Monday, August 05, 2013

RTW2013 - introduction and index

The Russia tour is done, and finally written up.  Unfortunately, this was a much less DIY endeavor than going to Party.San, so instead of a thankslist, there are just the following endorsements before the section links.

- Real Russia.  If you need a Russian visa and/or train tickets and don't book through these folk, you must have someone on the ground in Moscow to handle your shit.  Not the cheapest, but definitely the most reliable and among the fastest, even considering that anything physical needs to be sent to London first.  If my recommendation isn't good enough, know that I got them from The Man In Seat 61, which has a recommendation from Helmut, and if there is an authority on doing badass shit with trains safely, it is surely him.
- RZD second-class/plakartny services.  Sure, you could go kupe.  You wouldn't meet any Russians, though, and there are still no showers in the first-class part of the train.  First-class, you're traveling through Russia.  Second-class, you're traveling in Russia.
- Hotel Vladivostok Amur Bay.  The new building on the hilltop is for falses.  Make sure you're booked into the one at Naberezhnaya 9.
- DBS Cruise Ferry Service.  You want to get out of Vladivostok, you don't want to roll the dice on Aeroflot, and you don't have the time to get to China by land, or to wait for the Chinese air traffic control to let your plane leave after you get there.  DBS gets you to South Korea cheap, or to Japan super-cheap, and the accommodations are better value than FESCO or any of the competing services.
- Gerber Remix, as it's apparently being called now.  I have a low standard for gear (if it works, is cheap, and doesn't break, I'm fine with it, which does not lead to a lot of endorsements that are useful for other people), but given that this is the only carry knife I've ever replaced with an identical model it deserves a rec.  The clip is strong enough not to get bent if it gets caught on something, the blade is long enough to be useful without being long enough to get you in legal trouble most places, the serrated section is super-useful for cutting through things that the blade won't get all the way through (or Russian traditional bread, which is dense and hard-crusted), the skeletonized metal handle is lightweight without being hard on the hands, the finger hole hinge is useful for extra grip and prevents the blade action from getting unnecessarily loose; in all ways, this is just about the perfect non-multitool field knife.  Just stow it real good going through security, even if it's a boat rather than a plane.

- Chinese air traffic control.  Seriously do not fly out of China their control is mental.  Some of this is about having too many people and businesses under the same chunk of airspace, some of it is them just not building slack into the system to deal with the shitty summer/fall weather.  If you're in China, get out before you make a connection with less than a four-hour layover.

Leg 1: Boston to Reykjavik to Helsinki to Moscow
Leg 2: Moscow to Ekaterinburg
Leg 3: Ekaterinburg to Irkutsk
Leg 4: Irkutsk to Vladivostok
Leg 5: Vladivostok and attempts to go to Ussuriysk
Leg 6: Vladivostok to Donghae
Leg 7: Donghae to Sakaiminato
Leg 8: Sakaiminato to Hiroshima
Leg 9: Hiroshima to Hikari to Miyajima and back
Leg 10: Hiroshima to Osaka to Guangzhou to Los Angeles to Detroit to Boston

These will fill in as they are written up, if the links are not active yet.

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