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Experiences of a Dutch Journalist




Baptising the Sakhalin Times, June 2001

On the 7th of June, the first issue of the English language newspaper 'The Sakhalin Times' was published. It's a fortnightly for expatriates of four to eight A3 pages with news and events on Sakhalin. To celebrate this event, we had a baptizing ceremony according to Russian traditions in the pouring rain. This time, we didn't have the usual meat for shashlik. No, freshly caught fish.


Emile caught one, yes!!!!!! It's small though...


Guide Vadim managed to catch some of the first Cherry Salmons of the season. It has to be mentioned: he has been living on Sakhalin his entire life.


Guide Vadim is not only able to catch the salmon, he also knows how to prepare it.


This is Sasha. Apart from being the technical director of the travel agency 'Sakhalin Travel Group', he is my Russian business partner and owner of the newspaper.


We all enjoyed the freshly grilled fish. Our guides had put a cover over an old Russian frame to prevent us from getting wet.


Emile is having a conversation with driver Alec. Emile being 'cool' wearing his sunglasses, even though it is extremely cloudy. He had to keep up with a stressful wife in the process of setting up the paper. She didn't even have time to cook. He even had to iron his own shirts the weekend before the first publication.


Dennis was visiting. Although he was wearing the right clothing, he didn't catch any fish. At least the outfit helped to warm his hands. In the background Elena Halstead, who is the Kazakh wife of American lawyer Kregg. She is the only editor for 'The Sakhalin Times' apart from me.


Warming up near the fire. From left to right: Kregg Halstead, Elena, Emile and Willy, husband of Vera, who is doing part of the proofreading.


And this is what the whole party was about! Baptizing the first issue. According to the Russian tradition you have to do this with lots of alcohol. And then burn it. Funny traditions..... Second to the left is Sergey Vostorgov, who officially is the director of the newspaper.


The whole crowd, except for Sasha and Emile, who are taking the pictures. We've done the baptizing, now it's time to start thinking about the next issue.....