Decent sleep and porridge for breakfast - eeeeuch! No buffet car on this train!
Arrived at Mongolian border at 7am. Worth noting that they lock the toilets at this stage and don't open them again until we have cleared Russian security.
Finally cleared Mongolian security/customs/passport at 10.20am!!!!!! 3 1/2 hours!
Travelled 30mins across Russian border which is full on with barbed wire, fences, sentry towers! Russians clearly paranoid! Arrived at security/customs/passport control 10.55am - left at 2.15pm!!!! Another 3 1/2 hours! 7 hours all up with no reasonable access to toilets - human rights violation! Sadists!
I also had good fun with my medication which customs took a keen interest in. after much form filling and attempts at explanatio I was marched off the train (after they'd brought the drugs dog to our cabin), with looks of horror/disgust/fear from fellow passengers, to their office - at one stage Christine thought I was going to be taken off! All this despite letters from my surgeon! Pinhead jobsworths! Customs guy eventually said "all gwwd" and "dosvedanya" but again he sounded more 'Bond' villain than the previous one!
As a write we have another 12 hours to go to Irkutsk! Train keeps stopping every 20mins at one horse towns! Got to say Mongolians and Chinese do trains better than this mob at the moment! Hate it when cars on the road are going faster then the train.
Curry for lunch and again for tea - only highlights for today! Russia raise your game!
The border crossing was as we had been warned ..a bit of a nightmare, and at one stage I thought Huw had been taken by the Russians as he disappeared with officials to fill in forms about the medication he was carrying. My attempted conversations with the carriage attendants about where Huw had gone , was futile - neither of us could understand each other - at least we had a bit of a laugh as I tried to explain with a range of gestures using my hands (teaching New Arrivals back home has proved useful when using 'charades' type behaviour to try to explain something, but not this time! ) Thankfully Huw returned all OK.
Glad we had a range of provisions as no other way of getting food except getting off the train at the numerous short stops and running around like mad trying to get something to eat on the platform, as a number of our fellow passengers had to do and not missing the train as it takes off without any warning.
Sometime in the early hours of the morning I was awoken by the train grinding its way through the mountains and found out it was around the bottom part of Lake Baikal, the most difficult and expensive part of the whole Trans Siberian railway to build. Sleeping on the train was fine as long as you are used to hard mattresses (if you can call 40 cm thickness a mattress! ). Huw took the top bunk as he was closer to the open window for fresh air as there was no airconditioning. At the end of the carriage there is the hot water urn, wood fired and boiling hot, where you can get hot water anytime. We ate our freeze dried camping food by adding hot water to the packet and tucking in (I can recommend Lamb and Mushroom Risotto and Huw the Butter Chicken Curry!) and drank loads of black tea and coffee. Our cabin was next to the toilet and the break between the two carriages - the area where the addicted Chinese, Mongolian and Russian smokers went even though there was a "no smoking sign"- there was even an ashtray hung on the door - so obviously wasn 't policed. We had to keep our door mostly closed.
Toilets on the Chinese Mongolian side are very basic - a pan with a foot lever to flush and presto you see the rail tracks wizzing by as the waste is deposited onto the tracks.
The loos are definitely a place one fears to tread (or inhale) by the end of the trip!