In university, I had a really prestigious job working as a shop girl in an ice-creamery on Queen Street mall in Brisbane. When I wasn’t busy stuffing my face with ice-cream, I’d head to the food court to stuff my face with the half price lunchtime leftover containers of Mongolian lamb. Hey, it was uni- money was tight and my waistline vast. My point is, this delicious, greasy concoction of ‘lamb’ (I have my doubts) was about as close as I was gonna get to Mongolia any time soon. However, all that changed about a week ago.
Our bellies full, we snuggled into our blankets and woke
up the next morning in a very large shed. Obviously, my first thought was, this
is a Taken-type situation, the train
has been derailed and I’m about to be Taken
hostage and sold into Russian sex slavery. Quickly, I searched for a weapon but
my grasping hands only came up with empty crisp packets. Luckily, Dave was
there to calmly explain to me that we were in fact in the process of getting
the train wheels changed. Sadly, China and Mongolia do not have the same size
train tracks and the wheels – or bogies - would need to be changed before we
could cross the border. What was even sadder was that there was no need for
that sexy Liam Neeson to make an appearance.
A few hours later, we rolled into Erlian, the last
Chinese town before we crossed the border. I practically flung my passport at
the carriage attendant when she requested it, eager to make my Mongolian
entrance. A quick stamp and in we would go and I could begin my search for a
new yak friend. No such luck. We sat at the station for hours and hours and
hours and…HOURS. At this stage, boredom was not the only thing settling in. I
had drunk enough tea for England that morning and was in desperate need for a
bathroom break. Like Indian trains, the Tranny
trains also have a system were by ya business ends up all over the tracks. However,
unlike the Indians, the Chinese are savvy enough to lock the bathrooms at
stations so that those on the platform don’t have to witness that unpleasantness.
In fact, the loos were locked 15 minutes before the arrival and exit of any station
and the carriage attendant, all crazy-eyed and power mad with her big steel
toilet key, was not budging. The station was not an option as I was not allowed
to exit the train without a passport. Let me repeat- HOURS.
This torture continued even as we crossed into the border
into Mongolia. The same thing happened- passports were taken and we were forced
to wait for what seemed like an eternity, with the bathroom shut up tighter
than Sing Sing. I was supposed to be excited about entering the birthplace of
my dirty uni takeaways but all I could do was ponder on just how bad it would be
if I had to make use of one of the empty water bottles we had.
made it to our final stop in Mongolia and I’m happy to report that when those
glorious toilet doors swung open like the pearly gates of Heaven, I still had
my dignity intact. Later, I decided to relay this traumatic episode to my
friend Nic via Skype. After a few minutes of listening to me warble on about locked
loos this & loo that, he interrupted me and exclaimed, ‘Bloody hell
Melanie! You’re on the bloody Trans-Siberian! You’re going to bloody Russia!
Only you could turn this into a
Dave and I are currently undertaking the great adventure that is the Trans-Siberian. Yep, that’s right, the world’s longest railway journey, which allows gung-ho travellers such as ourselves the opportunity to cross the huge expanse that is Russia. We had decided to do a variation of this route, starting the Trans-Mave-berian (yep, that happened) in Beijing and hopping off in Mongolia before heading into Russia.
|All aboard the Tranny train!|
After an uneventful train ride from Beijing to Hohhot, we were ready to board our first official Tranny train which would see us cross from China into Mongolia. Tranny is the new, super original word that I’ve coined for any train that uses the Trans-Siberian tracks. Believe me, it’ll help keep confusion to a minimum-there are many different trains and routes. We had made the decision to flash a little cash and ride this leg of the journey kupe, which basically meant we had a four berth cabin with a door that shut to keep out the plebs. As we’re super sociable people, we spent the10 minutes after boarding crossing our fingers in the hopes of getting no roommates. Our prayers were answered and our cabin remained friendless. With all that privacy, there was only one thing for a coupla young, fertile people to do………....cram our faces with all the food we had brought with us. You’d have thought that we were preparing for the end of the world with the amount of snacks we had packed into our grocery basket earlier that day. I’m starting to hope that I kept my fat pants from uni.
|I wrote down every item on this table but it is literally too long to list.|
|Clearly, we have our beverage priorities in order|
|Watching the change was wheel-y exciting. BOOM.|
|I'm smiling on the outside but inside...|
|.......me and my bladder are not happy.|
|Mongolia. But where are all the lambs?|
So I'm thinking, perhaps I should change my blog name. Without any further ado, I present to you…….
Bogan in a Bathroom: Reporting to YOU on restrooms across the realm!
It’s sure to raise readership, right?
P.S Alright, enough is enough. Two toilet stories in row. The next entry won't even mention the word. Scout's honour.
|Wee made it!|