Little souvenir I picked up in Estonia. Seems right as I plan a Siberian train trip.
In Minnesota, on VERY cold days, we always said, ‘my god, it’s just like Siberia out there today.’ The only other thing we knew about Russia was that it was a VERY big and VERY scary place. Now it’s 2014 and Russia is still very cold, big and could be considered just a little bit scary. Not the countryside or the cities or the people just, exactly like everywhere else, the politicians and their armies.
But the boys with their toys aside, I am going to Russia to take the Trans-Siberian Railway for many days and nights, six to be sort of exact. Of course there are possible stopovers in the middle and add-ons at the beginning and end that could add days, but the basic Moscow to Beijing through Mongolia trip is a six-day/six night railway marathon.
Can’t remember when I was last this excited about going somewhere. Today I’m staring at next year’s calendar. How many days vacation will I have? How long can I be gone before they change the locks at work? How long until the AmEx card just whimpers and dies?
I have suggested to my potential traveling companion that we each design our own perfect trip and then see how far apart we are and make some compromises if need be. So I am merrily moving along—and am as far as putting the Trans-Siberian part of the trip on the last week in August, 2105. The journey begins in Moscow and arrives five days later in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. After two or three exciting days there, sampling every variation of mutton, we move on to Beijing, where we immerse ourselves in pollution at its finest for another couple of days. Then it’s off to Seoul by ferry and, finally, back home to the good old USA. Which will still be full of Republicans but one can only stay away so long.
I am going to book first class which just means two berths/beds instead of four, which will keep me from climbing up and down in a moving train every time I have to pee. Since it will be toilets (regular or squat) and wash basins down the hall, I probably won’t drink anything for five days. Will I die if I do that? Better risk death by dehydration than too many trips down the hall to a nighttime train toilet going through Siberia.
Enough writing for now. More planning. It’s 6:30pm and I cannot go to bed for at least a couple more hours. Since my last Big Trip, my schedule is generally 8-9pm in bed, 4:30-5am up, at work by 6:45-7am. It’s crazy—what being halfway around the world for a while will do to you. Next year I AM GOING ALL THE WAY AROUND THE WORLD. Here over the Atlantic to Denmark/Greenland, Norway, then Russia, Korea and back over the Pacific to Albuquerque. I may never sleep again.