|2004-07-17 - Cloudy, the odd rainfall, warm
We’ve just spent the first night in weeks without waking up, worrying that something important has been forgotten regarding the logistics of what equipment we need and how to get it into Russia.
We’ve slept most of the day. We’ve also gone through the equipment to check if it survived the rough handling on the plane over, we’ve charged all batteries and we’ve read all manuals for the last time concerning our technical equipment. And we’ve spent a lot of time eating delicious Russian cuisine. And we’ve said no to all offers of the compulsory glass of vodka.
”If you don’t drink vodka”, explained an Italian adventuress whilst eating dinner tonight, ”you’ll never get close to the local people along Kolyma.”
All Russians at the table nodded in agreement. This could turn out to become a problem. Titti and I don’t drink alcohol and we don’t want to turn Johan into an alcoholic. We thought about it early in our planning stages and therefore contacted a well-known Swedish Siberia explorer, Ove Andersson, and he told us he had brought a document from his doctor who said he was suffering from a dangerous liver disease and for this reason couldn’t drink alcohol. We did the same a week ago. This we told people at the dinner table and asked if it would help us. They shook their heads and took another sip of vodka.
The Russian Adventure Club is a great place to stay. Exciting people turn up in the kitchen all the time. Two Greenlanders and a Dane turned up a couple of hours ago. They are attempting to be the first humans to make a passage through the Northeast- and Northwest Passage in an open motorboat. It is their second attempt. They almost stopped kicking at an accident last year. But they haven’t given up yet! On top of that, we’ve met Russia’s best known skipper, Nikolay Litau, who is the first one to do those two famous passages in a sailboat named Apostol Andrey. Meeting these people inspires you to go ahead even stronger than before!
Dmitry Shparo is of course the hub of it all. He’s open all these closed doors for all of us. But he is also of the opinion that the three of us have to drink plenty of vodka along the Kolyma to get close to people. I am not sure we’re ready to do that sacrifice. I mean becoming alcoholics to build a bridge between cultures…