It’s 7:40am, Friday 24th of July and we’re waiting. We were due to leave at 7:00 with The Architect escorting us to the docks. Our ferry boards in 20 minutes and we still have to negotiate the dense traffic of Vladivostok’s early morning rush hour. The Brazilian has turned up late, he’s issuing orders to all of those around him as if he himself owned the operation. His motorcycle that has been provided by Yamaha is still sick, it sits on the back of the Vlad Moto flatbed truck. It’s been ridden to death, in 15,000Km of riding he’s failed to add oil to the engine, he’s failed to adjust the tension of the chain or even to coat it with oil. His chain had snapped some 200Km earlier, but the mechanics of Vlad Moto have fixed that for him. They’ve turned him a new rear sprocket for the new chain to run on, .. they’ve welded and braced his broken frame, … they’ve explained the basics of motorcycle maintenance to him, ….. but sadly they cann’t at such short notice replace the broken valves and camshaft that a lack of oil and an abundance of negligence have caused.
Rodrigo Fiuza now wants the Iron Tigers to transport him and his bike the 250Km to Zarabino where he’ll also catch the ferry to Korea, .. but hopefully not the same ferry as ours. Of course they’ll transport him on their truck, ….. because that’s the kind of people they are. His companion, .. the young man who flies ahead of him and arranges everything; hotels, currency, transport, food, visas, …. stands on, .. looking a little embarrassed and out of place, .. perhaps hoping that their journey will soon be at an end.
I make the decision to leave without our escort, .. The Architect apologises as if the fault is his own, .. I smile and shake his hand firmly. I use a valuable minute of my time to take the confident Brazilian boy to one side and I offer him several chosen words of advice, …. though I guess they’ll have little lasting effect. He is riding around the world on a mission of ‘Peace’ though I suspect that without an adjustment to his attitude, in places of lesser tolerance than this, … it will not be ‘Peace’ that is breaking out around him. As we ride out of the Vald Moto compound for the last time, I’m sure that I can hear Rodrigo calling out behind us, ……. ‘People, People, …. Where’s my latte?’.
We make the ferry and as intended board first, …. ‘first on, first off’. The ferry will take us to Slavyanka from where we will ride the 50Km down to the port of Zarabino and then onwards to Korea. The ferry begins to fill, .. a beaming smile appears from behind a row of densely parked trucks, …. It is The Architect. He apologises for not escorting us here, … we share a knowing smile and he wishes us both well, .. with deep felt meaning.