The lady at the window tells me to wait. She is very nice and reassuring. She tells me not to worry. I think about all that the contempt with which, we, europeans, have treated the russian people. The refused visas, the accusation of prostitution, of belonging to organised crime, the uptight snobbish tone of french journalists Gilles Bouleau and Jean-Pierre Elkabbach asking Putin about his inhumane acts while their own country was massively dropping a asylum demands for Ukrainian refugees... like Jack the Ripper having an ethics debate with a gas chamber.
I will not get that visa, I thought. And hell if I understand. Had I been Russia, I would stamp a big fat fuck you on every european passport.
"Your russian is really good," says the consul and gives me the visa. A day early, in 9 days instead of 10 and without all the compulsory documents.
So what? Am I pro-Putin or something? I am not. He is a smart and possibly very talented leader but he is a fucking dictator. He spreads a lot of hate, for practical purposes maybe but I have become very critical of hate and dictatorships since Turkmenistan. There is little excuse for that.
And there is little excuse for mass-killings to preserve oneself by closing borders as we do in Europe.
We are made humans, not computers, we are supposed to make emotional decisions together with the rational ones. That is why, at the price of inconsistency, we are able to understand beautiful truths, ones that we could not appreciate were we purely rational.
I think I'd rather die with a conscience than live as a turing machine.
I take my visa and run to the center of Sapporo, to the HeartLand Ferry, for the last time. It is May 29th, 3 days left to go before I emerge in Russia. I hope they haven't changed their mind.
They have not. I am in that conference room again. I get ice tea instead of coffee because it's warmer now. After I show the visa, they give me the a white and pink piece of paper: the ferry ticket.
|Visa and ticket|
|I am picked up by a monster truck, North of Sapporo|
|The old lady comes from Sakhalin|
Mount Rishiri rises up from the left side and from the sea as if it were a spatial object. It grows up, as a floating mountain, you can't actually see it's base at the beginning, just it's top and it really feels fucked up. Everyone is crazy with cameras, taking pictures as if the object could disappear anytime as easily as it had appeared.
I have embarked on the first ferry but before, I have decided to make my bag lighter. I have hidden it under some rubbish between two buildings in Wakkanai, a little distance from the harbour. I had then met my friend from HeartLand Ferry who gave me a ticket addressed to "Mr. Hitchhiker Filip" which I guess, has a nice ring to it.
|Going to climb Mount Rishiri|
|The mountain in the sea suddenly appears|
|Seagulls are usually resting on the boats|
|The vegetation becomes thinner and I can see the sky|
|It's like I am flying|
|Strange flowers start to appear|
|I see the ferry leaving|
|Panorama of the top of Mount Rishiri|
|счастливо пути, nice Japanese effort in Russian language|
|Embarking on the ferry to Sakhalin|
|Goodbye Wakkanai, goodbye Hokkaido!|