On the Train to Ulaan Baatar.
May 30, 2005
Sep 30, 2006
This journey was fairly uneventful. We missed about 2 hours of track that run alongside Lake Baikal as we passed it over night and I was too busy sleeping. The border crossing was a big pain in the backside though. We stopped on the Ruskie side and waited. It was 3 hours before they decided to do anything with us, at least they let us off the train for this period. We then spent a further 3 hours stuck in our cabin while the passport control and customs went down the train. We weren't even allowed to go and play cards with Minna and Thomas in the next cabin. And of course, the toilets were locked and we were stopped at a station; you had to be pre-prepared for this part of the trip
. So after about 6 hours of messing around the train heads off over the border, passing barbed wire and look out posts. It stops again 15 minutes later. Mongolian Passport Control and Customs. "Stay in Cabin" they shout at us if we even put our heads out. After a little while we're allowed out of quaritine to mingle with the others. Now that we'd been stopped with the toilets closed for a good few hours, it's inevitable that a few people would be caught short. The only solution to this was a couple of guards outside the doors that lead onto the part of the train where the cars are joined together. When you've got to go, you've got to go. P.S. It wasn't me that got caught short, in case you're wondering. We were stopped on the border for a total of 9 hours. I've heard about people being stuck there for 13 hours. I guess we got the express service!
We arrived in Ulaaaaaaan Baaaaatar early in the morning. Yes.
Only two nights on the train this time, hardly enough time to get comfy. This time though there was no Restaurant car, and our car was full of toursts. No "Officer of the Russian Army" this time, no "Sit down please", no "Tomorrow Chess Game", sniff, how I missed Vladimeer and Ivan.