I Woke up with the knowledge that we gone to cross the Chinese border today.
In Ulan Bator the capital of Mongolia we had a stop for around 4h one day before. It was allowed to leave train and I decide to walk around a bit. The temperature on this day minus 25 and I walked fast to warm up a bit. After a while I saw a lot of people who were entering an old house. Curious I was following them to see what is happen there. Inside a queue waiting to get served with hot soup and a peace of dark bred. They did not have to pay for it, I mean the food was for free and how the people were looking like their would not have money at all. It was kind of public canteen for free food. After all the days this chicken meals I decide to line up to have taste from what the people were eaten. Of course most all were looking at me with my modern western clothes and were pointing during whispering to each other. I took my soup and the wet dark bread sit down and start to eat. For me was the taste quite ok after all the chicken stuff for 7 days on the train. The fatty soup was warming me quite fast. I went back to the waiting train happy for the change of food I had. All the time I tried to have a deep breath to fill my lungs with fresh air before I was entering the train again. The malodor inside the train was unbelievable because we could still not any window. Outside even with this cold climax was a paradise for the lung.
After breakfast I was looking all time out of the window. Nothing special to see since days hahaha only white until the horizon. Somehow I hope something will change when we coming closer to the Chinese border. Of course not. The train was slowing down its speed and then it was stopping at Zamin Uud a small border town. I could see now Chines soldier because we were at boarder to China now. After pass control and the change of the restaurant waggon the train starts its journey again around two hours later.
China here I´m ! Now my really seek for a master can start. But of course first I went to the new restaurant waggon. What I saw and smelled was keeping my mouth wide open.
After around one hour queue up the service guy give me sign to enter the train restaurant. The smell of tea and coffee was entering the sense organ of my nose. The mouth starts watering because I did not have any food since at least my MC Donald experience in Moscow 24h ago. I took the place the service was showing me and luckily at the window. A yellowish paper with some Cyrillic letters on it get handed to me. A asking for a english menu card and the service man with a dirty uniform start laughing loud so guests were turning around to look at us. Ok, ok one american coffee I order first then some boiled eggs toast and porridge. A next loud laugher starts from the mouth of the service man. Now understood that he could not even speak english, how funny…
.So I started to make pantomime and played the role of a coffee bean, a smelling nose and a chicken who lay an egg under the wide open eyes of the other restaurant guests. The pantomime of the service shows me sorry no have…So looked around at the other tables in the restaurant and I see only soup terrine, any kind of chicken pieces so far I can see. One guest came to me who could talk a bit english. He told me that I can have anything I like but only made from chicken. I ask what? Yes anything but it must be made from chicken. Because the service bought luckily hundreds of chicken at the black market or farm and the cook now can prepare what ever I like from it. Even here on the train the effect lack of food we could sense. Actually we were lucky to have such clever service because they went by them self to the black food market or to some farmer to catch and buy what ever they could get. In our case chicken. My first order for breakfast on the transsiberian train then was two chicken legs and a pot russian tea. During my first bite into the chicken leg was thinking: „Ohhh ohhhh seven days all kinds of chicken menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner hopefully no chicken wings will crow on me…“
December 1989 > Now I got the ticket in my pocket from Budapest to Moscow from Moscow with the „Transmongolian Train“ to Beijing. Voila in two days leaving Hungary toward to China. The seven days waiting for it was worthwhile because I payed only 200 US for it. With this train ticket I could go now to the embassy of Sowjetunion for a transit visa who need for my traveling with the train via China. The visa took me two day to get but with it in my passport I felt like a winner of a long boring game. My second visa after the Chinese one who got from the embassy in Germany. During my stay in Budapest I started to realize the big difference between east and west. I remember one german saying at that time: „Im Westen ist es am besten, im Osten stehen die Posten“. Such a big different in the same continent Europe how it will be more far east? Two days later on the train to Moscow looking out of the window to say goodbye to Budapest. A city at that time sad and poor but full of dreams for the coming future with democracy.
The skyline of the snow covered houses of Budapest become smaller and smaller. In the same train cabin was a Japanese arround the same age like me. He was already six years on traveling. For me unbelievable at that time. I was repeating it in my mind „six years“ not at home only on the road from country to country. Mhhhh crazy stuff what the Japanese is doing. Not realizing that I´m on the way to do the same. Because this was actually not my plan. This guy was telling me he was traveling from Japan via China till Europe with his motorcycle. He was crossing hole Europe to Spain from their took boat to Marocco this all with his bike a small one with 125 cc. In Greece he ship his 125cc bike back to Japan. No problem the bike has made the hole 6 years he sayed. The only thing he has to change ones in a while chain and tires. Thats why he decided to ship the bike back and he want to cast it in acryl and make a table out of it.