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Never give your passport to a Russian

RUSSIAN FEDERATION | Tuesday, 13 August 2013 | Views [381]

With every slowly passing mile there is definitely a sense of leaving Asia and entering Europe. Bye bye banana trees and coconuts, motorbikes and elephants, hello Siberian wolves, forests and wrinkly old ladies in wooly cardigans. Feet nicely propped up in a wood cabin on the shores of Lake Baikal - so beautiful and huge! Can't see the edge! Apparently if all the world's fresh water ran out tomorrow the entire world's population could live off Baikal's water to 40 years! Amazing hey?! Plus there was an earthquake in 1959 measuring 9.5 on the richter scale - didn't know that was even possible. Well, hopefully neither will happen in the next few days, so gonna enjoy the lake's grilled fish and lovely misty mornings.

So what's the story so far? Last update was China? Well, traveling in China with no lingo was a piece of piss - I mean that in the actual sense - ithe whole place smells of piss. But thoroughly enjoyed those three weeks. Nice people and lovely things to see. 

Oh yes the list of breakdowns. No further transport mishaps to report so we're doing well so far. 37 train ride in an open carrige from Kunming to Beijing went swimmingly. The ipad was most useful in drowning out the sound of Chinese people eating - god bless you Steve Jobs - and made friends with nice mother and son who looked after me, stuffing me with biscuits and longan. 

Beijing was fuckin awesome but HOT HOT HOT! Forbidden City (actually went in this time) amazing I thought. Full of Chinese tourists looking as if they were going to pass out, melting into sweaty heaps on the floor. 

Next stop was Ulan Bator, which, given that every one I met said was a dangerous, rough, disgusting, vile city, I actually quite liked! Nice old buildings nestled in between soviet blocks and Dubai style skyscrapers. Did the obligatory yurt stay in a national park, and horse riding which I thoroughly enjoyed - gave me an idea for my next trip - horse riding across..., well any country really - USA too ambitious? Wanna be a cowgirl! 

So, currently on the shores of Lake Baikal and looking forward to my 32nd birfday! How shall I celebrate? Copious amounts of vodka and cheap cigarettes sounds good. 

The trip itself - yes, the Trans Mongolian railway. Aaaah, it's everything you would imagine. Speed wise very slow but romantically very moving. Had super drunken fun time on the Beijing - Ulan Bator route, did none of the mature stuff I'd planned, like all the reading and cross-stitch and generally being thoughtful,  looking out the window in deep contemplation. The Ulan Bator route was the time for that - made good headway into Anna Karenina (have tried to read that bloody book three times and if I can't read it on this train in Russia I can't read it anywhere; although the more I read the more I remember why I gave up on it twice. Is it possibly the most overrated book in the English language? Or is that the Great Gatsby...?)

So next stop Moscow - ooh, sexy rusky capital city! Although may not make it - have broken the number one rule of travel by giving my passport to a Russian. Hmmm, may have to live here for ever as a Baikal fishing babushka. Sounds nice actually. 

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