Thursday, 11 September 2014

Day 71 Sunday 7th September

Dave reverted to his sleep walking again and it was only that Paul was up and awake at four in the morning that stopped Dave from exiting the train (as he tried the previous night) dressed only in his underpants!

The FLP have joined the train (train KGB) and this led to Geoff being questioned three times more about his passport and train ticket. He was quizzed when he first boarded the train much more than the other three Rooski Riders. It has now become apparent that the clerk who typed out the tickets typed Geoff's visa number and not his passport number in the place where his passport number should be on the ticket.

Yesterday Geoff noticed a room at the back of the restaurant car that at first glance looked like a washroom that contained a shower. He used it yesterday and when quizzed by the others told them it was a shower with basic facilities but nice hot water. Paul and Dave kept referring to the fact they would save up the enjoyment of having a shower to a later time. This morning Dave announced he was off for a shower, and Geoff enjoyed a good 20 mins chuckling to himself waiting for Dave to come back. He came back cursing Geoff for lying about such an important thing!

Dave and Geoff have had five different people staying with them in their cabin, but Paul and Frank are now up to guest number ten.

Breakfast of fried eggs flavoured with salmon accompanied by eight pieces of chunky "hleb" (bread) and coffee set us up for the long boring day ahead. The scenery is gradually changing from yellow silver birch trees to green silver birch trees, and now joy of joy we are running alongside Lake Baikal

The drunks were back again on the wine and vodka but we have managed to avoid them for most of the day.

Paul has noticed that the women who serve in the restaurant car seem to have schizophrenic personalities. At one point they are friendly as pie and the next they are snapping at us to take our phone chargers out of the sockets in the side of the rail carriage!!

We have spent much of the day as the previous, discussing our journey, and it was noted that the train was travelling along the southern side of Lake Baikal which we had also passed some weeks earlier after leaving Mongolia. We were all enjoying a beer, silent, all deep in thought about our odyssey, the personal challenges, working together and forging friendships. We have learnt to pull together and rely on each other's skills. It was at this point that Frank very excitably pointed out an M55 fuel station where he thought we had refuelled.
It was with raised eyebrows, and in unison, suddenly shaken from our deliberations that one of the team who very calmly, with a quiet monotone expressed all our thoughts. "You dumb half-wit" It's part of a chain; there are hundreds of these along the Russian roads. "

More later

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Location:Chita to Irkutsk

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