The Train to Novosibirsk

The train just pulled out of the station, quietly moving off without a jerk and not even a whistle. After a minute or so the train got into its clunkety clunk rhythm and the lady at the end of the carriage came and gave me a cup of tea. I looked about at the masterfully designed carriage. A superb piece of engineering for comfort and convenience. I immediately regretted not having taken the train all the way to Vladivostok.
After a while one soon tires of looking out the window at Taiga forest and the occasional village paass by and you can lie down and sleep. I sleep very very well on trains. As a result I was superbly relaxed when the train quietly pulled up at the station. The lady came to inform me that this was my destination. I stepped off and left the train to continue its journey on to Moscow, three days away.

I casually walked across the square in front of the station stopped at the Kvass wagon for a taste of the local brew, crossed the road and checked into the hotel.

Staying the night in Novosibirsk was a bit unnecessary as I could have just went straight out to the airport from the station had I left Tomsk a day later. However that night I did enjoy a good dinner, a drink of Piva (Beer) and watched Russian television. The channel I watched specialised in reworkings of successful western shows like Friends and All in the Family and a rather accurate reproduction of Top Gear rewritten for the local audience.

And so today I am left to wander the streets of this city completely devoid of obvious tourist attractions. The icecream booths are popular with the locals. And so I tried some myself and could see why.

The little booths have tiny little hatches from which they sell icecream, in other booths it will be newspapers and magazines and in the subways they have all sorts of kiosks of this kind.

In the absense of any thrilling sight seeing I will just mention that I saw a women trapped by her high heel in a grate. I have been amazed at the russian woman's ability to navigate the poorly maintained bitumen in what must be the spikiest shoes on earth. But obviously they do come a cropper every now and then.

I brush up on my russian by reading the signs. I can now manage to go to a shop and order what I want. But it is only by a combination of pointing and pidgin Russian.

A storm has just started outside so I had better keep typing.
I wish I were a chatty sort of person then I could just talk to someone. But I am not that sort of traveller. I just wander about reading signs.

One thing I have noticed is that most of the shops are quite new. I guess they didn't exist in the old days. The older shops are hidden away and don't have display windows as we would expect. I guess there was no commercial need back then so they didn't bother. But since then advertising signs have gone up and the newer building have shop windows of the sort we are familiar with. There doesn't seem to be much shopping being done though. But its there just in case one day they will have spending power and be just like us. They may even learn to serve awful food.

The down pipes from the roofs lead onto the gutter. I suppose pipes would freeze up in winter but now the streets are flooded. My feet are wet and I have nothing better to do than go to the airport and wait for my flight to Vladivostok. So I sit waiting and change my shoes and socks.

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