|2004-07-27 - A sunny and very hot day
The positive aspect of life during these last days of planning before the true Expedition start, is that there’s no room for neither the joys nor sorrows of life. Therefore I haven’t had time to long for my beloved Titti.
For the first time since we arrived in Magadan, we’ve slept more than five hours. It’s been a major problem adjusting ones body to Magadan time. Until this past night we’ve awoken at 3 am every morning, after merely 3-5 hours sleep. We aunt complaining, but that’s a fact. So when waking up at 7 am this morning, we hit the Russian studies immediately for two hours, followed by an interview by the biggest local TV-station here in Magadan. An interview which we’ve just seen on a black-and-white TV. We came third on the headline news. Just after the problem that the city is experiencing with garbage all over the town and the creation of a spa on the outskirts of town. But before the weather report. This was our second appearance on Russian TV since our arrival. It is an interesting way to study the ways of life. There are two different types of journalists. One older journalist from the Soviet times and than a younger variety from the new Russia. They’re, like the Russian society as a whole, split in two parts. The Soviet era ones, they ask questions like: Why do you do it? Are you aware of the major problems that exist in Magadan and our society? Do you understand the dangers facing you along the Kolyma River? And they never question your motives. The younger ones do. And they think it’s exciting and they wish they had the guts to do the same. We noticed another curious occurrence during our press conference in Moscow. For example, when the young journalists asked us a question, we noticed that the older ones didn’t write down the answers, and it worked the same way when the old ones asked ask questions, the young ones ignored the answers!
After the interview, Wes continued working out the logistics together with Dr Arkady Maximov how to get transported to the source of the river Kolyma. No easy thing. It is at least 450 km:s of extremely poor roads and we have no idea yet where we will end up. And we’ve realized that we’ve probably undervalued the true distance we have to paddle until the arrival of the winter ice will make paddling impossible, since we have to start far up a parallel river which eventually will end at the source of the river. On top of that, we’ve gone through the logistics of how to be rescued if something happens. Utterly boring subjects for us, but since none here believe we will make it all the way, we have to suffer…
We’ve spent the rest of the day exploring the shops in Magadan together with Natasha Maximova. We’ve searched for frying pans, plastic cups and barbeque wire. One thing is for sure, one is never too old to learn! Even though we always make the same mistake, believing in people living far from the actual place, we figured people in Moscow new what they were talking about when it regarded Magadan and the possibilities to find decent gear in town. They said that Magadan was falling apart and that it would be impossible to find anything modern. The truth is that you can find anything needed for an explorer here! Digital cameras, lithium batteries, medicine, axes…name it, you’ll find it in Magadan! Even cheaper than at home. The problem is finding non modern things like plastic mugs..they only have Teflon mugs and such…and steel wire….. Every day is another lesson in the hard school of life!