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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Picture a Train Heading Somewhere (Part 4)

The most half-assed, cursory, bare-minimum way for me to attempt the Tran-Siberian was to buy a guidebook of some description. Plus I had a "$5 off " Reader's Feast voucher which would have gone to some fun but utterly useless book otherwise ('Self-Defence guide against a Pacifist', 'The History of String', 'Fast Food in the Middle Ages', 'The Inner Musings of Paulie Shore', etc.).

Now the travel book section in any bookstore tends to always be teeming with life. All those colourful books that promise adventures to come, holidays and honeymoons to be had, written by people who know of cool, secret places that only people who buy the books will ever find out. Brilliant. It actually looks very pretty because the photographers and the layout guys can go batshit crazy with the book covers in an effort to be enticing.

There's about a thousand books on New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris and London. Many guides to Exotic Asia- Bali, Thailand, Vietnam. The Greek Islands. Budapest. A few on Ireland, Switzerland, India, South Africa.

Nothing on Russia.

I'm halfway into the childcare or gender issues section (the book 'Should my gay child kick the football around or play with dolls?' got my attention that I was no longer in 'Travel') when I double back. How could there be nothing on Russia and Siberia? It's massive!

Finally, after what seemed like hours (probably only two minutes. I only have a vague concept of time) I finally found the lonely planet 'Trans-Siberian Railway: a Classic Overland Route'. I take it to the counter and hand it to the counter lady. She blows the dust off the cover and says 'Wow. You're actually thinking of going on the Tran-Siberian?'

As I leave the store I have a quick look within where the 'About the Authors'( Simon Richmond and Mara 'No Relation to Jason' Vorhees) bit catches my eye; " Classic rail-journey enthusiast Simon Richmond clocked up his first Trans-Siberian trip from Vladivostock in 1997, during which he was attacked by dogs, robbed on the train and got so plastered at Lake Baikal that it's a wonder he ever found his way back to Irkutsk let alone Moscow."

I should be in capable hands,


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