I am in China! Wooohooo!
Moscow was harsh in many ways, and I didn’t feel too sorry to leave it. I found my train, woohoo! for that and thanks so much for all the crossed fingers – it helped!, and I will write more about all my up front worries later. But I entered my 4 persons compartment in the train and sat down. 2 minutes later my train roommate came in, also here I was prepared for the worst. After a tough time in Moscow I ended up sharing my cabin with only one person, so lots of space, which was great.
And how I love Ithika and A simple twist of fate, because this person, are you ready, was as English as an Englishman could be (and hearing him speak was like music in my ears after days of struggle Russian), and the very first morning I woke up after my first night on the train and he-served-me-tea-in-bed. Tea in bed ladies and gentlemen, and not just any tea, it was bloody Yorkshire tea!
And before you are going to ask me for a wedding date, nope not going to happen, as he was only 19! But he was charming as hell, very polite, very English, very witty and we have laughed a lot and had a great time. There were about 6 more Brits in my wagon, which was lovely. I now am absolutely sure that I belong in the UK.
I have written loads and loads of stuff in my notebook, and I plan to publish most of it here at some point, gradually, but let me list a few short notes:
It was long, we have been bored maybe half an hour a day, but have mostly been enjoying the trip it was absolutely great.
7700 or something kilometer by train, and the train managed to enter Beijing station at the exact minute it was supposed to enter Beijing.
Soo much snow everywhere, in Russia, in Mongolia, and in the beginning of China, it was absolutely stunning, and I was so very happy that I did this trip in the wintertime. It was freezingly cold at some stations, but the train was warm, and seeing people in their winter clothes (lots of fur heads!) was so much more authentic.
I just enjoyed a first shower after a week on the train and it was beautiful. My hotel room is twice the size of my London room, they have those slippers which Bill Murray was wearing in Lost in Translation, the bed looks the same as well, and I don’t dare to ask them if it is a mistake but it is pure luxury and I just thoroughly enjoy it.
I wonder if I can sleep in a non shaking bed. (Yeah, shaking from the train that is, don’t get any other fancy ideas …)
We had the most wonderful compartment manager, a Chinese man called Li, who could only speak about 5 words of English. It’s absolutely amazing how much we have talked only using these 5 words. I am really really going to miss him.
Tomorrow I will walk around in Beijing, visiting the Forbidden City and the Lama Temple, and just enjoying being able to walk around again.
I saw the Chinese Wall today!
I really don’t want to go home yet. It has been so great until now already, and I still have Bill lined up!
I’ll get back with some more maybe tomorrow. Beijing is calling me.