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Mongolia Train Adventure

So we got up at the crack of dawn, the Chinese Soldiers off in the distance doing the flag cerimony could be heard through the window as we got ready. a short taxi ride later we were at the train station waiting for our guide to give us our tickets. no sooner had she arrived had we boarded our train and set off on the journey to Ulaanbatar. It was an interesting journey, as we travelled through the day we could see part of the great wall peaking through the rolling hills of northern China. The day passed quite quickly as we read our books, played uno and had a few beers in the dinner cart. As dark came around we finally reached the CHINA boarder. Now despite the fact that this train is such a common train journey China still has different train tracks to Mongolia and so about 4 hours were spent changing all the wheels of the train to fit the Mongolian tracks. Quite an experience really. They lock all the toilets, and give you hte option of staying on or getting or the other, 'no both'. we opted for staying on, so we could see how they do it. We got rolled into this big warehouse where the wheels were unscrewed and we were lifted into the air (about six feet) and then put back on to the mongolian wheels. this process took about an hour. Then we got rolled back to the station and the paperwork began....and was there paperwork. It went on and on.....white, blue pieces of paper. never at the same time. Kind of annoying really because you would just fall asleep when someone would open the door for another piece of paper. This went on for an hour then we finally crossed the boarder and did it all again on the Mongolian side. Training through the night through central Mongolia was amazing though. There is just miles and miles of flat land and then suddenly a group of gers. The sky was so clear and the stars were so bright. As we got closer to UB ice started to build on the windows and although we were warm in the carriage we knew it was cold outside. we arrived in ub and met upwith Steves friend Bec who has just moved here for a year. really cool chic with an amazing story. UB is not quite what I imagined. i thought that it would be more like south east asia but it is kindof an almagimation of Russia and China, which I guess is expected. They have really grasped the ultra modern and a developing at a fast pace. For a country with the population of Melbourne, Ub feels quite crowded. Would definately recommend it to anyone wanting an adventure though. We head off for a 7 day tour down tothe Gobi tomorrow so I will let you know how it goes.

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