13 July 2009

36-hour train to Severobaikalsk

Thirty-six hours, the longest so far. It was two-nights on a train with only two or three stops worthing to strech the legs outside. Buying same day ticket meant to go on kupe, 2nd class, which means closed compartiments of 4 berths. Beds are larger, softer and long enought for being stretched. In 3rd class, when doing it, people passing in the corridor would hit my feet.

We embark at 22:45, leaving at 23:00. From the beginning a young women, probably on the 30's, shares the compartiment. Her quite open t-shirt shows permanently her bra and soon after she puts on half transparent tights, with which she walks around in the train and its stops, showing all the drawings of the underware (not tanga, tough). The high-heeled shoes complete the description.

One hour later a mid-age women joins. I was already half asleep. This women talks more and next morning she tried some conversation to which I replied in my minimalist russian - where we are from, our strip so far and short terms plans. 

This trains takes us into the BAM line, paraller to the Trans-siberian, but North of the lake Baikal. This line was mostly built by Soviet prisioners working in concentration camps (gulags). The line was open only in 1991, same year as the Soviet dream come down.

Otheradvantages of kupe is that there are less people competing for the two toilets of the wagon and the provodnitsa are nicer, they even offered me a coffee in the morning, while I was in the corridor waiting my compartiment companions to wake up. 

About one hour away from the next big stop (+15min) the provodnitsa warns the toilet will be closed for 1h30. It's from 30 minutes before to 30 minutes after the stop, the so called hygienic zone. Eva was sleeping but our companions tell me that I should tell her. At same time one the mid-aged women starts to repaint her lips and eyes. For some Russian women seems important to be beautiful (in their way) for the duration of the stop, when everyone goes out of the train, who knows you will meet the person of your dreams (hopefully not buying beer or vodka).

As there is no restaurant wagon I bought a small dinner of smashed potatoes in the shop inside the station and bread from a women in the platform. The next long stop would be only in 12h, at 21:00.

During the dinner our companions also bought some dry noodles package and the middle aged person seems not to know how they work. Also next morning, 10minutes after the carriage attendant comes to announce the soon arrival - at 6:40am for arriving at 8:20 - and which I tryed to ignore, our companion (the other had left during the night) wakes me up saying that the toilets will close soon. But I knew they would not close before 7:50. We have been doing many more train rides in the past weeks than any average Russian person. But well, I got up and so I decided to have the brakfast still in the train.

2 comments:

  1. AH, AH, NOW you are traveling: sheeps, terror, long trains.
    Repeat this sequence from 5 to 10 times and things will start changing inside :-)
    Boa viagem!
    Luís

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  2. I think we will have to go to deep China or anywhere in India to have things to change inside. Here the only thing that changes is your willing not to drink alcohol, seeing som many people dead drunk and poor, together with children suffering of seeing their family in that state.
    The most amazing image I record is a girl of 12 or 13 slapping her grand-father in the face, throwing him to the floor because he was (again) drunk. He was too drunk to understand and just accepted...

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