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Lighting out for the territory nce more in the Middle East. The more I travel the more I want to travel and the longer that I am out of England the happier I am. At present in Iraq and having a wonderful time. really fallen in love with the country and the people. Very glad I came and

Thurs 27th Nov - Suifenhe, border with Russia

CHINA | Thursday, 27 November 2008 | Views [610]

Shaken awake from dead sleep and dream about Kathy Kirby (good grief)  by conductor. I talk to my first Russian. Bit dour. Cab to bus station. Phrase book quite good. Extremely helpful boy who works at the station helps me buy my ticket, shows me to hotel restaurant for breakfast, arranges for my bag to be stored at the sweet shop on the first floor (5 Yuan for all day). Another one. Maybe it is just the Chinese nature to be really kind.

Outside many street sellers of scarves and head massagers like spiders crowd round me. The women are great and really funny tho somewhat puzzled as to whether I am a man or a woman - I poke my chest and they laugh. One wants to buy my phrase book (but not out of the country yet) - he later shows me where local internet is. Another dark and cavernous room with flatscreens and gamers but this one has a puppy who tries to eat my bag.

Later change dollars at bank tho, oddly not at the foreign exchange window, but in the waiting chair area. People are coming to him with bricks of roubles and housebricks of yuan.

2.10 pm Posh coach with me in it sets off for the border. Luckily I have kept back plenty of yuan for the long trip to the border, drinks, snacks and such. Ten minutes later we stop at the border. Bags off and in to passport control. Some puzzlement over my paper Chinese visa and to-ing and fro-ing of official. But I am thru into China Duty Free. Spend 95 yuan (9 pund) on 200 Marlboro which is promptly nicked when I put it down for a minute. Still got bags and passport and camera so yah boo sucks to you lot. back to the bus and two Chinese army at the step also puzzled - by the fact I have a cancelled proper visa and no exit stamp. To-ing and fro-ing then I am waved on to bus and off to Russia, which we reach 3 minutes later. Hey, just for a change why not drag all the bags off the bus again? it'll be a laugh. This time consternation for I have no immigration card. Really? English soldier type is called and is very patienbt with me. Cunningly I have taken off my hat to display grey hair and wan face and attributes of senility like weak, helpful smile. All done and thru to bus and actually in Russia.

Everyone else is a trans-border shopper so nab back seat like proper backpacker and lie down for the trip. truck stop of my dreams couple hours later - all glass and chrome and coffee and croisants and chocolate and sweet little girl waitress who lets me take her pic to show my daughter.

Off bus at Vladivostok. Cab says 500 roubles and his friend starts telling him off, I offer 400 and we get in. Fortunately Moryak has a bed, very basic, very warm, shower, own loo. Lay down to collect my thoughts and wake 10 hours later.

Tags: chocolate, confusion, customs, theft

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