Leg two of our Trans-Siberian Railroad trip got off to a slow start. We should have been rudely awoken by border agents at 7:45 a.m., but instead I woke up to our Mongolian-speaking compartment-mate giggling and telling Colin we’d been stopped outside of UB for most of the night, and that that’s where we continued to sit.
The storm, which had provided such a spectacular lightning show the night before, had flooded a section of the track. All in all, it was a 15-hour delay, but you wouldn’t have guessed it by the atmosphere in our car—smiles and good humor all around.
Life on the train is not so bad. Most of the travelers in our second-class car were Westerners, so there were plenty of opportunities to be social. And it was not only acceptable but also expected that I should climb up onto my bunk and not move for several hours at a time. The beds are soft enough to do that, and I certainly brought enough reading material (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas at the time).
Food would be my only complaint. We were carrying egg noodles and chicken broth cues, crackers, cookies, and a few other unsatisfying snacks. I craved anything fresh and anything not cracker-like.