I was writing notes at random intervals on the train so this is sort of broken up.
Well its time for my first long (36 hour) train journey from Budapest to Moscow via the Ukraine – First impressions as the train rolls into the station “Wow thats so Russian!” and thats about all I can do to explain it 😛
The cabin is of course small (3 berth, cheapest) but I do like the little nooks and crannys that hide things (like sink under table, storage under seats, fridge under stool etc).
24 hours to go: Last nights sleep wasn’t the greatest, i was comfortable enough but I had a bitch of an ear ache for some reason. At 2am we crossed the Hungarian / Ukraine border and I had my first bout of trouble with the customs guys. Many of you that know me have heard / seen me joke about how my passport & driving license photo doesn’t look much like me (its 7 years old) and you can’t see much detail… well for the first time its caused me problem.
I was taken off the train by 3 customs people and basically asked to prove my existence as Leon Pritchard to them when no-one really spoke any English. This involved emptying my wallet & paperwork folder and giving them any & all forms of ID I had, answering many many questions about the contents of my passport and given exact details of the nature & route of my journey before they finally let me back on… and I guess that is only because I’m only heading through there country, I can imagine them thinking “Fuck it, let the Russians deal with him”.
18 Hours to go: I can’t get comfortable, the seats are too straight backed and there isn’t any room to move with all 3 of us in here. My cabin mates don’t speak any English and after a couple attempts at communication everyone has sort of given up and I’m treated with a mild neglect… I don’t mind, I got the window seat, mp3 player, DS and half a good book.
I’m still hoping that the Russian border isn’t a problem.
12 hours to go: Coming upto 9pm – Things got a lot more comfortable a couple hours ago when my russian cabin mates decided it was nap time and put the beds back out, ok there isn’t anywhere to sit but lying down is comfy enough.
No idea when the border crossing is.
Mmmmmm cupa soup & NiN.
10 hours to go: 10pm – Full moon! Beer! Woo!
+3 hours – Well Ukraine customs still gave me a dirty look and took my passport away for 20min before they let me LEAVE the country… guys has something happened in world news I should know about? The Russians didn’t care about the photo but did have to take my passport off to check out the Visa as it wasn’t on his printed off list. Easy enough though!
Now sitting in my hostel after a bit of struggle on the metro system (damn Cyrillic) – Feel so much better after a shower. Just need to wash everything I own and find some food and I’m all set.