8 hours with your legs crossed

Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Russia  ,
Saturday, January 14, 2006

We had a good nights sleep and were woken the next morning by the provodnista. The train had reached the Mongolia-Russia border and we had to climb down from our top bunks. We were handed some forms and we quickly realised that they were all written in Russian Cyrillic. They spoke no English and obviously we can't read Russian, but we managed to figure out a few of the words from our phrase books and completed what we could. We left the rest blank so when the officials boarded the train to check our paperwork and passports, they helped us add a few things to the forms by pointing and talking in Russian. We also established that they wanted our customs form from the Mongolia-China border but we were not given a copy. Mongolian customs had kept it on the previous train. Luckily they let it slide.

After a while the train began to move again and we reached the Russian side of the border point ten minutes down the track. Rick needed to go to the toilet but he was told in no uncertain terms (in Russian with lots of hand movement) to get back to his cabin. At this border point the forms were again in Russian Cyrillic, but we managed to complete most of them again with the help of the phrase book. Two hours later an English speaking customs officer return to our cabin and explained a couple of sections we needed to complete. We were processed quickly but for some strange reason the train remained at the platform. After a few hours we were getting cabin fever. Rick's bladder was ready to explode but we continued to sit and wait (Rick with his legs crossed). Eventually eight hours after we had first stopped we began to move again. "Thank God!" said Rick's bladder as he finally relieved himself.

Later in the day our cabin mates got off at Ulan Ude and we had the cabin to ourselves for the night. Peace and quiet.
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