Khabarovsk

It's on the border of China, near the Pacific. Khabarovsk is the provincial capital and the most economically robust of the far eastern Russian cities. Even though it is hundreds of miles inland from the Pacific it is an important sea port via the Amur river with aterminus of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Many call it the "Paris on the Amur".

 
The Parus Hotel, our home for a few days.  
An orthodox church a block or so away from the hotel.  
A young couple at the end of their wedding ceremony.  
A beautiful two-toned brick building typical of many here along the main street.  
A monument to the Revolution on the right. On the left is a close-up of the building above.  
Some long building across from the main square.  
 Another pretty facade.  
Part of the main square.  
The main regional government building, located just off the square.  
Al and Peggy Bundy, Amerikanski teeyahvee ambassators. They are on every night here. A local told me it's not so much that they get a lot of American TV as it is they get a lot of whatever is cheap.  
Looking across the Amur River. Just a few kilometers away is Red China. The floaters are ice chunks. The "smudges" are indications my spy camera is dying.  
The Amur River.  
More Amur River.  
The local fisherman. That big white chunk is beached ice flow.  
More Amur River fishermen.  
No cast fishing. The guy in the rubber raft is towing the fishing line out to the channel. The end of line has a softball-sized rock tied on to anchor it.  
They row out to the channel and drop the line. The line has a long leader on either end with a series of drops with lures every meter or so for maybe 30 meters. The fishermen jig the line for action and pull it in when a fish strikes. If they are lucky the rock at the end of the line will slide back down into the channel and pull the line back out.  
More beach, more fishing.  
A massive building on the bluff.  
The port docks in the distance. No ships today.  
An entrance gate to the river park.  
Some of the only Soviet era evidence we have seen. It says something like "Take Photo, Go Siberia".  
A "Boris Yeltsin Slept Here" plaque in our hotel. Take my word for it. The device on the right is a fire alarm.  

Another Guy Theory vindicated.

Evidence: Beaucoup kiosk venders have been selling pussy willow sprays all week.Today was the Sunday before Easter, Russian Orthodox Easter, making it Palm Sunday.

Theory: Due to lack of availability of palm frons in Soviet era the locals substituted readilly available pussy willows for the palm leaves.

Vindication: Confirmation by indiginous population. Eiher that or they told us something about pussy willows and planting them were the sun don't shine.

 What, you need a picture for everything? Just imagine about a dozen third meter long pussy willow branches bundled together.
Now off to the home of the Russian Pacific Fleet...