Friday, 20 June 2008


Distance Travelled: 11.541 km

It was misty, or maybe it was smoggy, but it was early morning my eyelids were telling me that much. There was shouting, there was pushing - I was among Russians again, maybe the bus was overbooked, who knows, but the Mongolian driver seemed to have some sympathy towards the perplexed look in my eyes, and singled me out, showed my bag on the bus, and sent me to my seat - I was heading back to Russia. After hours of driving, on a surprisingly and pleasantly good road we broke for lunch, and i was showed into a little dining room, I ordered, glanced around, Russians all around me, and my eyes returned to the open Vodka bottle, i gave it a nervous stare - I knew all to well what was going to happen - the good old game of 'let's get the foreigner smackfaced in the middle of the day', that i by now knew all to well from the train rides through Russia - 10 cl and a meal later, I demonstratively empited my glass, which earned my an approving nod on the head from a fat Russian guy - "Where did you learn to drink Vodka?" his wife translated, "In Russia" i honestly replied, much to the satisfaction of everyone around the table.

Surprisingly unaffected (I dare any of you motherfuckers to drink me under the table when i get home!!) i boarded the bus, and soon we were at the border. It was mayhem - imagine a busload of speedtalking retirees returning from a new years sale in Flensburg, and you get the idea. Only instead of the beer cans, the tons heavy backs were filled with cheap chinese goods, and they had to carry it all through customs and immigration by themselves, UGH! I would have shrugged my shoulders about the whole scene 2 weeks ago, but by now i had been spoiled by the Mongolians. However, my reentry to Russia went surprisingly smooth, so I was all smiles after that.

It was raining by the time we reached Ulan-Ude, I looked around to try and find my bearings, a Lenin head the size of a mansion, left a clue, Ulan-Ude's main claim to fame, the worlds largest Lenin head. I was getting wet, so I scrambled for the first and best Hotel i could find, considering this was Russia, the punishment weren't to bad, 2000 Rubles (600 DKK) for a nice renovated single room, but a world away from the 4 USD a night in UB. It was late, I was hungry, but couldn't find anywhere to eat, instead i was followed around for 5 blocks by a dodgy looking type, Skinhead most likely, who didn't seem to take it lighty that couldn't reply to his questions in Russian. Lost him by going into a Cafe and ordering a coffee.

Next morning I had filled up my stomach, and looked around, quite attractive city by Siberian standards, many old wooden houses, and the people seemed quite pleasant, probably due to the many (majority it seemed) Buratyas (a Russian-Mongolian people) living there. In the afternoon i boarded the train for Khabarovsk, 51 hours, in a carriage filled solely with soldier type men. The scenery though, was gorgeous, Rivers, streams, mountains, wild flowers in full bloom in an explosion of colors, and then ofcourse the birch trees, allways competing with the stars about who outnumbers who. Time falling apart, days flowing together, back on the train.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

meget malerisk stefan ;)