|2005-02-14 - Complications
13 Feb, 05 - 17:33
GPS-pos: N67°34´ | E155°46´ | Alt: 8 M
It is Sunday the 13th of February today. -22°F and it is snowing with a heavy southerly, the reason for today´s milder weather. Due to a nasty cold we´ve stayed put today, in a small logcabin with Ivan and Pavel, at N 67°34´01.2 and E 155°46´56.5. We´ve done 25 km;s over the last two days.
During the last two days heavy slog, we´ve perspired enormously and therefore, we´ve realized there´s something not quite right. For this reason, it was no surprise during this past night when we started to shiver with fever, get headaches, a sore throat started, as muscle pains, coughing and a burst of sneezing and we knew we´ve been hit by a bad cold. Me, Mikael, is the worst off. Of course. The old man. We would badly need a few days indoors presently, to stop the cold from developing, but I doubt it will be possible.
We´ve realized that most people along the Kolyma have no doubts in welcoming us with open arms, offer us the best food and lodging the house has, but in general they hardly have food enough to survive themselves. So having two heavy eaters as guests, takes a heavy toll. Very understandable. They never say no when asking if we could spend another night there, but they become very uncomfortable. On top of that, they don´t think a bad cold is a reason for not continuing to do heavy work. And, as said, they have more than enough worries how to survive themselves.
Take Ivan and Pavel as examples. Ivan is the same age as me, 43, and has two grown up daughters living in Srednekolymsk and whom he´s solely responsible for, since his wife died a couple of years ago. He used to work in construction, but has been unemployed for many years. For this reason he has made his way out here into the wilderness, and to Pavels hut, for the sole reason to survive. Pavel on the other hand, has been a trapper a major part of his 53 year old life and is therefore used to living frugally. Together they spend their days fishing, setting up traps to catch fox, sobel, hare and, occasionally, they´re lucky enough to shoot a bear, moose or caribou. They live on Ivan´s savings and Pavels state pension, which is around 2000 rubles a month, approximately 60 dollars. For this reason, they make their way to the bank in Srednekolymsk every month and at the same time they stock up on necessities like flower, milkpowder, tea, cooking oil, butter, sugar, salt and far too many cigarettes. To get to the shops in Srednekolymsk, they ski many miles south of here to reach a reindeer community, where they set up a lift with a snowmobile.
They´ve served us hare- and fishcasserole and a variety of game soups. As delicious as always. And they´re as kind and generous as everybody else along the Kolyma, but they just can´t help us survive as well. The only negative aspects, on top of that, when it comes to living with people, is the indoor temperature they have. They just burn away amazing amounts of firewood day and night which makes an average indoor temperature at 86°F! This is neither good for sleeping or for bad colds. And they´re all chain smoking.
It seems like it is developing to a snowstorm outside. Not good at all. To pull these heavy pulks in this extreme cold, with a fever and a bad cold, it spells disaster.