Beijing Bound

Moleskine Entry April 22nd 2011

It’s 11:49am local time, we crossed the Chinese border about 12hrs ago and should be arriving at the capital in around 2hrs. Immense.

Some things I need to cover before I start on Beijing!

Day 3 in Ulaanbaatar.

After waking up at stupid o’clock and catching a genuine Mongolian sunrise (note to self: catch more sunrises), we had breakfast and headed back to UB just in time for lunch.

Later there was traditional Mongolian dancing and singing.
More things of note:

  • The Mongolian influences on parts I, II and III of Star Wars are incredible. The first singer may as well be auditioning for the part of Queen Amidala – it was that spot on.

Traditional Mongolian Throat Singing

  • I touched upon the culture clash of eastern and western life in a previous entry but, what is equally staggering is that, simply through a cursory glance at the traditional clothing worn by the Mongolians at this evening out, anyone could see how the Russian and Cossack dress, style and fashion has mixed in with that of the eastern, more Chinese way of presenting one’s self. If London is the cultural melting pot of the world, then Mongolia is (or was) the same but of Russia and China. A truly unique, yet ultimately recognisable, design for life.
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  • Mongolian throat singing. Like that thing that you do sometimes when you catch your voice just at its driest.

Aaaaand then it was an early night for us. Yesterday, the 21st, we were to get up and board the train for our final leg of the trip from UB to Beijing.

Looking at the train

The train itself (by comparison to our last transport) is gorgeous (and actually, I’m glad that I made the trip this way ’round, given that initially I’d intended to start in Beijing – thank you Sarah), and they have actual showers!

Last night, just after we crossed the border…

WE HAD TO CHANGE THE FRICKIN’ WHEELS ON THE FREAKIN’ TRAIN CARRIAGES

Changing the wheels

Yes, that’s right. The tracks in China are smaller to that of the rest of the world and, although you would think that you would simply change trains at the border – oh no, they simply lift the carriages into the air AND CHANGE THE WHEELS WHILE YOU’RE STILL INSIDE. This is nothing short of mental.

Soon. Beijing.

We’re not there yet and already I’m in love.

China is stunning.

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PS. Lunch in the restaurant car.

Yes! Decent food! Yes!

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