Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sakura diary (5)

19 April: Narita again: after circling back over the airport, the Airbus heads due north, tracking up the spine of Tohoku.

Looking through gaps in the cloud, passengers in the right-hand seat rows can play Meizan sudoku.

Over Hokkaido, the track turns slightly left, so that we coast into Siberia far to the north of Vladivostok. At first the big Siberian rivers roll brown with meltwater; after lunch, washed down with a glass of economy-class pinot noir, they’re frozen into silent braids.

We continue on this hyperborean heading, overflying nameless mountains, until Siberia’s northern coast heaves into view under the starboard wing, somewhere north-west of Norilsk.

The Barents Sea winks blue at this season; the water is open as far north as the eye can see. In just one place, though, ice-floes have crowded up on a lee shore.

Perhaps it's the pinot noir. Looking down on the brash ice, I so far forget myself as to think of ... white petals floating in an old castle moat. How mortifying: even at this distance, the cherry flowers have cast their spell. As they always will.

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