The beginning of the Trans Siberian E

Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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trans siberian Express

Flag of Russia  , Central Russia,
Saturday, February 12, 2011

10:55am After a grand old night on the tiles, we woke up a bit later than we planned as we wanted to go to the mausoleum to see the embalmed body of Lenin. You can't take pictures or take a phone, you have to keep moving and that's sort of it really.

Instead I prised myself out of bed and got some things together to go into the shower. This would be the last shower I had until our destination of Irkutsk in 3 days, so a glorious hot shower which I could savour was sounding lovely. I got in, ran the water and it was cold. Nooooo! Disaster! I got in anyway, it was a shower in a bath so I stood at the end and started flicking cold water on me then stuck my head under and sorted my hair out.

We went to the train station and dumped stuff then went shopping at the supermarket, picked up supernoodles, bread, biscuits, cups and plastic knives. Don't worry mum, I got a tray of 6 of the biggest apples I've seen.

We returned to the waiting area and were once again welcomed by several police officials carefully checking both the ticket and our passport. Then headed over to the platform and on reaching my carriage handed over my passport and ticket once again to the lady who was the carriage attendant. The gap between the platform at the train was about 50cm so I stepped carefully balancing my rucksack, daysack and 2 carrier bags of food.

1.35pm all settled into our minuscule hamster hutch we set off! The cabin was very similar to the overnight train but not quite as nice. Anita and I were on the bottom bunks and put our rucksacks in the underseat compartment, whilst Steve was above me and Rishy above Anita and their bags went over the corridor effectively. We chatted a while about various things and watched Steve work out how his bed went together.
Got my super noodles out and filled it from the hot water cistern in the corridor at the end of the carriage. As I passed by the other carriages, I saw into one where a lady had an entire roast chicken on the table wrapped in foil and was just eating it with her fingers.
We settled down about 2.40pm and read and kept ourselves happy. Anita with her kindle, Steve on his bunk above me with a lonely planet guide to the trans Siberian express so that he can fill us with knowledge as we go! Rishy with his paper journal, and me still reading 'high heels and a head torch' with my noodles. I can't remember when I last ate super noodles, everyone at work can vouch for the fact that I never ate them at lunch time even though for some people it was a popular lunch choice! These noodles were actually really tasty.
We passed through villages occasionally by the side of the track whilst souvenir sellers kept appearing at our door trying to sell us t shirts and glass swans filled with some sort of neon liquid. I can only assume anything that colour is not for drinking. I'm not very sure when or where they will get off unless they are actually going to attempt to pass the cabins repeatedly until we give in!
The carriages are very hot, so I wedged my milk into the curtain rail against the window to try and keep it cold.

About My companions...

Steve - Steve is Australian, 32, just one day older than me! And is a sparky from Perth who works at a mine site. He has travelled often and also had a relationship break down from his girlfriend of 5 years. He is a good looking guy with a brilliant white smile and is funny and jovial and full of information about where we are and where we're going. We barely need a tour guide with his extensive research! I feel very under prepared in terms of where were going as I'm living day to day to such an extent. He's also a karate coach so I think we will feel safe if a desperate situation arises. He seems to make friends easily and I like him a lot.

Anita and Rishy are a married couple, 30 and 35, Rishy worked in IT as a test manager amongst other things and Anita was a research assistant into depression in people with ailments such as heart disease. They are both from London and of Indian descent. They are a lovely couple and also happy, smiley and very well travelled. They are going onto the roam china tour from Beijing, then Australia, and will most likely stay with Steve for a while. If I make it to Oz, I will also stay with Steve.

I am very pleased with my group, we get along very well and I feel relaxed around them all, this will be a great trip I'm sure and I'll miss them when we separate.
15:46 The Train keeps jolting, I'm not sure if it's because it is hitting snow drifts as we go along or if the driver is really bad!
18:09 We stopped at a station (I couldn't say where) for 20 mins where Steve and I went out for a look about. There were several little shops that look like conservatories with the windows filled with beer, soft drinks, noodles, crisps, chocolate and magazines. And each of them has a small window about 40cm square where you can ask to buy things. They even have drinks cabinets with sliding doors (bear in mind that outside the fridge is the temperature of a freezer so the fridges are keeping the drinks warm!) which after I attempted to open a couple of them, I asked through the window for sprite and she pressed a button which unlocked the fridge. Nowhere was selling hot food like pies, so perhaps noodles will be on the menu again tonight. Or I might visit the restaurant car.
19:39 2nd stop of the night in the middle of a train track, we stepped down some steps and there were people with soft toys in bags and people with prams with food in them like hot chicken and potatoes in a pot and pies. I bought a bit of roast chicken, 3 potatoes and a pie, all of which went in a plastic bag each which I then ate from the bags! It was really exciting to contravene all British health and safety rubbish and just get off a train onto the tracks and buy some food that emerged from a pram! So we set off again with beer and chicken. No noodles tonight :)
20:23 Steve found a friend when he went we had a round of UNO with her and lots of beer, was awake till nearly 11 before we all settled down for night. I hope there's no jolting coz not only will it wake me, but also there is the possibility of me falling out of bed!

Best thing today: getting off the train and onto the tracks and buying food from random people who brought it in a pram

Worst thing: the weight of my daybag - what was I thinking!

Item I wish I had with me: tracksuit bottoms

Item I wish I'd left behind: too many books!...too heavy
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