A Day of not Getting very far

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

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trans Mongolian train

Flag of Russia  ,
Saturday, February 19, 2011

09:55 In our new train to Mongolia, it's identical in layout, but almost slightly more simple. Can't quite explain how, the carriage attendants have no food for sale, and stupidly we decided not to go to the supermarket because we thought we would have multiple stops where we could get some food. We made one stop last night where all they were selling was fish. Trouble was, we found the stop timetable and asked the attendant which was Irkutsk so we could work out when we would stop and she failed to help us, so we are completely in the dark about when we'll stop and how long for. Stops can be anything from 2 mins to 30mins.

We were pretty cold last night, I slept in all my clothes and under a blanket. This train is not super heated like the others and it also doesn't have a restaurant car. The pillows are odd, they're filled with rice which doesn't make them very comfy.

We also discovered this morning that half the train is missing. Oh yes, we got on last night and the train was twice as long. This morning steve went down to the back to have a smoke and found that we were now the last carriage and looking down the tracks. There's also hardly anyone on this car as 4 of the compartments are empty. We befriended 3 norwegions in the cabin next to ours, mia, sinna and Anna. They are doing a similar route but are not on any sort of tour, they are just doing it themselves, which is incredibly brave of them as it's really quite hard!

My leg still aches a bit today, but in fact most of my muscles are aching anyway. My shoulders and the insides of my forearms ache since dog sledding as it required quite a lot of force to hang on and direct the sled. Not helped by my overweight bags and I'm ever jealous of Steve's wheely rucksack. Mental note it's a blackwolf bag.

We have THE grumpiest cabin attendant. She won't let us off, she won't help us, she's obstructive and she's making us grumpy travellers. We have no idea where we are still. Ah well, all part of the journey!
13:40 We're actually at Naushki at the moment which is a small town which is the Russian border post. We could be here for some time but not a lot is happening right now.

Still here, had a heart attack practically when after much shunting the train started moving forward whilst Rishy, Steve and one of our neighbours were in the station, the 4 us left on the train ran down to someone we sussed spoke English to say we had people out there! She said it was ok, and in fact all that happened was we moved track. It was very worrying though!

We're just a carriage sitting on a track right now, all on our own. They seem to be shuffling things around a bit

Had some people through to look at our passports, and a sniffer dog from the Russian side- an Alsatian, and the Mongolian official had a little Scottie dog following him.

1839. After quite a while at the Russian border we left as we passed over the border 5 Mongolian soldiers saluted us.

We just arrived at the Mongolian border town where I don't know how much longer we will be.

We've been at the Mongolian border town now for at least an hour already. All we've done today is hang around in train stations where you pay 8 roubles or 150 turgric to use the WC. The 8 rouble one was actually my first encounter with a squat toilet. Delectable. I handled it calmly and emerged unscathed.

Best thing today: watching a couple of films on netbook.

Worst thing: spending about 10hours stationary crossing borders. Yawn

Most beautiful thing: honestly, not much. The landscape.
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Chris on

Hi Zoe,

I'm guessing this won't be the inefficient border crossing you'll undertake but it certainly sounds an interesting one. Are there any customer comment cards you can leave behind to inform the train company their communications and staff friendliness could do with improvements? ;-)


cpbirch on

I thought I'd register... just so you'd know who I am!

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