Beam me down: This week's random co-ordinates chosen by the computer are: 65 14' N 137 04' E
Sunday 13 December 1998
Why, oh why was I never encouraged to grow extra layers of fat as a child?
COUNTRY AND REGION
This is the Yakutsk region of northern Siberia. Frankly, you have landed with uncanny precision in one of the coldest, nastiest corners of the planet.
The Yana river, which flows into the Arctic Ocean to the north, is edged by a scattering of miserable hamlets. Around the southern sources of the river, the very nearest of these hamlets to your landing-point appears to be Khara Fas. The inhabitants may have frozen to death.
NATURE OF THE TERRAIN
Treeless tundra mountains.
About 1,000 metres.
LIKELY WEATHER CONDITIONS
Hard to describe. Not only are you very close to Siberia's pole of cold, but this also happens to be a very cold winter, even by Siberian standards. Don't be surprised at night-time temperatures below -40C, and don't expect temperatures to rise much during the daytime, either.
Russian (in theory), though a grasp of the Tungusic languages, related to Mongolian, might come in handy should you come across any native people.
Frostbite is possible within minutes, depending on the wind-speed. The major arteries in your heart will soon contain tiny particles of ice, the film over your eyes will harden and you will be unable to breathe. Forget about trying to survive this one.
REASONS FOR HANGING AROUND
Few. If you ever make it there, Yakutsk has an interesting atmosphere; the buildings are on stilts, to prevent them from sinking into the marsh in the brief Siberian summer.
GETTING THE HELL OUT OF HERE
From where you are, to reach even Yakutsk - which by any civilised standards is already abominably remote - would be a miracle. It lies over 500km to the south-west, across an uninhabited wilderness. A slightly closer, but still less attractive proposition, would be the 300km trek north-west to Verkhoyansk, from where, in theory, there are flight connections to the rest of the country.
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