A 67 degrees below zero one can get a bit annealed. Little Diomede Island has a habit of punishing the visiting, is usually a bad mood, with twisted gesture on ice, polar winds puffing claiming his desire to be alone, lost to follow one of the corners of the world. Here, men we feel out of place.
We wanted to find the most remote Alaskan Eskimos, but the igloos have been melting in the heat of a heating subsidized by the state and to the cabins stationed on the banks of the rivers have been abandoned to their fate. The Eskimos pilgrimage south, to big cities where they find a human refuge and joy of alcohol, prohibited on Indian reservations in North America.
But, there is a place that still resists the weather and the reason. I do not remember which of us had the idea of traveling to the Diomede Islands. Anyway, there we drove a 25 Jan., after drinking three beers, two planes from Fairbanks and a helicopter from Wales, the westernmost city in America.
The largest of the islands belong to Russia and the U.S. Small, that was where we landed. Both are in the middle of the Bering Strait, one beside the other, the latest front in the Cold War Over the world who ever lived. Just three miles separate Asia and America at this point, three miles that some have tried to cross unconscious. In winter, the weather turns the sea into solid plates, in an area "walkable", but the capricious currents break the ice and engulf the dreamers and adventurers. Some intrepid also succumbed to attack by polar bears and other, simply, have died of cold, frozen.
They are in the middle of the Bering Strait, one beside the other, the latest front in the Cold War Over the world who ever lived. Just three miles separate Asia and America at this point.
These are just three miles but this is perhaps the most puzzling of the world tour. Whoever gets to avoid the risks and rewards reach a triple honor: walk from one continent to another on the sea, cross the border between West and East of the planet and also, time travel. The largest of the islands live on one day in advance about the Eskimos of Little Diomede. "Here you can hunt and eat a bear tomorrow today". The phrase is an American Eskimo, rifle in hand, guarding the white horizon Bering Sea. The line of the universal date change separates the two islands. This is, literally, World's End, and the end of the world is scary.
The village is inhabited by Diomedes 140 Eskimos live in houses frosted. Out, ice covers everything: the boats buried, the snow plows, roofs and to numb the eye of men.
We stayed at the school, sheltered from the radiators and the hidden face of the council of elders inquisitor Eskimos who were charged 600 per ride for his people with a video camera. The journalists were not welcome here and they showed all answering our questions with an icy silence as the landscape.
Those people were the children and grandchildren of former gunners, hunting of bears and whales, descendants of the warriors who were greeted with a rain of spears to the first European explorers. The Dane Vitus Bering Strait ended by naming the most widespread theory but claims it was the Russian Seimon Dezhnev the first white man to arrive in the islands. To us it did not matter, because in that place feels any pioneer, wherever a browser or timeless sense of time is unclear.
The paucity of the Eskimos was just one problem. The usual gloom to the recording did not help. Dawn at eleven and nap time it was dark, so every day we spent five hours between the beaches of ice and the two streets that cross the village. But the main adversity reached the North Pole: the wind blowing without restraint and conjured up in the cold to cause paralysis to every living thing floating around. Almost 70 degrees below zero wind chill.
At one time stood still, took off one glove and pulled his fingers something like a lens of ice which prevented him from seeing. He had frozen the liquid in one eye.
My camera operator, Alfonso, could hardly be handled with gloves, but they were insensitive hands in seconds. At one time stood still, took off one glove and pulled his fingers something like a lens of ice which prevented him from seeing. He had frozen the liquid in one eye. Then, replaced his glove and continued to record, without saying anything.
I had to make a presentation on camera, but could not vocalize because I was stiff from the cold. After several minutes came our producer, José Luis, I shouted to run to school. My nose and part of my face was completely white. They were the first signs of hypothermia. The cameras stopped working shortly after and had to thaw before continuing objective recording. That's when I asked: "What the hell am I doing here?”
And just at the moment, children came to play in the street, running on snow, making ice slides, disarming our morale of adventurers.
As the days passed, Eskimos gesture relaxed with our presence. Witnessed almost on tiptoe dances where the men play a drum made of whale guts and women seduce a few young people still resist on the island. It is a game where statistics can leave you without a girlfriend, without comfort and without a future.
Another man invited us to dinner polar bear meat, that has the texture of a steak anyone with a fishy aftertaste
After, walk through the town that nevertheless retains its church, his nurse and even a laundry, for the Eskimos do not lose faith, health and decorum in this place lost in the corners of a world map. Endure each day recording storms and enduring ice shrapnel shrapnel seemed to blizzard, Camera thaw often, stumbled in the snow and planted the tripod on solid waters of the Bering Sea, like someone sticks a banner to conquer impossible dreams.
Maybe that's why, those warriors, that and just playing war in the Play Station, decided that after all could help foreigners. Just ice fishing with one of the young and the same evening, another man invited us to dinner polar bear meat, that has the texture of a steak anyone with a fishy aftertaste. The weather also gave us a truce at the last moment and the ice gave in to a timid sun during the morning when we were, allowing us to glimpse for the first time the blue sea water more ruthless than I've ever seen.
Children gave us walrus bones and even the council of elders went to the heliport to say goodbye. As we took off, I saw them go the last greetings, the last stronghold of Alaska Eskimo, anchored there on the end of the.