Train 2: Beijing to Ulaanbaatar

26h 38m

It felt like an earthquake. Bottles toppled, cards flipped, passengers shaken.


Luckily, it wasn’t an earthquake and we didn’t spill our drinks either.


We spent a few hours last night in Erlian where they changed the wheels on the train. The fact Mongolia has adopted Russia’s system means you can’t just cruise on in from China.


The tracks widen, perhaps some kind of modern day Great Wall, separating the countries by inconvenience and bureaucracy instead of stone. It might be because Genghis never bothered to apply for a visa back in the day.


So now we are slowly travelling through the Gobi. Dirty yellow grass and grey skies on both sides as far as the eye can see.


There’s a fence, small but made of barbed wire. It’s been running parallel to the track since the last station, it might be the longest fence I’ve seen.


I’ve seen a bird and a hill too. I’ll keep you updated.


Thirty minutes later we spied camels. Double humped. Wild? We may never know; but they were certainly a highlight.



Train 1: Hong Kong to Beijing

23h 58m

I lost my pen, probably in Sydney Airport. I don’t usually lose things, so I’m glad that’s all I couldn’t find as I repacked my bags early yesterday.


As fate would have it Gabi and I stopped past City University’s convenience store on our stroll back from lunch. They stocked pens identical to the one I lost, so I bought two. One for each hand, if the need arose.


It was a hectic week in my second home, there was rarely a dull moment as we jumped from dim sum to dimly lit bar, through the jungles, urban and natural. This, needless to say, excluded our mandatory afternoon naps.


All the events culminated in won ton noodle soup for lunch with Gloria and Robbin in Hung Hom. We chatted and they helped my shop for train essentials, remembering all but one item, chopsticks.


I had intended to write about my first train encounter while eating dinner, but that was impossible, as the instant noodles floating in boiling water infront of me could be retrieved by nothing else but the two pens I purchased yesterday, fashioned like the chopsticks I had forgotten.


If this is the greatest challenge of this trip I’ll be very surprised. I can only hope my resourcefulness will come to my aid once more.


Its the next morning now. The end of this train ride feels very different to the start. It’s as if last week in Hong Kong wasn’t even a trip, I had not fully adopted the travel mindset, it felt very much like I was going home in a few days.


Now, twenty-fours hours away by train it’s seems different, I feel slightly more prepared for this trans-continental train journey further from home than I’ve been before.