Wednesday, February 2, 2011

August 18 On the Trans-Siberian Railroad

The 10 Baikal train.

We were met by Yadia at 0320 and we went to the train station. We
boarded the 10 “Baikal” train bound for Irkutsk, and said good-bye to Yadia.

Our compartment is a first class one this time, not a second class one
reserved for two instead of for four. This is not such a good deal, because
there is no upper bunk mattress to stack on the lower one. But the
mattresses are comfortable enough.

When we woke up, we heard a lot of English being spoken with
Australian accents. It turned out that another Sundowners group is onboard
and bound for Irkutsk. Their guide is a young Russian man named Kostia.
Several of that group have the rail supplement and are in the same car as are
we. Their tour ends in Beijing. Also in the car is an Australian couple
traveling by themselves on a package from The Russian Experience. They
are met by guides and drivers along the way. They got ripped off bigtime in
Moscow by the cab driver who brought them to the station. They paid 1000
rubles for what Alaine says should have cost around 140. Travel in Russia is
difficult for the uninitiated, and so it helps to have a guide here. We had a
good time mingling and chatting. We ate in the dining car as meals are not
part of the package on this train. Some of the stops are long enough for us to
get off and to buy things such as piroshki on the station platform. Enough
for now.
This is the povodnitsa in our car.  These attendants are basically in charge of everything relating to passengers and services except for dining cars, which are operated by concessionaires.

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