Lake Baikal - oh and the fur attacks

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Amazingly on the train

Flag of Russia  , Siberia,
Sunday, March 7, 2010

We wake as we are following the side of Lake Baikal, glorious sunshine and a spectacular view. Don't want Erica to miss this its incredible so I wake her. All she wants to know is what is the time, I look at my watch its 4am, this is getting odder and odder. The lake is frozen solid (which is why we didn't stop that and we cant afford much on 12 pounds a day. It is the oldest and deepest lake in the world and as we look at its beauty it resembles a minor B road, there are cars driving across it, men ice fishing and perhaps most strange is the fact that it looks like it has been frozen in an instant, even the ripples of the water are still evident in the ice.

We stop at Ulan Ude and it is simply incredible business for them the place is heaving, hardly and space on the platform before they get off. A few new faces seem to have joined our train in the night as we now have other Brits and french from whatever station they got on. The market was fierce however we again get a reminder of how volatile these things can be as a fight breaks out between a Russian woman and a Mongolian woman over a fur coat, and boy is it some fight. We expected the Mongolian Police man from next door to intervene but the jackets were going down a treat so he concentrated on what he was doing. The Russian police typically were trying to confiscate individual items from the traders by running up and grabbing them in a size that fitted and not paying for them.

That night we arrived in Customs and what a drag the border crossing must have taken about 6 hours but we got through without any questions. The only funny thing at border control was when a tiny little drug sniffing dog when into our room and I nearly had a bloody heart attack, Erica was in tears.

Strangely the customs thing was odd for the traders who while the police collected passports unloaded all the stock from the train onto trolleys and did a runner through a gate away from the police carrying all the stock they had. This was piled up into an enormous pile before being loaded into transit type vans (Russian equivalent from the Soviet Era. The police didn't care and the unloading must have taken about 2 hours of running and scurrying around. So bizarre and odd but then again that pretty much summarises our experience of the the first part of the longest train Journey in the world. Finally got through the border crossings at 1 am Mongolian time or maybe 6 am Moscow time. Our body clock is screwed.

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