Today has been rather long and laborious with the Mongolia to Russia border crossing happening. After a sleep on the train, we awoke early for 5 hours of processing and waiting on the Mongolian side, followed by a 1hr train ride through no-mans land and then another 5 hours of processing and waiting on the Russian side!
Highlights of today have included:
• The crazy old Russian man in our carriage who was business up top with a collared shirt and suit jacket, and sporty spice down bottom in polyester track pants and sneakers!
• The stern Russian customs inspection lady who had peroxide blond hair and almost black eyebrows who thoroughly inspected our cabin including the under floor compartment we didn't even know was there until she opened it!
• The old school shop/deli we discovered whilst wandering around the station on the Russian side where they still used an abacus! This was despite having a calculator on the desk...
Today was also the first day I have had to do the hamstring challenge and use a squat toilet this trip - man I forgot how challenging that can be for someone as uncoordinated as myself! Luckily I escaped this round with dry, unstained pants!
I have been craving some fresh food today too - perhaps a nice super butcher steak with veges? Today's diet has consisted of some instant oats, two minute noodles and numerous other items of junk food of the sweet and savory varieties! There's no restaurant cart on this train so will have to wait till tomorrow when we get into Irkutsk or Lake Baikal. Some exercise would not go astray either - Matt is gonna have his work cut out for him when I get back!
It was a little sad leaving Mongolia last night, I really enjoyed the country and could easily have spent more time there - will have to go back sometime and perhaps experience it in a different season...
As we were leaving the Ger camp, for reasons unbeknown to me, a song popped into my head - "turn around, every now and then I get a little bit terrified..." you know the rest of it. It was one of those moments where I knew I would not be able to get it out of my head so I shared it with the group and now it is in their heads as well so every now and then I fall apart... Oh sorry slipped into the song again - every now and then someone will start singing it randomly and we all burst out laughing. Total eclipse of the heart is definitely the official theme song of Mongolia!
Oh and I can't forget to mention that I am the cabin 4 champion of Janev - this card game we have been playing this train trip. Later tonight we'll have the playoffs between cabins 3 and 4 for the ultimate champion. I best go psych up and get my game face on!