Page 82 - Litteratteur Redefining World December issue
P. 82

Litterateur redefining world                      December 2020

                                               Welcome to Vladivostok

                During the day the brilliant, warm sun on the landscape is inviting, primal, but
                as night falls, the shadows blend history and place, so that out among the
                faded trees it seems as if ghosts gather and wave as we ride past. This land
                wasn’t made for czars, I think, let alone presidents or general secretaries. It is
                the most untamed place I’ve ever been, though I haven’t really been “to” what
                we have come to call “out there” as much as we are passing through. Still,
                anyone  onboard  can  easily  witness  the  beautiful,  ancient  and  timeless
                sameness about it, its horror and tragedy, its heroism and redemption, and

                standing here now it is easier to believe that those historic and not so long-
                ago terrors along the rails were merely fleeting moments which never could
                take  hold  with  any  permanence.  Nature  wins,  as  always,  and  out  on  this
                majestic  stretch  of  rail,  where  Europe  lies  with  its  spine  against  the
                awakening  Asian  continent,  Michael’s  resounding  harp-playing  snaps  me
                back on board.

                Standing between cars is only slightly louder than inside any individual train
                car  because  despite  being  “sort  of”  outside,  these  spaces  between—the
                gangway  connections  as  they  are  called—are  designed  nothing  like  the
                locomotives  in  television  westerns  where  cowboys  leap  after  each  other
                across iron joints and passing tracks. These are mostly enclosed passages,
                pleasantly  cooler  than  the  hot  cabins  but  decidedly  not  exposed  to  the

                elements. Every
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