Trans-Siberian - Day 4

Throughout Siberia we have stopped at small stations to pick up coal to heat the train, which is shoveled into each car from a wagon pulled by a tractor. Passengers utilize such stops to purchase supplies from locals including water, juice, cigarettes, vodka, lunch food and the like. Although it usually takes 20 minutes to "top up" the train, for some reason, the two Chinese men who look after our car always frantically hurry us back onto the train after five. EXCEPT in Ilanskaya. After taking a few pictures, I turned around to see our train pulling out of the station, with many of the passengers AND the attendants running alongside and jumping on. Guess someone missed the memo on that one!

I'm really glad someone in Moscow told me to bring some food, because while the dining car is good, it's very expensive and I have planned for Asia to be the cheaper leg of my trip.

I still haven't figured out what the hell the attendants do other than text their friends and cook huge feasts for themselves that the passengers gawk at and drool over. The bathroom on board hasn't had toilet paper for two days, and there aren't any sticks, stones OR pinecones lying around for me to use.

My time on the train has been spent chatting with my Finnish neighbors, Big Bob and Mickey (we are planning to set up shop in Mongolia together to get situated), and my roommate. Other than that I have slept a lot and slept a lot more.

At 2am last night we had a toga (bed sheet) party in car #6, where we managed to cram 20 half-naked, piss drunk people into a tiny four-person cabin. That was....interesting.

Just before bed, I usually spend a bit of time hanging out between cars and warming myself by the open flames of the coal hatch. It reminds me of a campfire back home. On occasion, I can hear the young Korean gal next door playing her guitar and humming softly. I also came across some recordings I had taken of the choirs at Maple Grove (my church in Columbus) and Christ Church (my church in New York). While traveling alone, such comforts are nice from time-to-time.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


Allen Penn said…
When sans TP, leaves, etc, perhaps you should try the "left hand method," popular in East Africa...That being said, I just returned from Tanzania. If you are headed that way let me, I have some wonderful people I'd love to put you in touch with. As always, I look forward to and love reading the tales. Enjoy the journey.
Brandon said…
Allen - What is your email address?