of the continent from these regions.

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