Nerd warning: this is a short post and it’s a little bit nerdy; read on if you’re interested in train timetables, or gain mildly autistic pleasure from such things; maybe skip this one if you don’t.
Back aboard a train. This time a Russian and not a Chinese train; thankfully. Nothing personal here, but after our experience of the Chinese-run Trans-Mongolian Express service, I’m very glad to be in the hands of the Ruskies once again. For one thing the wagon is clean; our cabin is spotless; the toilet is clean, and there’s plenty of toilet paper; the provodniks (cabin attendants) are stern yet efficient; the beds are more comfortable; and the set of bed linen and a hand towel we received was laundered to the point of being the paragon of what every housewife or husband in a washing powder advert dreams of achieving. I’m sure the Shanghai to Beijing bullet train and other services are exemplary, but the Moscow-Ulaanbaatar-Beijing service is pants.