Trans-Siberian Railway


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Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar
June 4th 2005
Published: August 9th 2005
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Ridin' Coach!Ridin' Coach!Ridin' Coach!

The only way to travel!
We departed China to catch our 7:30AM train appointment which would cover over 1,000 miles over a 36 hour period. The Trans-Siberian railway was a fantastic way for one to view the diverse landscapes China has to offer. No description I could give would do justice. I was able to see the rice paddies, rolling green mountains, rocky dry mountains, residential areas which reminded me of very bad shanty towns. And one last glimpse of the great wall was appreciated. It’s amazing how fast the landscapes would change considering we were most likely only traveling at about 40Mph. Most of northern China seemed empty which surprised me since China is such a populous country. To me it’s very difficult to see that prosperity is present at all. All the hype of China taking over as a super power and the number one economy still hasn’t been made true or credible in my mind.

Entertainment on the train blows away flying any day. We had 16 people from the project in 4 consecutive cabins, which meant for a lot of room hopping. When that wasn’t happening I took to viewing out the window at the scenery. I couldn’t resist just staring out the window for long periods of time thinking wow I’m really doing this and wow I really am in Asia. I’m such a lucky man for this opportunity. I wish everyone could know these sorts of experiences or understand how important they can be to one.

When we reached the Mongolia / China border our train including all 16 or so other cars had to be separated, lifted off the ground by crane, and placed onto larger tracks. You see Russia and China are too nasty to each other to allow their trains to run on each others tracks so what better than to have different sized tracks. This is also when I got my first meeting with Mongolians. The border guards stamped our passports and we were on our way through the Gobi Desert. Even with windows completely shut so much fine dust was leaked into our cabin. It almost felt like dust was being piled on my face as I tried to sleep.

Upon arrival into Mongolia I made a conclusion: Mongolia is beautiful. I’m confident at saying that only after two days spent here. The capitol, Ulaanbaatar and the cities cleanliness leave much to be desired, but the way this fairly developed city is dropped between beautiful green mountains is unlike any other. My photos from the train ride are some of the best photos I’ve taken, easily. Capturing nomads by gers with mountains partly covered in shade party lit by clouds above is magical. Unfortunately Mongolia is a very poor country. So poor that people almost seem to have lost hope. This is evident by the way no one seems to care about littering the city. Trash everywhere with no one cleaning up is a sad sight. This place is seriously from the past. The toughness of the Mongolians show on their faces. You can tell they’ve been through a lot by the wear and tear on the faces, even on the younger generations. Another observation I had is that babies here do not cry at all. I think one could kick these kids and they wouldn’t shed a single tear. A boy about seven years old bumped into me at one point in the bank and I felt like it was a solid man bumping into me. They are intimidating to say the least… the kids anyway. 😊



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Changing TracksChanging Tracks
Changing Tracks

When you reach the China Mongolia border you pass through inspection as well as change train tracks so each country can avoid any problems.
To Civilization!To Civilization!
To Civilization!

Heading towards the capitol of Mongolia we passes many small towns such as this one.
Outside of UBOutside of UB
Outside of UB

The Scenery just outside the capitol city of Mongolia.
Communist ArchitectureCommunist Architecture
Communist Architecture

Part of SukhBaator Square.
Sukh BaatorSukh Baator
Sukh Baator

The Savior of UB
Local MarketLocal Market
Local Market

Where we could purchase the last fruit we'd see for six weeks.
Nassan'sNassan's
Nassan's

View from outside our hostel window.
Khan BruKhan Bru
Khan Bru

Nothing like a good German inspired restaurant in Mongolia.
Club SweetClub Sweet
Club Sweet

First night out on the town!


13th August 2005

More amazing pictures! It really looks like you had a great time. I particularly like the one of you, John and Kyle in Mongolian clothes! ^__^ See you in a few days!

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