September 26th 2012 08:45 (10:45 in Ulan-Ude). More than half way there. So about 50 hours left? I slightly lost count.
We’ve already passed through two time zones and it slowly starts to feel like my journey is trickling to its end. It’s nice to journey back to Europe so slowly. It gives me a bit of time to reflect on the adventures of this summer and get ready to return to everyday life (if there is such a thing).
I’ve climbed the dunes of the Gobi desert, went diving at Koh Tao, ate delicious spicy food in Sichuan met old friends and new friends, got attacked by a heard of camels in Mongolia.. A truly adventurous summer. Now it’s back to England (at least for now) where I will start a PhD.
Of course the time to reflect isn’t that much as I am feverishly writing on my M.A. dissertation. I must say that the Trans-Siberian Railway is perfect for that. The language barrier with the grandpa is too high to strike up even the simplest conversation and he’s not very interested to talk to me anyway it seems. He didn’t speak that much with the others as well though. My spectacle saving hero left the train yesterday. Tough guy changed into a nice pair of jeans and a jumper and looked a lot like he belonged to some type of street gang. The young woman across from me, the only one speaking English, is not talking much either. The word earnest seems the most fitting looking at her. Though she does seem very nice her shyness appears to overweigh her interest in talking to me.
Today is another day of Doshirak (instant noodle soup). I add a few crisps to my healthy diet to taste something slightly different. The bread that my friend gave me and was quite delicious at the beginning of the journey has started to get hard so it has to be soaked in soup before it can be chewed without doing serious damage to my teeth.
Of course I wouldn’t have to just eat instant noodle soup. This is self-inflicted damage to my body (of the latter I’m sure). At the bigger stops there are lots of ‘Babuschki‘ (older ladies) selling practically everything. I could pick up flowers (not sure why I’d want those on the train but maybe if I’m visiting a loved one in another city? Beautiful home made scarves are on sale as well as the respective local specialties. There’s also cigarettes, beer and Vodka. But the best is the delicious fresh food. Smoked fish, filled Blini (pancakes), sweets and more.
Unfortunately, I’ve pretty much run out of money, so the only food I bought were filled Blini. They were delicious and I wanted to share them with my travel mates but they all politely refuse even when I try to kindly pressure them (as I’m accustomed to by the Russians I’ve met during my work in Siberia.
Finally, I’ve struck up a conversation with the young woman on the lower bunk bed. She has very fine features, light skin and dark hair. A bit of a sleeping beauty. Though she doesn’t sleep as much as the teenage girl who joined the bunks across from us. That kid must’ve done some serious partying or working cause as soon as she got on the train she folded the the seats that are across from our four bunks into a bed and since then has only gotten up for a good half hour to eat and then sleep again.
Anyway, I start chatting with my neighbour. She seems very kind and when I make a joke she smiles (which on the third day of relative silence makes me feel quite exhilarated)….
Trans-Siberian Railway Diary – Day One (vivianesview.wordpress.com)
- Trans-Siberian Railway Diary – Day Two (vivianesview.wordpress.com)
- What We Ate on the Trans-Siberian Railway (seriouseats.com)
- Trans-Siberian Railway & Lake Baikal (suzyandnathan.wordpress.com)
- Trans-Siberian Travels: Tomsk to Moscow in 56 hours. (thetravellingbrit.wordpress.com)
- Trans-Siberian Railway: Spanning the length of Russia (indrus.in)
- Trans-Siberian Planning (edintoedin.wordpress.com)
- All Aboard the Trans-Mongolian Express [Video] (urbantimes.co)