9. Sometimes the Musical Chairs of Riders Coming and Goings: A Train Buff’s Russian Trans-Siberian Adventure

9. Sometimes the Musical Chairs of Riders Coming and Goings

On Friday June 23rd late morning, Vladimir got off and a new passenger in the afternoon came in, A Russian, named Victor didn’t speak any English – he was just traveling to Habrov, a large city in the far East. He and I were exchanging words from Google translate. A friendly man in his forty’s. I went and tried out some luncheon cuisine at the train diner. Many thin tall trees (birch), and grasslands, were  very green. Also could see a two lane highway, only with couple of cars going eastward towards Habrov. Not many drivers on the highway, very sparse. Victor got off the train before 8pm.

Two young men in their early 30’s boarded the train at 8pm to go short distance, about 8 hours to just to sleep and get off by 4am on Saturday morning. Sergey and Alex spoke very little English, and they were quite. I took a lot of sunset pictures. The clouds were cleared, and the sunset was very orange looking, taking the pictures while the train was moving between 80 to 100km/h speed. All through the route of about 5,700 miles, the train system of Trans-Siberian is electric power-driven. Every 100 to 200 feet, power poles.

 

 

Most of the pictures I took, have power poles, which support the electric power lines for the locomotive engine. I kept experimenting with new cuisine for lunch and dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

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6. 2nd and 3rd Day Plenty of Trees, Farm Homes: A Train Buff’s Russian Trans-Siberian Adventure

6.  2nd and 3rd Day Plenty of Trees, Farm Homes and Eat on the Diner Car

On Monday June 19th, during the day passing by, plenty of thin trees and few rivers. The farm community homes are smaller, and rickety, with wood and tin covering. Train is moving at a fast pace, maybe 65km per hour? Or 70km/hr or even higher? I tried to text Denise at three smaller cities, including Ohms, but service is not available. Sent a couple of words on Michael’s phone via Facebook to Denise, saying all is well and riding well. I’ll try again in 3 hours to see if I can send a text to her. I took several pictures in the morning and in the afternoon, mostly trees, open spaces and the sky with some clouds.

 On Tuesday June 20th, traveled through low mountains, trees, old tiny rickety homes. Mostly farm homes. Also, got to see old style Soviet apartment buildings. Lots of trees, along the way. Two of our cabin passengers getting off in Irkutsk, half way point to Vladivostok. They get off at 2am Moscow time, but Irkutsk is at 7am.

Met a fellow traveler in dining car, and he is from Belgium, another train nut, he appeared to be about 30. He is traveling through Russia, and SE Asia and New Zealand. He spoke good English. While in the dining car, I got Eggs were sunny side up. I tried to use my debit card in the dining car, But did not take the pass code, which is correct. used cash to pay for the eggs.

 

 

 

 Today used my “No Rinse” shampoo for my hair, after 3 days . Worked fine.  None of the carriage car attendants speak English. Occasionally using google translator with the attendants. Stocked up with bakery for breakfast for next three days. I’ll use the ATM at Irkutsk station, to get some cash. Shared wife and grandkids pictures with the German and Russian travelers in my cabin. German traveler spoke manageable English, an army man. He helped me and Michael to translate from English to Russian with the cabin train attendant. Google translator is a god send.

 

1. In My Early Years: A Train Buff’s Russian Trans-Siberian Adventure

  1.  In My Early Years

 I love train travel. Ever since I was 12 years old, I traveled overnight train from outside of Bombay to Hyderabad in South India. It was twice a year to the boarding school in Hyderabad, for 6 years till I was 18. I was the only student in the boarding, coming from a distant region to attend school and stay in boarding, and go home in summer and Christmas holidays. All the locomotive engines were steam from Pune to Hyderabad.

At age 18 I moved to USA in 1964, joined my dad and family. First time I returned to India was for 3 weeks in 1987, and most of the travel was by plane inside India, and one overnight train journey. It all started back in 1998, when I took off to India for 60 days. I quit my subcontractor position as a financial analyst at an aerospace company near Los Angeles, and told my girl friend Denise, I want to ride the Indian rails on a mass scale. She encouraged me to take that long trip. I let go of the apartment I was renting.

 So there I went, with a 60 day Indrail Pass, which allowed me to travel on any train, but had to make reservation for a sleeping berth. Indian trains are crowded , and requires lengthy planning. It helped getting reservations on AC2 (Air Condition) carriages on various trains, due to foreign reserve quotas. The longest duration I traveled was on Kerala Express, from New Delhi to Trivandrum. Kerala Express was a 3 day, 2 night travel. The train went through various states, all the way to deep South India. Some were electric engines.

On this trip all the other train journey’s were a one night journey, and did visit few relatives in various Indian states. I enjoyed the 60 day trip to India. This was primarily a spiritual pilgrimage journey. I thought I had a good fill with trains, for a while. I stayed at many hotels close to train stations, about 15 of them. Just before starting my journey, I came across “India by Rail” guide book, and was a great asset.