Wild West, part 2: Hey, this looks like Montana

Trip Start Jul 16, 2010
Trip End Dec 25, 2010

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Flag of Mongolia  ,
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday: Off we go - early departure from Beijing Station on Siberian Railway. In front of Station was INSANELYcrowded (and I lived in Japan - I guess Japanese are a bit orderly even in their crowds). I did not like Beijing: dirty and not terribly friendly people. I guess it's everyone for themselves, and they haven't the emotional reserve for strangers. Anyway, view out the train was quite nice, but by PM I was feeling unwell - due to what I do not know (I had been very careful about avoiding tap water in Beijing), but possibly some little dry fruits that looked like purple sea urchins (!) but which the very thought of, now, a month later, gives me a woozy nauseous feeling. (My cabinmate asked, Well, WHY did you keep eating them if they were making you sick? and I said, Well, I couldn't tell if I liked them or not, so I just kept eating in order to find out, and she said, this is exactly what men do...) Stomachache and diarrhea ensue - EXACTLY what I was trying to avoid before a 10-day train journey. Stupidly let cabinmate convince me to go eat dinner with her. I ordered salad and was told they didn't have it, so ate some nasty shrimp and eggs stuff which only made things worse. On way out of dining car noticed the woman behind me eating the salad! WTF! During the night I twice grace the tracks between Beijing and Ulan Bataar with the contents of my stomache... The shits follow. Isn't traveling fun!
Wednesday: Arrive UB. Consider it a major feat to get to my hotel without having my bag slit (UB is apparently rife with bag slitters). Take a shower (no showers on the train) and go eat first real food in a week at a Thai restaurant. Manage to keep it down. Go to bed early, sleep late the next day.
Thursday: Only one day in UB. I head to the internet cafe, followed by post office to send the obligatory stamp-covered Mongolian postcard only to find out that they actually sell stamps of the proper denomination. Hell, you could cover a US post card with 1cent stamps too if you really wanted. Anyway, I wander over to the National Museum but this looks boring so I head to the puzzle museum which proves to be a good call (see picture with Nara). Head out of UB on a night train with a new cabinmate from Singapore named Pay, whose claim to fame is to have traveled in India for 40 days with a Japanese nutcase who spent $110 during the entire trip...
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