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jorge's Travel log

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Hola Viajero!

Log entries 101 - 110 of 114 Page: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Feb 18, 2006 09:00 PM Moorea Island

Moorea Island It is my second visit to this lovely mountainous island of the Society archipelago. It is Sunday and I go walking to the church, a few kilometres far from the pier. Some stop their cars offering me a ride, but I gently decline because I want to walk on the terra firma, to feel it under my sandals, tired of the ship. People are very faithful and after the service they invite me to participate in the appetizers, cakes and coffee prepared in an improvised table besides the church. Usually in churches, synagogues, Hindu temples, Buddhist pagodas and mosques you can observe the real life of the locals. I always visit all the religious places of the locals when I travel to a new town, and integrate with them, whatever their faith.
In the supermarkets they do not sell beers on Sundays; it is forbidden. I buy a fresh coconut and make a trekking to a traditional village up the mountains. In the afternoon I return to my ship.

Feb 17, 2006 09:00 PM Fakarava Island

Fakarava Island The locals are waiting the tourists in the pier to give them flowers. Fakarava is an atoll very flat; people are aware that within 20 years the atoll will be swallowed up by the waters, but nobody wants to migrate to Tahiti. They prefer the quiet life of their tiny islet.
They sell beautiful black pearls very cheap. I buy some for my daughters.
The beaches belong to the islanders and you need to ask permission to have a bath. They are all nice and always grant it.

The Maxim Gorky navigates the whole night to arrive to the next island in the morning.

Feb 15, 2006 09:00 PM On board the Maxim Gorky

On board the Maxim Gorky The routine of the Maxim Gorki is tiring me. I do not like bingo, cards playing, lessons of Russian language (I do not need them), classes of foxtrot and some other boring activities on board. The photographers are annoying me; they take pictures of you everywhere, in every corner of the ship, having dinner, dancing, drinking vodka, in the Jacuzzi, etc., and then try to sell them to you for 5 euro each. I did not buy any picture. I read, eat, walk, look at the beautiful and illuminated map on board the ship, meet my Russian friends in the night and wait impatiently for my next destination, the Tuamotu Archipelago.

Feb 14, 2006 09:00 PM Pitcairn Island

Pitcairn Island The captain decides to give us 3 hours time in Pitcairn. Hurrah! I feel in the Seventh Heaven! Everybody is happy; however, out of the 600 tourists in the Maxim Gorky less than 80 want to disembark. Most of the Germans just want to relax and are satisfied with looking at the island from the swimming pool drinking Martinis.
There is no asphalt in the island and the Pitcairners have motorbikes with four wheels to climb the sloping hill up to Adamstown, the capital of the island.
I managed to visit all the main tourists’ attractions of the island: the tomb of John Adams, The Town Hall, the cave where Christian Fletcher received the visit of an Angel, the old Bible in the Church, and the new museum. In the Post Office I did not forget to send several postcards to my daughters.
It is very hot; I am sweating all the time. The drinking water is for free in the main (and only) square of Adamstown, with a population of 47 people that day of my visit. I only saw 6 children.
When sailing, I seat in a hammock in the back of the ship and watch the beauty of the mountainous island until it disappears from my visual horizon. I had a warm feeling of déjà vu. Then I felt hungry as a wolf and went to the restaurant to eat lobster with caviar.

Feb 12, 2006 09:00 PM On board the Maxim Gorky

On board the Maxim Gorky Now we have to navigate for two long days to Pitcairn. I am preoccupied. I am making this journey especially for Pitcairn because the rest of the islands I know them already from past travels. In Pitcairn there are not airports and is considered by many The Travellers Holy Grail. There live the descendants of the famous Mutiny of the Bounty. In every cabin there is a TV and always shows the film The Mutiny of the Bounty, by Marlon Brando. During this cruise I have already seen it at least ten times.

I am not hungry because of my worries about Pitcairn and eat little, just some Russian kapusta, blinis with caviar and fruits in the evenings on deck. If I do not disembark in Pitcairn will suffer a lot; it would be the first time in my life that my traveller star abandon me, because I always managed to get in all the hard reaching destinations that I planed, even forbidden or dangerous. I threatened the captain to jump out of the Maxim Gorky to swim until Pitcairn, and wait there for another cruise to rescue me to the Gambier archipelago. He requested me to be patient and to trust him. Every day we meet and soon we become friends. He was born in Saint Petersburg, then Leningrad, but served as a soldier in Vladivostok, a city that I know very well and he feels nostalgia when we talk in his mother language about Russia. He advises me that during 12 years he could never disembark the tourists in Pitcairn with the Maxim Gorky because of the treacherous waters surrounding that island. Nevertheless, he will try to make an especial effort this time and help me to land in Pitcairn to accomplish my dream.

That night I asked the four sparkling stars of the Southern Cross, close to the Centaur Constellation, to help me to disembark in Pitcairn.

Feb 11, 2006 09:00 PM Arrival to Eastern Island

Arrival to Eastern Island All the tourists organize excursions to the island. Not me. I was already there for a week a few years ago and know all the moai statues by heart. I will just walk around the main town.
But suddenly the captain informs that the ship, owing to the bad weather conditions, will only navigate around the island. It is not possible to land with the small wooden boats or even with the zodiacs because of the high tide. Some locals risk reaching our ship to sell wooden figures representing the moai to the German tourists.

Many German tourists are disappointed because most of them bought the cruise especially to attain Eastern Island. I talk seriously with the captain to be sure that in Pitcairn he will disembark the tourists. He promised me to make all his best.

Feb 09, 2006 09:00 PM Life on board the Maxim Gorky

Life on board the Maxim Gorky Life on board the Maxim Gorky is pleasant during the first days. You can eat as much as you want. There are several restaurants and you can choose the food, German and Russian. Every night there are shows, classic music, clowns, dancing of salsa, chachacha, tango and foxtrot. There is a young German opera singer, whom I call Castafiore, interpreting the old hit song Lili Marlen in the nights. I like her voice very much and always listen to her songs. She knows of my interest and thanks me when we coincide in the ship corridors. Later I go out for watching the starry sky with my Russian friends once that they have finished their work.

Cruises are not my style of travelling but there are some islands where the only way to reach them is by boat, expensive boat, although I managed to pay much less than usual in this trip on the Maxim Gorki. Men are all dressed with neckties and the ladies exhibit their best clothes and jewellery. All are very well perfumed. I tried to pass unnoticed in the middle of that elitist atmosphere.

Feb 06, 2006 09:00 PM Arrival to Callao

Arrival to Callao The ship Maxim Gorki will remain two days in Peru. The customers are Germans and the staffs Russians. I go every day to the Plaza de Armas, in Lima. A taxi charges about 4 dollars, but I prefer to mix with the locals and board a crowded bus, together with women carrying their children on their back and bags with chickens alive. The centre of Lima is taken by the army; there are tanks and soldiers everywhere. If a vendor in the street wants to offer me some souvenir, he first asks for permission to the armed soldiers. I buy some old coins to a young boy and give him a tip because he was barefoot. The old Spanish wooden balconies around the square are a wonder and considered as such by the UNESCO, as well as the Cathedral.

I drink a pisco sour and return to my ship.

Dec 14, 2005 09:00 PM at minus 41 degrees centigrades in Yakutia!!!

at minus 41 degrees centigrades in Yakutia!!! From Vladivostok I took the transiberian train, then the BAM (Baikal Amur Magistral) and then further north into Yakutia or republic of Sakha until Neriungri. To get to the capital of Yakutia, Yakutsk, a city founded in 1632 by the russians, I had to fly. I do not like planes because you miss a lot, but the roads were closed bnecause of the cold, minus 50 in the night, daytime minus 41, yesterday minus 37! my eyes are frozen, and, sorry, but other parts of my masculine body too are frozen!
People take for armenian, there are daily flight to Erevan and to Harbin. My friends in Khabarovsk gave me an old chinese shuba to protect me from the cold. They advised me Take care with the yakutsk. But my friends here in Yakutsk, all yakuties, advised me Take care with the Russians!!
There are shamans. Yakutsk belong to the turkish people, like uzbekies and azeries or from Tannu Tuva. They are nice. All are fat, very rich. Every 100 metres you find a shop selling diamonds. Diamonds is the first industry. Yakutia is the coldest place in the northern hemisphere.
Some yakutsk sell figures made from mammoth teeth, and the deer meat is delicious. all the yakutos wear boots made with deer fur.
Yakutia is over 6 tiimes bigger than Spain, with its 3 millions square kilometres.
Yesterday I visited the cathedral and the museum. Today I will visit a diamond mine.
the old fortress by Semion Dezhnez, the russian explorer que first came to Yakutsk, was burnt down, and now only remains a tower. Many houses are made on wood. Yakutsk is nice, very pleasant town. The river Lena, one of the longerst in Asia, 4400 kilometres, is frozen, people open a hole, listen to the radio, drink beer and fish throughh the hole!
women are beautiful, but a little fat. their nose is flat, small, but they smile at you. the hotels are expensive if you are not clever. i took a hostel near the airport, thanks to my friends armenians and yakutsks, and pay about 6 euros a night, well, for 8 hours, because they rent the rooms per hours. so al day I walk, there is no sun, all is dark from 4 PM untill 11 AM next day. I visit diamond shops and eat deer meat daily and play chess with the armenians.
Last night my friends yakutsks played for me a musical instrumento, looks like a spoon, they introduce it in the mouth and make it vibrate, it is called something like khomus. I also drink kumis, a liquor made from the milk, very popular also in Kazakhstan, and my armenians friends offer me cognac Ararat against the cold.
But I am enjoying the town.
Now, what follows in my journey is personal. Day after Tomorrow i will fly to Novosibirsk to meet my daughter Anushka and spend the catholic Christmas, then to the border with Mongolia I have to visit a friend, her mother died recently and she asked me to visit her.
All is personal, not interesting for you, so I will close my travel log here and will write you again from Callao, the port of Lima, the 5th february 2006, and will tell you about my trip to Easter island, Pitcairn, Tuamotu, Marquises, etc.
Do svidania rebiata, and happy new year 2006 (i will show you pics of Kurils islands from Novosibirsk, Anushka has a computer that I bought her last year)

Dec 09, 2005 09:00 PM Kurils islands and the Russian Soul!

Kurils islands and the Russian Soul! It was very very hard to get in Kurils islands. First of all, even russians need a Propusk, or special permit. The islands are vindicated by the japanese and are populated mainly by soldiers. There are some islands that are secret, you do not find them in the atlas. I was in one of them.
I went to the police in Sakahlin and after 3 days I was granted the Propusk. Then waited during 3 days the boat in Korsakov. The boat was small and the conditions on board very different than the cruises in the Bahamas. I got tired of the boat because in the secret islands I was not allowed to get off the boat. I wanted to touch the Kurils, and not only see them. In Kunashir I could walk around the harbour. There are many japanese. Putin opened the Kurils to the japanese, without Russian visa, and russians can visit Hokkaido island without visa also, There are even ferries between Korsavkov in Sakhalin and Hokkaido island, weekly.
Here people are natural, everybody invites you. I do not go to hotels (there is only one in the island from where I am now writing, ITURUP, in the city of Kurilsk, with plenty of soldiers in the streets). People are interested in europeans. The journalists made me an interview as the first Spaniard to visit Kurils islands! Every night I have a different invitation. Last night was the Police chief and his wife. There is no asphalt, the islands are little developed.
Iturup is the biggest island. In Kamchatka there are 28 volcanoes, but in Kurils over 40!
The bears do not yet sleep, but they do not attack people, they eat fish and fruits in the forest, sometimes you see them walking in the streets looking for fruits. There is snow, but it is not so cold as in Kamchatka.
Now I am waiting for my ship to Vladivostok. The weather is good, no much wind. From Vladivostok I will go up until the Republic of Sakha, or Yakutia. In Yakutsk I want to visit a famous fortress. I need to buy more clothes, especially what russians call kalson, because now in Yakutia they have minus 30 degrees. The houses in Yakutia are very solid, one metre width, and they have 3 windows. They do not use regrigerators. The food is put between the second and the third window throughja small door called forteshku.
Do svidania tovarishi!
pls, do not miss my next report. Will I get to the cold republic of Yakutia with only one trouser and without shuva... will I meet my budhist friends followers of the Dalai Lama in the monastery of Kizil in Tiva.... will I leave Russia through the dangerous Georgian Military Pass in the Caucasus....

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