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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Picture a Train Heading Somewhere (Part 2)

There's no real appeal for anybody to decide to go to Russia. Most folks would prefer to go to little tropical islands to get sunburned in style. The South East Asian old hands like my friend Secondhand Bookstore Steve would prefer to go to places like Nicobar Island ( a dot on the map that only rates a mention when things like a Tsunami hit it. Apparently the best way to get there is to go to the northern part of Indonesia, bribe a smuggler with rum and it's a light plane journey across the Bay of Bengal, one of the most shark-infested bodies of water, until you touch down in what is hopefully an airstrip) where up until six years ago the natives were still blow darting anthropologists and eating them with their morning cereal.

As far as I know Russia is basically just a cold, shitty place (In my mind it is always winter time). I guess for most people that I've met there is the nagging suspicion that all Russia consists of is a) starving peasants, b) long lines for toilet paper, c) Zombie Lenin...and that's about it. I know squat all about the place. I hear that there is a bunch of ex-KGB/ Mafiosi-types that run things but that's true for Melbourne as well so I'm used to that notion. I like the furry hats. I know they've got some serious game when it comes to dancing. I know that every year a stupid amount of people die every year from drinking vodka(something like 40,000 at last count) including a vodka-drinking champion . I know Yuri Gregarian was the first guy up in space, back when the Space Program was taken seriously and shuttles where held together with something more than just band-aids and faith. But that is my sum knowledge of the place.

I've just wanted to go on a long train journey for some time. Mum was always into books like 'Murder on the Orient Express' and I've wanted to be on a train in a foreign country where a corpse turns up with seven stab wounds in his or her back. The only things that may prevent me from doing this is a serious lack of money, the incredible language barrier and the fact that it maybe potentially very, very boring.
Oh, and the fact that I've never accomplished anything ever- not that buying a ticket is a real accomplishment, per se.


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