A Long Way From Home
Last night I looked out from my bunk and peer at the night sky. I see millions of stars looking back at me, little peep holes thousands of years old. Strange constellations that are supposed to look like animals but don't. Why do I like the night sky but not Planetariums?
We are on a looooooooong train ride to Tynda. The others are sound asleep. Nik will spend most of this train ride commenting on the fact that his facial hair is hairier than his head. He's worried that he reminds people of a fat German tourist. Chris will spend most of this train ride re-reading the Lonely Planet Guide to the Trans-Siberian. He's even read about towns we'll never go to. But for now it's just me listening to their snores and staring at the stars.
Before, when there was thunder and I couldn't see the stars, I'd thought about writing a postcard. I generally like writing about something that has just happened but since I knew I'd write about Mihail and the Nanai at a later date I was stuck for a topic. Do I try to describe the thunder outside? Or perhaps someone we met on the train? The only other person we've had any contact with recently (apart from the guy at the snack bar who asked us where we were from) was the provinitza.
Our provinitza (train lady) was a delightful woman. I'd been dreading our encounters with the provinitzas since I'd first heard about them. Most travellers of the Trans-Siberian (and the BAM) would tell stories of hairy knuckled lesbians who were better suited to be female wrestlers. But our lady was so nice. She loved Australians. She reminded me of a marshmallow. We decided to give her a koala key ring.
I turn over in my bunk, comfortable in my blankets. This trip was still only beginning. I'll write that postcard another day.