Thursday, October 25 – On the Train – Mongolia

Some facts about the Trains-Siberian:
– Beijing to Moscow is 7621km
– The route crosses 10 times zones
– The route crosses 16 big rivers. Volga, Ob, Enisey, Oka, Amur, and others
– The Trans-Siberian passes Baikal Lake for 207km
– The Trans-Siberian goes through Europe (19%) and Asia (81%)
– It passes by 87 cities and towns
Yesterday on the train went so quickly. I’m haring my berth with Claire, from London. She’s been a very good person to share accommodations with so far. She’s getting off at Ulaanbaatar though. I hope I’m on my own after that.
Northern China was beautiful – lots of mountains. We did pass a section of the Great Wall, but missed seeing it. I’m in Mongolia now, in what can only be the Gobi Desert. It is 11:00am on October 25 and I’m seeing the first scattered patches of snow.
We were given two free meals yesterday, not wholly uneatable. Glad they were free though! I had a horrible headache yesterday. Then I was freezing cold even though Claire through the temperature was fine.  I think I was was fighting a bug after being so tired all the time in Beijing. I’m feeling much better today though.
I’m having bathroom problems. When the train stops, the toilets are locked. Which is exactly when I need to go. So now I just go all the time. That backfired on me today though. My timing was still bad enough that they locked me in the toilet.* Aurgh!  I was freed though. Now nothing to do but relax, read, and write.
Balls. Just arrived in Ulaanbaatar. Claire got off the train. I was hoping that no one would be getting on, but a big, loud woman has. She is loudly pissed off that she is on the top bunk. She’s put all her luggage under the table, so now I can’t put my feet down or access my luggage easily. I hope she complains herself inot a new berth. Please, please, please! She is wearing all black – fur and leather long coat, fur hat, tight black pants, big sunglasses. If she wasn’t disrupting my serenity right now, I’d love her as a character. I can hear her out there now, arguing in a big, black fur and leather voice. I hope she wins. If she thinks for the barest instant that I’m giving up my bunk, then she’s loud and crazy.
Hooray!  Noisy Russian lady got her way and her own berth. Dong, my carriage attendant, tells me I’m on my own now until Moscow. Whoo-hoo! The lady was kind in the end – she helped me with the metro, but she was noisy. Besides, with her gone I was able to wash and hang my underpants to dry (I’m on my second to last clean pair!)
*Being locked in the bathroom is actually a terrifying experience for me. Once, when I was a kid, I got trapped in a bathroom at my Grandma’s hospital. To go into the bathroom, you pushed the door. The big, heavy door. I don’t know how old I was, but I was young, and I was still little. I had no problem opening the door to go into the bathroom, but I had a hell of a time trying to pull it open to get back out. I was so scared that I would be in there forever. I didn’t want to be a baby and yell for help, but I’m pretty sure I cried. Then I got my shit together and finally opened the door. I’m still scared to this day about being locked in the bathroom. Which is why I did NOT enjoy being locked in the toilet on the train.

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