The Meaning

When I was little, I was told a bible story. TheTower of Bable was built to reach heaven. The people thought they could reach heaven by building a tower very high.

I read this story as an adult and found that their real reason had nothing to do with heaven. Nothing at all. The people were not even interested in heaven.

The enormous tower was a celebration of themselves. They built this tower to focus the people on their goal to have a central point. A city would surround the tower. A great city. They knew people would naturally drift apart and spread out. This tower would show that this group was going to do great things. They would work together and rule all the others.

They said, “We will make a name for ourselves!” Look there. We built that tower. It shows our power. We are the greatest people on this planet. Stay with us and feel our greatness.

If the beginning was stupid people doing something stupid then the rest made no sense at all. God wants to stop the project. What would he care about a tower that would never reach heaven?

God does something only God could do. He changes their one language into many unlike languages. He rewires their brains to a new vocabulary, new grammar, new structure of thought. This forces them to divide into groups by language for convenience. It would be too hard to overcome these language differences.

The people leave off the tower. Construction stops. They disassociate from each other and eventually move apart to various areas of the world. They become the beginning of nations. God wanted people to spread out on the planet.

Now the story has meaning. And many people want to be part of a big thing even now. They join groups to increase their power. They train armies. The make weapons. The conquer others. They form alliances. They make big groups of people who speak different languages. They still want to make a world governed by a small group with great power.

The story has meaning for today. The language thing worked. It prevented people from organizing into a one world order. But look! They are doing just that right now. They are overcoming the language problem with translators that work in real time. Just a short time ago, it was hard to translate a book and really get all the meaning to come through. Now you can translate something written two minutes ago in a country many miles away into your language with a push of a button. You read it and can respond in your language and they translate it to theirs.

Usaga Jima

Usaga Jima

It’s really called Okunoshima but Usaga Jima describes it much better: Rabbit Island. It’s near Japan, as you might have guessed.

It is home to hundreds of wild rabbits but that doesn’t really describe it. The Japanese who go there get a great deal of satisfaction from the rabbits.

Compare the Japanese to other visitors.

Not quite the same, huh?

You know, Japan isn’t full of small animals like some other places. So this is a zoo you can enter and the rabbits are surprisingly tame.

Some think they are descendants of test rabbits used in during WWII when the Japanese army was secretly producing poison gas there. Okunoshima was super secret and they even took the island off their maps. Rabbits were brought to the island in order to test the effects of the poison.

Now rabbits have the run of the place. And tourists get involved.

But are they the relatives of the test rabbits? Maybe, maybe not. Some prefer the story of schoolchildren bringing some rabbits to the island in 1971. Anyway, there are thousands now. And predators are not allowed.

The island is reached by ferry and is quite popular with tourists who can play golf, camp and spend time on the beaches.

The more serious minded can tour the former poison gas facilities or see the ruins of military buildings on the island.

Most apartments in Japan do not allow pets so this might be a way to hang out with small animals. You can buy food for the rabbits on the island.

Do you think this is better than a Museum of Poison Gas? I know I do.


The Journey Begins

The Journey Begins

St Petersburg – Russia – New

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Getting Personal

Adventures in Asia

Four Days on the Trans-Siberian Railway

London to Beijing by Train

Cold Yakutia by Doris Heimann

My Experience in Yakutia by Jorge Juan Sanchez



Travel Advice

Do children need passports?

Airport Security without Delays

Travel Tips for Overseas

Getting Ready for the Trans-Siberian


Can You Travel the Trans-Siberian Railway?



Mini History of The City




New ** Germanicus – Almost Emperor ** New





Noah or Cain

One reason we may have a hard time understanding the story of the flood is that we start with the wrong person. We start with Noah, right? But we need to start with Cain. Now Cain was a murderer. So why did God let Cain, an uncaring guy who solved his jealousy problem with murder, go out and pursue his life? Well, remember, his parents, Adam and Eve had chosen to live by their conscience. They wanted to use their new knowledge of good and evil to make moral choices.


The Marked Man

Cain had chosen to kill his brother and God told Cain he would no longer be a gifted farmer. Cain’s experience of killing his brother left him with the fear that he, himself, could be killed, too. God put a mark on him to warn people not to kill him. The life of a country farmer denied him, he built a city.


This community eventually produced artisans like Tubal-Cain who developed tool making using bronze and iron and his half-brother Jubal whose musical abilities included both stringed and wind instruments. Jabal chose a nomadic life raising livestock.


Why half-brothers?

Their father, Lamech, decided to have two wives. He had also made himself an exacting judge over wrongs done to him. He had killed someone for wounding him and said the punishment was high because he, Lamech said so. It was said that anyone who killed Cain would be avenged seven times. Lamech raised this to seventy times. He decided what was right for him and no one was to say otherwise.


While the descendants of Seth, another son of Adam, pursued farming, the descendants of Cain made choices that resulted in a complete breakdown of their society until it was described as everyone thinking about doing evil, all the time. Everyone made their own rules. The actions resulting from these evil thoughts are not described in detail but the result was this: the earth was filled with violence. Indeed it was corrupt because “all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth”.


The society did have well-known heroes but their acts are not detailed. There are several explanations for ‘the sons of God and the daughters of men’ but it could just refer to the two groups of people, those of Seth and those of Cain. That the descendants of Seth left farming to join in the new city-based society.

So, this society was a violent society. The man who started it had solved his problem with his brother by killing him and now violence was the solution to every conflict of every sort. Imagine a society without any government that allowed complete freedom to everyone to do anything. God was sorry he had made people. He had been moved when Abel was killed. He said the blood of Abel called to him from the ground. Now the earth is filled with violence that calls out to God. God sees complete corruption.

His solution: a flood.


Now, we come to Noah. Noah is of the direct line of Seth and has not joined in the corrupt society. God tells him to build an ark.

Noah does this with the help of his three sons but it takes a long time, maybe even 100 years. It says Noah is 500 before the flood and 600 after. The timing may relate to God saying, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”

Anyway, it is not an immediate flood. It is predicted by Noah with personal information from God. Do people know about it? I think it would make the news. Man predicts flood and is building large boat. But God does not tell Noah to go and inform the people. He tells him to build a big boat and gives him detailed instructions for doing so.


It says in Hebrews that Noah demonstrated his faith and so condemned the world. Peter says the God waited patiently while Noah built the ark. So people had time to repent and change if they wanted to. In fact, when the flood came, it wasn’t instant death for everyone. I’m sure you had some time to repent if you really wanted to.

But it was for the sake of people that God removed a completely corrupt society. All the people would have died anyway and probably violently. There was no way to reform this situation except with a new beginning. There was also an element of purging the earth itself and a new start for wild animals, birds and cattle, etc.


How many people died? It does not say. It says eight survived. How widespread was the flood? Big enough to end all life in the area. Did it reach to Australia and drown kangaroos? You tell me. When did it happen? Really unknown. Some say 5,000 years ago; others say 50,000. Adding up dates or time lengths in the Bible is a waste of time since that is not their purpose. They are there to show continuity not time itself.

But again, the purpose of the flood was to give mankind another chance, not to get rid of people. Peter points to a future where the Earth will again go through a dreadful transition to prepare for a very different way of life on earth. He says the flood was an example of this kind of change. Many, but not all will die before the new order predicted will be implemented.


Preparation for this is clear. Jesus has made things clear to all who listen. Believe him. God is willing that all would be saved. We just have to find out what He means by saved.

“No one comes to the Father except through Me” is not a restriction but rather an open invitation.

“I am the Door”. And the Door is open to all.

He is not willing that anyone would perish.

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Russian Volcanoes

Russian Volcanoes

Volcanoes! Lots of volcanoes! You can ski down some. You can climb down into a crater and examine a green acid lake. You can warm your toes on a toasty beach on a chilly day or swim in a warm clear lake on an icy day. These are the volcanoes of the Russia Far East in Kamchatka.


This mile high volcano was really active in 1991. But now you can ski down it.



The beautiful waterfall is well worth seeing but is a giant icicle in the winter.



Maybe it’s the biggest in the world at 16,000 ft. It is fantastic with cracked sides and lava streams and the top is covered with ice. The eruption of 1978 filled the crater with lava. Strong eruptions shook it again in 1993 but it’s much tamer now.



This was really going nuts all through 1975 raising ash columns up to 9 miles high. 3 billion tons of lava spread for 3 miles. Observers dodged volcano bombs, large hunks of flying hot rock that explode on impact, as they tried to keep their notebooks from catching fire. It finally quieted down leaving an amazing turquoise lake.



Since this one is only 40 miles from the city, you can go and look down into the caldera and see this green lake.



One part has a hot, sulfurous lake. But below you can see Lake Dalnee, full of fresh, pure water.



Look down 650 feet to it’s green, warm, opaque lake full of sulfuric and hydrochloric acids. Some brave the descent to stand on its flaky black beach and watch the emerald, poisonous waves. Stay too long and you may start coughing.



This one ended the last millennium with two years of explosions, kicking up ash and tossing exploding rocks. Karymskoe lake, 4 miles away from the volcano, had giant waves of boiling water. It turned Lake Karymskoe from an ultrafresh water body in to the world’s biggest natural tank of acid water.



The thermal springs of Lake Shtubelya form its “Hot beach” with it’s warmed sand. The river Talaya, flowing out of caldera, forms a waterfall.



These “steamy lands” crack, smack, whistle, puff and pant as though they are alive. Lake Bannoyeis stays hot all winter with a bottom of molten sulfur.

See several Kamchatka volcanoes erupting in news video

Evenks ride reindeer to work

Evenks ride reindeer to work

Evenks live in the evergreen forest of the mountains of Siberia.


They had light conical tents, excellent skis, and light clothing. They were very mobile. And reindeer need to move around a lot to find their food.


The Evenks tamed reindeer and rode them using special saddles.They did not eat their domesticated reindeer but they did hunt and eat wild reindeer.


Evenks kept warm with a loincloth of soft reindeer skin around their hips, along with leggings and long supple thigh-high boots. They covered all this with a deerskin coat.


Evenki had some facial tattooing.


Evenki, when hunting wild deer, attracted them by making sounds with an instrument, sounding like a deer.


Evenks relied on shamans to protect thems. The shaman looked mysterious with his long uncombed hair in his ceremonial coat. His face concealed with a painted mask, he beat his reindeer-skin covered charmed tambourine.


An Evenk mother would ask Mother Earth for permission to put up her tent. She would make a fire and brew some tea. She would then turn to her baby hanging up in its wooden baby seat. The child is dressed in a suit made from soft rabbit fur. She unties a flap to change the disposable diaper made from moss. She then gives the baby some reindeer milk and mash.


The tent living space was tiny and was very neatly and carefully arranged. They all bedded down in sleeping bags heads to outside and feet nearest the fire.


Wooden store houses were built on stilts and anyone passing by could take something out of someone else’s store house, but they were expected to leave something in return.


More about the reindeer


Sami – Reindeer People of Europe

Sami – Reindeer People of Europe

The Sami people live where the sun never sets in summer and stays below the horizon in winter.


They covered the northern two-thirds of Scandinavia. Their life was herding reindeer.


The Sami are the only people to be split by four different countries, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.


The Sámi are also known as Lapps.


Though many Sami are Christian, in the past, the shaman connected them to the spirit world with his drum and magic.



Reindeer herding demands a nomadic lifestyle because the reindeer graze the snow-covered lichen fields quickly and must move on to find more food. Sami lived in tents or turf huts as they migrated with their herds.

Now, the remaining herders travel with their reindeer while their families live in permanent modern housing.


The Sami sing to the reindeer.


Pregnant women have learned not to have their babies in the middle of the hunting season because the only local midwife is away hunting.


Never ask a reindeer owner about how many reindeer he’s got.