KAMCHATKA, RUSSIA V

1/2/2022  

The week progressed with stops at small, locally significant museums. These facilities are monuments to special people who’ve done something memorable for the community. Whether it’d be a manufacturing revolution, an author of uncompromising insight into human tragedy, or an individual that held firm to overpopulation concerns by murdering 8 individuals on a rainy night. Without these buildings to keep the memories alive, the whole world would be non-descript, and people would have no pride in their homelands. A stop at the local Native Museum was interesting to say the least. A ritual of honor for some tribesmen was to place themselves between a full-grown, brown bear and their destination. Armed with only a spear, they try to infuriate the bear and get it to charge. As the 7’+ bear lunges at the 5’+ warrior, the base of the spear is stuck into a small hole. The charging bear impales itself as the hunter rotates the beast over his body. Sometimes(?), the spear tip does not penetrate into a lethal location on bear’s body and the end result is a thoroughly shredded Native. There is a fine line and a ton of blood between courage and suicide. Arts and crafts museums pepper small towns as televisions in that period of time were virtually nonexistent. Folk art is the pastime of hard-working humans just trying to stay alive in a cold and hostile habitat. Taxidermy museums are a way to see the creatures of Kamchatka in a safe, but sad, way as these mounts comprise the rarely seen species. Arctic fox, fur seals, reindeer, brown bear, and the magnificent Steller’s Sea Eagles are but a few species who mistakenly ventured into the lairs of biped killers. These static zoos allow city folk to visualize the size of the local fauna without threat to the inquisitive humans. Occasionally, partially devoured human cadavers are scattered throughout the remote Kamchatka Peninsula just to make it all even. Between museums, scenery, and smoking volcanos, wonders abound. 

TO BE CONTINUED…

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