20.10.2016 UB to Beijing 

Up before dawn to get to train station.  We get there before the train will let anyone on so we sit on the platforming chatting to other travellers, I have never been this sociable this early in the morning.

We settle down on the Mongolian train noting that this is the cleanest and plushest train yet, there is even a t.v. for every bunk (albeit they don’t work) . We are joined by a Canadian, Melody, who is our chatty companion for the journey and we watch the steppes of Mongolia pass by whilst getting excited by the upcoming prospect of China.

The train is full of backpackers, and even though there were 10 of us who left our hostel to board this train we don’t meet any of them. We do meet some from our previous journey to UB (if you have been to Ulan Baataar then you can call it UB) it is getting to be a small world.

I am on nil by mouth still so Guy spends his time eating Bone Soup pot noodle and a particularly spicy cayenne pepper pot noodle along with snacks of peanuts, raisins, and 2 varieties of chocco pie and a mystery pastry we bought that is full of mincemeat type thing. I am fine with this and am stoically silent (kind of).

The Gobi desert passes our window however it is not very desert like (photo below for me Mum).

We then have a passport border check. On the Mongolian side they are brisk and friendly which we expect from Mongolians now.

A 30 min train ride through no man’s land and we are in China, it is 7pm, and the first set of border guards are also, to our surprise, friendly, they collect our passports. Another set come through with sniffer dogs and do bag searches. Finally we have a guard with a hand held device that he vaguely shoves in everyone’s direction that we have no idea what it was for, but later find out was probably a heat gun. Good thing it didn’t pick up alcohol heat as Guy had started on the voddy by this stage!

Now we need to change bogeys, which sounds wrong to me, but many men are fascinated with this and point their massive camera lenses out the window hoping for a snapshot of a bogey! For the unaware changing bogeys in train speak means changing the wheels on a train and involves (in China) 6 hours of being shunted back and forth with lots of clattering and crashing around, so no chance to sleep until past 1pm.

Further down our carriage a group on a tour were singing popular songs so we played guess the artist. I lost (only recognising Take that and Soft Cell,wasn’t quick enough for Bon Jovi, Guy beat me to that!!!). By this stage we had an Australian woman and a Japanese/ Canadian in our carriage and a vodka taste test was underway.

I sat and watched. We got to bed after 1.30.

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