Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Our Train Adventure

We're ready for a long ride!

Well traveling by train has been something Marvin and I have both wanted to do. There is something about it that is slow and deliberate and allows you plenty of gazing out of the window. Before we departed life was moving about 100 mph, so we were anxious for a few days at a slower speed. Our ride up when well and we were able to see a lot of country side. We rode in a cabin with four bunks. We were fortunate to get the lower bunks on the way to Moscow as it gave us prime window seats. There were two other guys in our cabin and one departed early in the morning and slept most of the time he was with us, but the other guy was a very nice guy and very patient with our language. He even taught Marvin a few card games; he had plenty of time to learn. We were a bit sore after our 36 hour ride but very thankful that we were able to go on such a journey.
Our return home was a little more on the adventurous side. Our tickets were for the top bunks so this meant that I had to figure out how to get up on my bed, there is no ladder. I took an interesting approach and every time Marvin watched me flop up to my bed he would shake his head and laugh. I am sure it was quite the sight. I woke up the next morning and needed to use the bathroom and wearily walked into the toilet near our cabin and discovered someone had thrown up everywhere. Obviously this sent my whole body convulsing and I about lost it as well. So it took about 4 hours to recover from such experience.

As you can see they provided us with a bed rolls, sheets, blankets, and a pillow. The heat was on during the night, so we were nice and toasty as we slept.

Soon after this recovery our favorite people the police came to our car to check everyone’s documents. Surprise, surprise they needed to ask us some more questions. They asked us to follow them to the train attendant’s car. We gathered our documents and followed them. They started asking questions about our visa and how it didn’t match our job. Then they started in on leaving our city without permission and told me that they were going to kick us off the train. This is where I start to panic a bit, because I have no idea where we are or how we would get home if they were serious. So I start to tear up and he immediately looks at Marvin and says can he speak? I said yes and then told me to leave because he didn’t like emotions.

Marvin's chilling in his top bunk, while I am breaking a cultural rules by putting my feet on his bed. Don't worry my feet are pretty clean because we brought our house shoes for the ride, so everytime we walked anywhere we made sure we had them on.

So while Marvin was talking to this police guy I talked to the other guy and he was quite nice and didn’t think there was a problem. Well this other guy persisted. We called our lawyer and she talked to him, and still he persisted. This whole time I knew full well what this guy wanted but since we had done nothing wrong made me a bit angry. He told us that he needed to smoke so follow us to the smoking area. This is when he decided to tell us that he could make this whole thing go away if we gave him something. I played dumb and called a translator and our lawyer and they both translated what I thought he was saying. While I was on the phone trying to decide how much money to give this guy, he looked at Marvin and crossed out our information that he had written down. We had no idea what to do, so we finally decided how much we thought we had to pay and went to his cabin where he told us to meet him, but when Marvin said thank you he told him he didn’t need to pay, end of story. We made it home without getting kicked off the train. But you better believe we were very glad every time we left a station.

Here is a picture of the toilet. It was locked during stops, and we quickly found out why. When you flushed it just opened up and dropped everything outside.

The last part of our fun journey home happened around bedtime. Apparently someone decided it was a good idea to play rap music very loudly when it was time for bed. After enduring an hour of being blown out of our beds and searching for a volume control, Marvin went to ask the train attendant how we could lower the music. Surprise the answer was in our cabin all a long, we just didn’t see it. Overall we are glad we had a train experience, and yes we would do it again, but we are very thankful to be home.

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