Wandering the World
OK, so last week I finished off with myself getting on a midnight train out of Vladivostok, Russia after a day of not finding a shower and being assured that I would be able to shower on the train. This proved to be not possible as the train I got on did not, in fact, have a shower. So, the story continues...
Day 1 on the Train
On the positive side I have a whole package of wet wipes and so far I have a cabin for 4 all to myself. I am sure this is going to change because we were told the train was all booked up. Every time the train stops, which is frequently, I attempt to shift my stuff around to accommodate other people but so far I am alone. This is good since I can’t find the dohickey that goes in my headphones to connect them to my phone so I can listen to podcasts.
Another good thing is that the outlet is right outside my cabin so I can keep an eye on my stuff while it is charging. So far, aside from the no shower thing, I am super happy!
Continuing adventures of day one on the train. I got my two cabin mates today. They arrived with a bang! First a young man poked his head in and threw a duffle bag on the top bunk opposite me. He was followed by a couple drinking wine straight from the box and spilling it all over the floor. She started to come at me in Russian obviously indicating that I should move from my bottom bunk and give it to them. I started to protest but the man waved her away and said no. I then used the translator to tell her that my leg was broken and that was why I was on the train so she grabbed my ankle and my hand and did some kind of prayer over my foot taking the injury out. My leg still hurts but it was a sweet gesture. Then they spilled a bunch more wine on the carpet while I quickly scrambled to get all of my stuff off the spilling range. They then left to throw the dripping box and bag away and she never came back. I was a bit worried to see that my two new roomies were both men. Curses, why can’t I be a man, then I wouldn’t have to lay here worried that I will be attacked in my sleep.
The first few hours I was a bit standoffish. Then I decided I should probably try to connect with them better in spite of the language barrier. Both of my mates are farmers a younger one and an older one and by older I mean three years younger than I am which is just crazy. When did I become the older one? Actually I am really glad that I am not 16 right about now because I would be even more scared of being attacked in my sleep than I already am. The younger one speaks a bit of English while the older one does not. They spent the afternoon drinking 3 more boxes of wine while I read my Game of Thrones book and tried to listen to a podcast. Finally I gave up because the older guy just kept putting his hands all over my injured leg. It seems to fascinate him and he really really wants to talk to me. We reached a compromise in which he stopped touching my leg and I listen attentively to him and reply in whatever language I feel like, none of which he understands and I can’t understand a word of what he is saying but we laugh and gesture a lot. This seems to make him happy. Right now he is not happy with me because I am typing this and the younger guy has gone to sleep. This leaves him with nothing to do as he doesn’t like reading or writing and declined my invitation to watch a movie. He keeps laying down and then popping back up in the hopes that while he was laying down I suddenly became fluent in Russian. Sadly I have not.
I really hope he goes to sleep soon but I have my doubts. I think I will have one more go at watching a movie.
OK, so I find it disconcerting to have someone watch me while I am trying to watch a movie so I invited him to watch again then he watched for a while tried to grab my ass. I slapped his hand away and then he finally went to sleep. I guess that is what he was waiting around for, a clear signal that I am not interested.
Day 2 on the Train
The second day on the train has dawned and I am happy to say I am safe and sound. My bunkmate went out for another beer, I finished my movie and went to sleep. When I woke up they were both sleeping but soon woke and had some tea. They seem to have produced a tea cup out of no where, I wonder if they are available. I will have to check it out.
Seeking some alone time, I am now in the dining car. It is nice and I am the only person here at the moment. I asked about a shower again but got the same answer but she was helpful in that she suggested I pour water over my head in the bathroom. I am not sure where to get a whole bucket full of water but I will try.
The landscape continues to be brown and bare but there is more snow on the ground today. I am told we should reach Lake Baikal in 2 days time. Meanwhile, more books, podcasts and writing. I have to charge up this computer though. I wish there was a charge here in the dining car but there isn’t.
Well, we reached the lake but it was the middle of the night so I didn’t get to see it.
I was finally unable to stand it anymore and I washed my hair under the tap in the sink, now I feel a bit better but my body is beginning to get a bit ripe in spite of the wet wipe “showers” I am taking.
After taking a couple of days break I start writing again apparently on day 5
After 4 days, my cabin mates have all left. They were really kind and found me a tea cup which is proving my salvation. They also liberally shared their soviet cookie biscuits with me but refused to take any of the things I offered them. I think they were traveling for work. For me it was a lesson in trust as I am not used to sleeping in a cabin with men I don’t know and it left me feeling vulnerable the first 2 nights. The first night one of them was very drunk but the next day he was sober and he refused to look me in the eye. It was a bit unsettling but the younger one was super nice and always tried to put me at ease. By the third night I trusted them and slept much better.
Oh, I forgot to mention that on the second day they were there my younger bunkmate got pulled out by the police who were staying in a cabin at the end of the car and held for over an hour. When I expressed concern the older one assured me that it was normal. They brought him back, had him sign a paper in a bunch of places and that was that. I still don’t know why he was singled out.
And there ends my writing on the train. I spent 8 days in my little cabin. I read voraciously, slept whenever I felt like it and had lots and lots of time to just sit and think. Sometimes my thoughts were good and hopeful, other times I would worry and obsess about things in my life that bother me. my mind would circle around and around sore spots trying to find solutions or justifications for things that have no solutions or justifications. By the time I got off the train my mind and body were ready for movement. I was excited to be in Moscow!