Time to go home, done as much as we could. Before I came here, Salekhard seemed impossibly exotic, ridiculously far away, and exactly on the opposite side of the world i.e. 12 times zones different. A dot on the map. After only a week, it seems very familiar, even if: Covered in snow Written in Cyrillic But normal, understandable. Drive to airport:
“Slightly” unusual to see large helicopters on apron along with planes waiting (pic 1437) … but this part of Russia is a vast frozen swamp underlain with more oil and gas than anyone can imagine. Much of Putin’s power comes out of the ground in this province. The indigenous people receive condescension and ‘civilization’, very similar to the Inuit on the North Slope of Alaska. Runway 22 in the middle of the flat forest (pic 1352) and we take off, gone, gone (pic 1356). Predictably completely horrible overnight in Moscow: litter, cement, rudeness, rapaciousness, worn carpets, noise. The indifferent shrug of the Capital of the Second World. Pushy mass of passengers in “Thug and Barbie” outfits at airport. 12 hours of Aeroflot, 10 timezones. Burst the bubble, emerge blinking. (pic 1359). Am greeted … yes, greeted! – at United Airlines lounge at LAX. Asian shredded chicken, avocado, glass of non-astringent white wine. (pic 1360). Thank you for sharing in my adventure. Apologies for pretension, loquacity, opinionation. I will go back to Yamal in mid-August. It will be *hot* (almost); green (or muddy or melted); and filled with smell, humidity, and biting-and-stinging insects. It will also not get dark.
That’s why we travel, stay tuned.