Settling in

I’m in Beijing now and have uploaded some pictures to flickr, check them out!

I’m unable to reach my blog though, I guess it’s that damn Chinese firewall so I’m posting via email. This means that the formatting might well be wonky.

One day on the train is much like the next, the scenery is much like Sweden except for when you pass a village or town where the misery is everywhere. Trash everywhere and all the buildings seem to stay up by sheer luck. They seem to like bright colors though and it’s not uncommon to see a shack on the verge of falling over with a nearly fresh coat of turquoise paint.

Me and my bunkmates Mats, Håkan and Kimberly decide to try out the Borstj in the dining cart and it turned out to be really good even though the piece of chicken swimming around in it still had its backbone attached.

I also built a version 2.0 of my speakers, this time using beer cans and with a much better result. I christened it Baltica Sound System (Baltica being the beer brand in question).

I’ve resigned to the grizzled look since shaving carries with it a serious risk of pulling a Van Gogh on this perpetually moving train (the few stops we make are never longer than 25 minutes and then they lock the bathroom anyway since poo is dropped right out on the tracks).

Lunch stop in Barabinsk (the Cossack dance-off was really in Ekaterinenburg, my bad) brings lots of pirogue-ladies and I buy a piece of bread from one carrying a tray of what looks like smoked Roach (Mört). Biting into it I quickly realized my mistake, the bread must’ve been made out of ground up Roach and tasted just as vile as you’d think. The pirogues were good though; one with onion, cabbage, potatoes, carrots and the other with mashed potatoes and spring onions.

In the evening me, Mats, Kimberly and Håkan once again went to the dining cart and this time we ordered some blinis with smetana (sourcream), beer and vodka. When you order vodka in Russia, you don’t get the usual 4 cl shot, you get enough for three or four shots each. Mats was yet again pining for the old Russian pearl Padmaskovnye Vetjera (Midnight in Moscow) I had sung it a couple of times before but this time it was for the entire dining cart. With each new shot another request was made and I ended up singing most of the classics.

By this time word had really gotten out to the rest of my fellow travelers that I’m a Red Army choirboy and people kept requesting that I’d sing (I wasn’t all that hard to persuade either =P). I was more than a little drunk at this point but managed to stay on key, as far as I can tell at least. Btw, if this sounds like a long drunken revelry, it’s because it more or less is. It’s also the most fun I’ve had in years!

The evening wound down (at about 4 am local time. But the train is still on Moscow time (12 am) for some reason so so are we) singing along with Matilda yet again.

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