Thursday, September 30, 2010

The trip

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Warsaw. A painful cold morning of August 31 was in a deep contrast with it's preceding night. The capital did not let me down and bid me some pleasantly nostalgic farewell before "the trip of my life". Actually, the Mermaid was nothing more than an addition to my proper Farewell-er, but the city deserves some praise, too. A walk through the New World and the Cracow Suburb, ending with slowly finding our way in the Old Town's labyrinth. Tears of rain, lanterns, neon and city lights mirrored in the pavements. They were joined in their lustration by the all around polishness, coming out of every street. Copernicus, Mickiewicz, Insurgents '44, Workers '80, Defenders of the Cross '10, Piłsudski looking fiercely at Lenin and Sigismund at everyone from his column. And God from the towers. An impressive gathering, especially for a young, excited man with a feeling of getting more and more distant. Just some gifts for the Japanese (a teddy bear from Zawiercie bought in Warsaw), beer and lots of love. And now we can skip to the morning. Breakfast as heavy as the luggage. Not to mention the trip to the Chopin's Airport. Uncertainty; do I know everything, have everything. Farewell.

Moscow. My fears towards Aeroflot were fortunately unjustified. Fully professional, cold and to the point. Of course, pretty stewardesses, magnificent Russia advertised from the screens, decent meals. The pilot's voice sounded surprisingly understandable, sometimes I could forget it was a different language. Only a sickle and a hammer, cleverly disguised in the company's logo, made me remember who I was dealing with. Even before the trip it came to me that I was going to travel the same route some of my less fortunate fellow countrymen went in the past ages. A painful morning in Warsaw, then change in Moscow and further into Siberia. They say that some Polish noble man, imprisoned in Sakhalin, got free and (because he lacked any better options) sailed the sea on a stolen boat. This way he got to be one of the first Polish people in Japan. From my point of view - kind of funny. From his probably too. The western part of Russia seen from an airplane is a one big forest, and Moscow's city line - both impressive and dreadful. The airport hosted a massive wave of Japanese, probably going home after some Russian-European sightseeing. The Italian vulcanuses prepared a nice surprise for us (apart from me also Bartek, Tomek and our man from Lithuania - Jarek). A toast for our safe flight drank with vodka called "Putinówka", which had been bought in a tax free shop. I was also reading "Breakfast at Tiffany's" in the meantime. Why not?

The flight. More tiring than I expected. 37000 feet above sea level, 600 kilometers per hour and -40 degrees outside. I watch "Clash of the Titans" in Aeroflot TV and couldn't sleep afterwards. Wished I had chosen "Star Trek". And in the end this wonderful feeling that each and every second gets you closer to your goal. Sunrise over the endless ice plains is beauty itself. Mysticism, alpha and omega. It's not even worth trying to describe it; imagination is way better anyway. Especially that the picture is poor. And how's Japan seen from up above? It blinds with the morning sun, covered with fluffy clouds and the Ocean's lapis lazuli. But a tired man doesn't care for this beauty. He wants to sleep and eat, and drink. I would like to land again and again. In that moment I felt a dream coming true. You don't feel that every day, do you?

Tokyo. All big airports are the same, Narita too. Kana and kanji said "Welcome to Japan". Japanese passengers, until now quiet and calm, simultaneously began shouting, joking and telephoning. Feverish officers politely (but with some reserve) took our fingerprints, photos, checked the luggage and visa, asked for the visit purpose and where we were going to stay. There was a medical post in case of fever or diarrhea, but none of us attended. Keiko San from the Eu-Japan Centre (from now on called "The Centre"), who came to pick us up, was way nicer. Her smile filled us with optimism and strength. Nobody probably wants to read about tons of formalities and the gruelling trip to the hotel. People don't even remember that sort of things themselves. Sometimes, however, they recall it and say: "yeah, it was tough, but I made it". I made it, I'm in Japan. And I hope to stay for a long time, even though I miss home already.

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