Are you asleep?

2nd of March 2007 – 4th night on the Trans Mongolian train

“Are you asleep?” ~Gina
“I have pretended to be dead since 1 am, but I am still alive, still awake.” ~Lawrence

I had pretended to be dead since 1 am, but at 2.36am in the night I was still alive, still awake. I reached for my mp3 player, as, unfortunately, there wasn’t a Lawrence available but J., my roommate asks me if I am awake, he couldn’t sleep either. We were completely awake in the middle of the night, in a train crossing through Siberia, a full moon lighting up the snow.

In stead of moaning about it we opened the curtains.
“You know those hundreds and hundreds of miles of silver birch trees we have seen until now?” J. said.
“Yes?” I said.
“Now we can see them in moonlight.”
“It’s so great” I laughed.
“Think about all the others in this train, they are missing this you know” he went on.
“We are incredibly lucky to be awake at this time” I said.
“Tea?” he asked.
“Tea would be perfect” I said.

And he made tea. And we started to work ourselves through our huge stock of sweets, cakes, peanuts and chocolate. Not that that made us feel more sleepy, but it tasted good with the tea. We were waiting for the next stop, to go out and get some fresh air and freeze our butts off, to then be knocked out by the warmth when returning to our compartment.

I guess it’s the total lack of physical activity and the general laziness in the train that is causing this temporary state of insomnia. It doesn’t matter, it was nice to have tea and to watch the moon and the silver birchtrees. It’s not a bad place to be this train. Not a bad place at all.

4 Comments

  1. Michele · 02-04-2007

    I’m curious about this 19 year old British gentleman. Was he travelling solo or perhaps meeting up with another party in Beijing? I expect you’ll post more details about along the way, but we don’t even know his first name!

  2. Ingrid · 02-04-2007

    Well I wasn’t planning on exposing him that much as I have no idea if he is reading this (I didn’t tell him I was going to write about it), and if he does if he at all likes to be written about!

    Let’s say that he was exceptional company for a 19 year old. And a real gentleman indeed, as you probably can tell already. He was travelling alone, was going to travel for a month, and was going to the US after Beijing to spend some weeks there. He has a girlfriend who couldn’t come with him because she was still in school.

    Just to show what a cute guy he was:
    “Ingrid I have £46.45 pound left on my mobile phone top up account. A text message from the train costs 0.50p, how many can I send per day do you recon?”
    A that point we calculated he could send about 9 text messages per day, to his girlfriend :-)

    We didn’t stay in touch, we travelled along the same path for a while, shared the trip in the train, and it was fun but we parted with a hug at Beijing station and went both our ways. It was fine, I am happy to have met him.

    But OK then, his first name is James. (yes like in Bond, a true gentleman I told you).

  3. Kate · 02-04-2007

    Great post … wonderful picture. And thank you for giving us more info on your mysterious travel companion who sounds like a perfect person to travel with!

    More pictures please!!

  4. Ingrid · 03-04-2007

    He was :-) More pictures are coming I promise!

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