Thursday, February 12, 2009

Trans-Siberian Thoughts 2

I'm pretty sure I've got the date right. Time on scales less than a day aren't really much use on the train, and even a day isn't really a day. I left Vladivostok at 10pm and arrive in Moscow at 6pm with a travel time of 6 days and 3 hours. Over the trip I'm losing about an hour a day, or put another way, each day is 23 hours long.

Not everyone on the train seems to be on board for the long haul. At the moment I have my berth to myself again. At departure there was a mid 30ish woman in my berth as well, but she got off late yesterday afternoon. She was replaced a few stops later with a man who just slept, which is a lot more understandable after he got off the train late at night. Early this morning the berth was filled with three more men. I'm guessing a father and two sons, by their ages. They weren't on board long, getting off before lunchish.

A few of the people on my carriage have been here the whole trip so far, and we shall continue to see how many remain on board for the whole trip. I haven't really spoken to anyone, and no one has tried to talk to me. There is one person I've considered going up to and saying hello to. She's a redhead I first saw at the station at Vladivostok with a large backpack and looks more like a traveler/sightseer than other passengers. I saw her again at a stop while I was buying some ramen to eat. I really should go exploring and see if there's a restaurant car or the like. Yesterday I only got one thing of what I thought was ramen but turned out to be instant mashed potatoes with a little bit of meat. It was pretty good.

The landscape continues to amaze, but the white does get a bit monotonous after a while. Sometimes I think that if all the snow were brown dirt instead, it would look just like the scrub back home. There's plenty of mountains in the distance, but we don't seem to have gone over any ranges. My geography isn't good enough to know if we will or not. I suppose we might have already done so while I was sleeping. On the whole the views are well worth it, and I'm not the only one who spends a lot of time watching the scenery pass by.

Some of the time I'm doing that though I have an ulterior motive. The few power points in board line the corridor, so some of the time I've spent standing there my laptop or ipod has been plugged in getting some juice. I have decided to stop playing Civ IV while on the train, as the workout it puts the CPU and fans through really burns through the power quickly (I get about two and a half hours watching videos but only one hour playing Civ IV).

The train stops a few times a day for about 15 minutes or so (there are other stops as well but these are briefer) which gives those of us on board a chance to stretch our legs, buy some food, and in my case say "fuck" a lot because of how cold it is. The places we've stopped at have definitely been colder than Vladivostok was. Of course, I'm not as well prepared for the cold since there aren't any announcements of upcoming stations (not that I'd understand them, but I'm sure I'd quickly make the connection between an announcement I can't understand and arrival at a station (I did so pretty quickly in Japan.).).

I finally finished Paradise yesterday, after months of procrastination. I found my mind would just wander off while reading the prose and found the notes generally more interesting and illuminating. Like Machiavelli, a good knowledge of renaissance Italian politics is essential for the fullest understanding, and it is a subject that is not my strongest. I wonder though who would be put where in a modern version. Would Gandhi join the virtuous pagans in Limbo? (Indeed, what was Gandhi's religion?) Is there anyone despised enough for their adultery to make that circle worth visiting? What politics would replace those of Florence and Italy?

This has let me start once more on War and Peace, which is just as tedious this time through. I think I got through about a dozen pages at most before finding something else to do. I'll see how far I get through during the trip.

End Post
Writing time: a half hour or so.
Time since last post: two days
Current media: none

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