Stage Seven – Trans Siberian/Mongolian – overland UK 2 NZ

Monday 21st October – DAY SIX – Beijing – the arrival

Starting to see planting and wind turbines in rural China
Starting to see tree planting and wind turbines in rural China

Gradually, the blinds inched up the windows. Chris and I on the lower bunks watched the rural life, seeing orderly maze fields take form in the harsh rocky soil, only recently a desert. Rinze slept on upstairs.

Harvest in as the Chinese terrain starts to soften
Harvest in as the Chinese terrain starts to soften

Tree-lined streets looked, for all the world, like rural France!

The results of hard human endeavour in China
The results of hard human endeavour in China

There were mainly small market farms in townships or clusters of family homes perhaps, some light industry and some livestock. Saw a delightful sheep farm with brick winter housing featuring archways like some kind of fleecy monastery.

Chinese labour gangs on smoko
Chinese labour gangs on smoko

There were wind turbines, solar hot water systems on roofs and arrays of solar panels crept up the hills.

Solar panels creep up the Chinese hills
Solar panels creep up the Chinese hills

We had a Chinese restaurant car!

Detail of Chinese restaurant car
Detail of Chinese restaurant car

Our captain had given us food vouchers, one for early breakfast which I don’t think anyone could have attended unless they suffered from chronic insomnia, and lunch.

Maria and Sauli tuck into their late Chinese lunch
Maria and Sauli tuck into their late Chinese lunch

That consisted of a little salad of celery and wood fungus, stir fry veg and rice and a big meat ball. We had to buy our own drinks. They were out of tea by the time I got there at high noon.

Lian, Kim and Andrew on their 2nd trip to Beijing
Lian, Kim and Andrew on their 2nd trip to Beijing

Sat with Lian, Andrew and Kim, practicing my essential Chinese phrases. Thank you, I’m sorry, I don’t understand … the usual! They invited me to join them at the Temple of Heaven park the following morning at 06:00 for Tai Chi. That sounded lovely. Yeah. Nah. Not going to happen.

More tree planting in evidence as we draw near to Beijing
More tree planting in evidence as we draw near to Beijing
Ever closer to Beijing and ever more scenic
Ever closer to Beijing and ever more scenic
Protective forces in Beijing
Protective forces in Beijing
Urban reality bites in Beijing
Urban reality bites in Beijing
Carriage five lending library
Carriage five left-books lending library

On arrival at Beijing Station we parted company easily and went our separate ways.

Beijing Railway Station Plaza - free!
Beijing Railway Station Plaza – free to go where-ever I want to! Um, where, exactly?

I did meet Holly as she tried to work out how to get out of the station and I tried to work out how to get into the subway. I found where to buy my ticket and when I turned to go I met a young girl from Finland with big, wide eyes. I guess mine were the same as we scanned the plaza for some English hint of what to do next. She couldn’t remember where she was going and couldn’t get the ticket until she knew what she was up to. We stared at the subway map on the wall. My hotel had given me instructions so I knew to look for DongSi on line 5.

There you go, Beijing subway. Easy.
There you go, Beijing subway. Easy.

‘Step by step,’ I told the young girl. ‘We’re not in any hurry. Plenty of time to get to where we’re going. It’s daylight.’ Remembering my encouraging Australian Camino friend I said, ‘You’re invincible. You can do it.’ ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘I can’. ‘You are resourceful,’ I added. ‘And will easily manage.’ ‘Yes,’ she said. ‘I will’. And we both took photos of the subway picture. (Of course, I was talking to myself!) She went to buy a ticket. I went to the subway entrance.

DongSi station. Only, which exit?
DongSi station. Only, which exit?
Cucumber flavour could be vegan, right?
Essential services. Find food. Cucumber flavour could be vegan, right?

When the train stops

Sounds quiet

Movement within

Space extends

Memories made.

Six days

One hour

And four minutes

Went.

15 responses to “Stage Seven – Trans Siberian/Mongolian – overland UK 2 NZ

  1. That was EPIC!!!! Now for the sea voyage. Can’t wait to read about that. Bon voyage, V! Xoxo

  2. MARYANNE MACPHERSON-CALDEIRA

    I knew Anton would be good company….all Anton’s are! 😉

    • I send best wishes and good luck to all Antons, from Mongolia to Melbourne, may they be happy, healthy and looking forward to eating apples from their own trees.

  3. MARYANNE MACPHERSON-CALDEIRA

    OMG! Feels like I wrote that first comment days ago…. (it was after page 1 not realising there were 6 days of blog…YOU MADE IT!!!!
    Bloody hell, I was right there with you. Good job girl…show it how it’s done.

    • Thank you, MA! I am so grateful you managed to get through it all. I am trying to walk the talk but hadn’t realised how much fun it was going to be. Now I’m in hot, humid Taiwan it’s quite peculiar thinking I was looking at snow just a couple of weeks ago!

  4. I have finally got through it.. wow, that was epic
    Page 6 best for me, i needed a sign of the step by step baby steps stepping stones
    You rock our intrepid reporter
    See you real soon in brissie

    • Thank you, Louiselle! Glad you managed to get through it. (Hope you were able to have a shower along the way.) Looking forward to landing in Port Brissie!

  5. I do like you blog, Victoria. And your trip. It’s really fantastic! My English is not rich enough to express what I think about it. I feel like travelling myself!

    • Dear Begoña, I am very grateful you enjoy reading about my travels when you are such an experienced adventurer yourself! I’m very happy you feel inspired. I know you will have a great time where-ever you go – with your language skills and interest in other people – the world is yours!

  6. Wonderful write-up Victoria, I feel like I’ve experienced it with you! I think it’s a great way to use your time, experiencing the reality of the non-flight long distance travel options and ‘seeing the details’ – whether the loo goes straight to the tracks, how cabins are heated and managed etc – you’re doing great. Also really interesting to get a glimpse of how some of those landscapes that people don’t usually see are managed and the variety of lifestyles of your fellow travellers. Good luck with every connection, accomodation and language challenge – we’re there with you!

  7. I read excitedly and i’m waiting for more!
    I’ll translate it to Ella:-)
    Best wishes from Moscow:-)

    • Spasibo, Tatiana! How wonderful you came along for the ride! Great to think of you in Moscow with your lucky students. I bet you are feeling cooler right now than I am here in humid Taiwan!

  8. Jeffrey Bartolomei

    Remarkable! Epic! well done you’ve made it.

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