March 20, 2011

Princess Anne vs Ghengis Khan

The Trans-Manchurian line runs from Irkutsk to Ulan Bator and on to Beijing for the next leg of the journey.  The rolling stock is considerably older and maintains a certain old-world charm such as a coal furnace on every carriage […]
March 23, 2011

Among the Golden Horde – Part 1

21st March In preparation for arrival at Ulan Bator I get up at 5.00am and do the Indiana Jones thing over the open tracks to get to the washroom in the next carriage.  I am unprepared for the sheer intensity […]
March 23, 2011

Among the Golden Horde – Part 2

22nd March There are not many guests in the camp; apart from our guides there is Kevin, a fuel technician who lives in Alaska and works in Antarctica and Mel, Leah and Carol from Canada.  It feels like a snow […]
March 24, 2011

The horse master

My last day in the camp and we are invited to visit the nomadic home of Bachka who lives nearby (at least he does at the moment).  Bachka is the local horse master, I have seen him in action taking […]
March 25, 2011

The good, the bad and the ugly

My eighth and final train takes me from Ulan Bator to Beijing.  It is by far the most modern and well equipped train I have been on so far – my cabin has a small armchair and an en-suite bathroom; […]
March 25, 2011

Thanks, but I had bugs for lunch

I am a little stunned to arrive in Beijing; it is quite the largest city I have been in since I left home.  I am not sure what I was expecting but my initial reaction is that it seems like […]
March 27, 2011

The hairy foreigner

“Can we take your picture please?” She is about seventeen and accompanied by three generations of her family.  Standing in the queue for the cable car at the Great Wall they have been giving me sideways looks and giggling for […]
March 28, 2011

Back in the bubble

The vastness of Beijing airport makes Heathrow Terminal 5 look like a provincial bus station.  Inside I watch the check-in crew line up for their formal morning briefing, standing to attention and holding their schedules in front of them while […]
April 3, 2011

The perils of Winchmore Hill

A week on and I am still being struck by the ironies – the worst toilet on a 5,500 mile journey was in the arrivals hall at Heathrow; I have consumed strange and exotic foods without incident but somehow manage […]
February 15, 2013

A trip takes us

  A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. John Steinbeck