On board the trans mongolian express part 1
Trip Start Apr 07, 2007
41Trip End Sep 20, 2007
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Departed at 07:45 on 3rd July on the trans mongolian express train number K23, we paid a bit extra (actually it was lot) for a 2 berth cabin this time and it was worth it as it turned out to be first class and even had a shower room which shared with the only other 2 people in our group who had paid the extra. So first stop was Datong at 13:51 after sleeps and lunch (only vege stuff in dining car was eggs & tomatoe but there was beer so all was well plus we had brought crackers and cheese etc. and there's unlimited hot water urns for you to make tea or whatever but you need you own cup and tea or coffee or noodles and cutlery - it's a bit like camping really). Soon the mountains of China changed to the flat land of the gobi desert (which is only 4% sand) and we saw a dinosaur park in the distance. We stopped at Erlian at 20:45 for border cross and passport & visa check on the Chinese side and then had to have the wheels changed on our carriages as Mongolian train tracks are a different guage, this took from 21:25 to 22:20 and if you stay on board you can watch what should be called the 'a-team' change the bogeys (technical term you know) which was very intertestiing as all carriages are split up and then each whole carriage is hoisted up and they unscrew one lot and screw on the next lot. So next is the Mongolian side at 23:40 for their passport & visa check and this takes about 2 hours where you can be in bed (so you really need pyjama's) but cannot be asleep as the officials come into your cabin to deal with you and finally after what seems like ages they finish and let you sleep (doing nothing all day except socialising is really very tiring :)).