Distance so far: 8493 km. Weather: dry and cold, guess -10 degrees C
An early dinner today as the brilliant Mongolian restaurant carriage leaves us at 19.10 local time. I will miss everything about it other than possibly its temperature.
We have just arrived on the Mongolian side of the Chinese border. The soldiers are saluting the train as it arrives on the platform, heralding several hours of paperwork, searches and inspections. I have filled in the paperwork for both sides already, so hopefully I’m ahead of the game.
I have to tell you that the Mongolian border officers here seem to be almost exclusively female and some are very easy on the eye, even when dressed in full combat gear. Or maybe I have been on the train for too long! My passport and visa has just left the train for more detailed examination.
I have had the first customs inspection and once I had explained that the United Kingdom was in fact the same as Great Britain, and that made me British, they moved quickly on to the next compartment.
All okay and off we go two hours later, a short hop a cross “no mans land” to Eirlan on the Chinese side – music, lights, guards, impressive marching, and more paperwork.. The carriage is flooded with very down to business like Chinese officials admiring my Christmas lights, but trying no to be noticed doing so..
The soldiers on the platform are marching everywhere at the double, and its a pretty well oiled machine. Soothing music (“Greensleeves”) echoes around the place along with the sound of slamming train doors.
Then into the shed for a new set of wheels (narrower gauge) and four hours later we are back on our way through China bound next for Datong and Beijing tomorrow lunchtime.