the 7 in the beginning could be also an 8.
I wanted to update the Blog all the time but the final date the 24th of April was approaching faster and faster. Well I did not tell you yet but finally we got a ferry ticket were we can go together with the car on the same ship, which is more preferable since we can observe the car and in Vladivostok we can pick it up next day. I am still little bit sad that we could not visit our friend Yung Sun in Seoul by choosing this way.
Every day I was working at the car inside and outside, building a strong second roof carrier for the two spare tires, setting up a third battery for the power converter and building inside additional tanks of 150 Litre diesel, 100 litre water, something like a shelf for our stuff and especially the tones of Japanese food we bought. In the night we normally met friends to say good bye, which is for Kotomi quite hard since she do not know exactly when she will see them again. But at least most of them promised to visit in Germany and I hope they will come.
Everyday I was going to the do it yourself shop. Everybody around our home knows us now and they visited every day just to say how sorry they feel and that it is so hard. I always said it is interesting and it is indeed. At my work I basically sit in front of the computer have to use my head only, but this time I have to use my hands and my head, that is actually much more fun and I can see how something is crowing, you can see the progress step by step. If you are programming and doing research you can see your progress on the paper or at the screen or in some numbers, it is not really something you can touch even if you are happy that you succeeded. Anyway here is the result of 3 weeks work, still a lot of things fast and dirty but I hope it works out.
Finally we started at the 23th at 3 am in the morning without any sleep having 10 hours drive ahead. Since Kotomi just made her manual driving license she did not want to drive in Japan, which means I had to drive all the way until Fushiki at the west coast of Japan where the ferry will start. Actually it is only a distance of 360 km, but half of the way we do not used the highway which means you have to stop every fuuu… 50 meters at a traffic light. I had to stop several times since I got really tired and had to stop in the morning o sleep for a while.
We managed to do all the custom stuff, loading (actually 5000 Yen) and then we went by train to Kanazawa to meet our friend Shoko San from Tokyo at John's house. Here we enjoyed to see this really nice and huge family (around 25 people).
At 24th we went together with Shoko San and her kids back to Fushiki where the Ferry started. The ferry was almost empty that means we were really lucky that we could get this ticket since they may not go if they have fewer passengers. The first contact I got was the ship entertainer Jury which is around 50 years old and he explained me that this is the last Russian passenger ship of former 15 ships. The Russian "business men" sold all the others to countries like China, Australia … around the world. That means he is the best entertainer on Russian passenger ships since he is the only one (:). Basically he lives on this ship which is actually called Rus. He is buying Japanese stuff in the yahoo auction and preferably the older stuff since this stuff is most robust, the new things are made in China and the Russians do not want to buy. He showed me a camera he bought in his room and at the same time I saw a Balalaika, the Russian guitar, I just looked at it and he gave it to me as a present. Even so the car is to full Kotomi wanted to take it on the journey. That means now we have it with us. The 24th we were quite tired so we went to bed early.
At the 25th the sea got really rough but still some guys who called their self "small mafia" invited us to eat pineapple with them but finally it was Vodka I had to drink, where Kotomi was smart enough to say she can only drink a beer. All of them were car dealers and they rent the room on the ship for one year. Anyway after that the sea got even rougher so that the best was to be just in the bed. But I wanted to ask Jury if there is any problem to import the GPS to Russia since some web sites said it is forbidden and some said it is allowed since 2008. Anyway I could not find him but my stomach told me that it was not a good idea to move around, which results in a throwing up session at the toilet. After that I just slept and was happy that the "small Mafia" did not come again to ask for more party.
At the 26th in the morning we arrived in Vladivostok, where a friend of Kogure San Valerie, picked us up and bring us to a cheap (in terms of Vladivostok) Гоцтиница. Two person !400 Rubel which is around 30 EUR at least at the rate from today. Since we still need to do the custom and this is not open on Sunday, we have to wait until Monday to do this horrible bureaucratic stuff, but in Russian. Valerie told us he will pick us up at 9 next day to do the custom stuff together with a friend who has already done this. We walked around in Vladivostok at a really sunny Sunday (:), had our first Russian beer and piroschki. The houses around the harbour are in old European style and it is quite nice to see. But outside the centre you have the grey Soviet Union buildings which we also have a lot in east Germany.
27th this day was the custom day, buying car insurance (4600 Rubel for 4 month), the rest of the day we were driving between the Tax office and the car which is around 3 km away from the tax office behind a fence, always one more document was necessary or a signed copy of a document we just made a minute before. This trouble is only related to the fact that we "import" the car by ship from Japan, it will not be so difficult when coming overland from Mongolia for example. I really hope this is true (:). Anyway finally we got the car our home for the next month. And now the shock for the help with the custom Valerie wants to have 200 USD. Welcome in Russia I have to say. We read in the Internet before that some say you should take a agent to do the custom stuff but this will be around 50 USD. We still have to discuss with him this price since this is really too much.
28th is the day of the alarm system and buying stuff we could not buy before we left Japan. Valentine the friend of Valentine who did the custom stuff was really worried about our car since it still looks like new the small mafia likes it and at current time how it is now it is easy to still since it has no alarm system at all. So after sleeping first night in our roof tent around 25 km outside Vladivostok at a nice place with view to the ocean we went to a small shop were Roman build in the cheaper variant of the alarm system for 2500 rubel. But with some ideas from me and having the 3rd battery in the car we could make it almost as save as the 8000 Rubel alarm system. Anyway nothing is safe but it is at least not only a 3 minute job anymore to steal the car.
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