Bye bye Russia

Naushki Travel Blog

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Daytime at the Russian border station
I disembarked my train in Naushki, a Russian border city notable only for being a Russian border city. I managed to book my bike in the baggage compartment of a another train heading to Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia later that day. After that, I spent all day sitting around on the train platform, my panniers too awkward to drag around and having nowhere to stash them. I spotted a store nearby in the town, but I didn't want to abandon my stuff. I didn't feel out of place though, as the train also sat in the station the entire day while immigration staff did their things with everyone's visas. Apparently this is an infamous part of the Trans-Siberian railway, but I'm really not sure why the train had to sit around so long.
Nighttime at the Russian border station

Eight hours passed, and eventually the train that had brought me there moved on, leaving me again waiting on the platform. My outgoing train pulled in soon afterwards and I eagerly approached it, hoping to get on and stash my bags in my cabin. No such luck. The Chinese man responsible for my wagon (it was a Chinese train) shooed me away and indicated I had to wait. So wait I did. I've become good at waiting around at train stations by this point. The other travellers on the train disembarked and I made friends with some British guys. They agreed to guard my stuff and I eagerly rushed to the store and stocked up on tasty provisions (besides curing my hunger, it was also a good way to blow through all my Russian rubles before the border).

We waited around several more hours on the train platform, and I tried entering (alighting?) the train once again.
Another shot of Naushki station
The Chinese attendant was shocked when he realized I still had my passport on me. The immigration agents had combed the train and taken everyone's passports, but since I hadn't come in on that train, obviously they didn't have mine. He indicated that I needed my passport stamped and pointed at some random buildings. I poked my head in several doors before I found someone willing to take my passport. There were dozens, if not hundreds of customs agents working in the station, but apparently none of them are actually paid to stamp my passport.

With the passport out of my control, the Chinese attendant finally let me board the train. He put me in the same cabin with the British guys even though my ticket was for another. They had brought some smutty magazines with them and they befriended the Chinese attendant by letting himread it. It was hilarious watching him flip through Nuts magazine, pointing at scantily clad women and saying one of the few English words he knew: beautiful. Eventually they returned our passports and the military came in to search the train. They didn't bother with our bags, instead searching the luggage areas and inside the heaters. I guess they didn't find anything because the train soon began to move. We tried to sleep but were woken up soon afterwards as the Mongolian immigration agents tried to outdo their Russian counterparts. All in all, it took half the day to cross the border.

As I leave Russia, here are some thoughts:
-Moscow has to be one of the most expensive cities in the world.
-Mullets are the most popular haircut in Russia (short or long, men or women).
-Russian restrooms have a bad reputation, but in fact they don't even exist.
-If a strange man approaches you at a cafe and wont leave you alone, he wants you to buy him a drink.
-Hockey doesn't seem to be nearly as popular out here as I would have thought.
-People like wearing clothes that have English on them, even if the English makes no sense.

cbrockington says:
Nathan-sounds like a trip of a lifetime-hope you are staying strong-waiting for your next posting.
Auntie Carol
Posted on: Oct 10, 2007
casey says:
Hope you have some mullet photos so I will finally learn what exactly one looks like...please don't come back with a mullet. You seem to have a lot of incriminating information on your blog...smutty magazines????
Posted on: Oct 08, 2007
nathans_maw says:
Hope everything is going ok Nathan.

Take care of your health

Posted on: Oct 08, 2007
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Daytime at the Russian border stat…
Daytime at the Russian border sta…
Nighttime at the Russian border st…
Nighttime at the Russian border s…
Another shot of Naushki station
Another shot of Naushki station
photo by: coolguy