|2005-04-25 - The return trip
The return trip from Ambarchik to Chersky
24 Apr, 05 - 17:48
GPS-pos: N68°47´ | E161°22´ | Alt: 23 M
We´re back in Chersky. Spring has arrived, it is sunny and it is dripping from rooftops and winter roads have turned muddy. It is Sunday the 24th of April and we´re in the middle of packing all our gear together, ready to leave on Tuesday for Yakutsk.
I just experience emptiness right now. I feel run down, slightly miserable and somewhat somber. I feel totally drained of all my energy. After having spent almost 10 months, fully concentrated, suddenly it is all over. Just like that. I know from experience, this mood will stay until I once again meet my loved ones. And, I cannot forget how stunningly beautiful Ambarchik was!
Well, I guess, the return trip have something to do with this feeling of lowness.
We didn´t even have a chance to open our eyes the morning after our little triumph, before we heard snowmobiles approaching our camp on the ice. It was our friends from Chersky, Grigorij, the Chukchi, Vitaly the Yakut, our translator, Arkady, the Even, and they had brought along the Ukrainian Valodja, a legendary hunter of the region. They were all somewhat under the influence of alcohol. Arkady, the Even, even managed to headbutt me badly when we warmly greeted each other. Anyhow, plenty of vodka appeared from nowhere and we all managed to fit into our little tent, where we dined on straganina, bread and reindeer meat. The customary speeches where held in between toasts and tales of hunting from Valodjas career.
We set off on our return journey at 9 a.m. by snowmobile, making our way over the incredibly bumpy tundra, which was full of sastrugi. If we had flown a little higher, I am sure we would have needed a flying license. It turned out to be a real nightmare trip which took 15 hours. A mere 130 km:s. It took such a long time even if we traveled at full speed all the time. You see, a Siberian doesn´t slow down even if a big sastrugi turns up in his way, he just crashes straight into it and hope for the best. The main reason it took such a long time was due to that we stopped every half an hour to honor somebody with a glass of vodka. Each. We toasted everything from Lenin´s birthday to the invention of better spare parts for the Russian buran. And it felt like we visited every hunter in this vast area for another glass of vodka. We also visited two gulags, three graveyards and we even made our way up a mountain to visit a Chukchi reindeer camp where we were served a local delicacy - fried reindeer brain. Very tasty! We arrived in Chersky 2.30 a.m. and fell a sleep exhausted a few hours later. Conclusion, this return trip was both a terrible and fantastic. How very Siberian!
If all turns out well, e.g. the airstrip doesn´t melt away, since it is located on the ice of the Kolyma, we will leave on Tuesday.
A big press conference in Moscow is coming up. It will take place at the Swedish Embassy Thursday the 28th at 5 p.m. Press conferences in Stockholm, London and New York is also planned.
We will keep reporting until we step of the plane in Stockholm!