"I lived the happiest life in Baghdad," said
Sindbad, "until Devil talked me into traveling."
I was a schoolboy when I first discovered a certain fact about my country. The further you traveled from Moscow, the more interesting the Nature and people's lifestyle were. From studying literature I knew that the most remote areas were full of wonders. But getting to them wasn't easy. I served full time in school, became a university student, and only than found the ways to visit these mysterious places: Russian Far East, Pamir, Turkmenistan, the High Arctic.
In May 1986, after six hours of flight and a day of bus rides, I finally entered Ussuriland forest. At first it looked very much like any woodland around Moscow, just with different species of plants and insects. A walk through dense undergrowth took me to a small river with cascading waterfalls and rocky shores. Right in front of me, hidden among fern-covered granite rocks, was a tiny emerald-green pool. In the middle of it a Mandarin duck was floating, bright as a painted toy.
Now I knew I'd finally made it to the Wonderland. And it wasn't long before the adventures started.
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