Pillow on the landscape, Transiberia Express 2015

03-03-2015 | I am on the way from Amsterdam to China by train. The train will go to Moscow then through Siberia and from Mongolia to Beijng. In China I will travel on to the Five Great Sacred Mountains 'The WuYue'. Its a slow...slow... way of traveling, plenty of time to get extremely bored.

06-03-15 | Its been three days now and I am starting to ask myself why I wanted to do this like this? There is really not much fun in riding a train without being able to get out for about 80 hours, actually 85 hours...

I do actually remember why I chose to go by train. It was because I wanted to see the land passing by, tree after tree. I wanted to see how it changes, or how it doesn't change for days, how the temperature goes down degree by degree. How the food is different on every station we stop. And how far away China actually is. I wanted to touch the road and have a feeling of time and distance.

Whats that feeling?

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08-03-15 (morning) |  I see villages pass by while I am having breakfast at the restaurant wagon. A vague smell of urine passes by too. All the toilets in the train are getting dirty and they are mostly used by drunken Russian men so I don't think it will get any better. At the table next to me there are three Russian boys drinking Vodka and talking loudly with the lady who is taking care of the restaurant. And with whom I just had an encounter. Just a while ago. While I was looking for an empty and clean toilet she kindly offered me her private toilet behind the bar. I accepted with a relief. It was an interesting toilet because I guess it was her private cabin. It had all kind of woman nesceseties, like a hairdryer, shampoo, underwear, tampon, personal photo's, a small mirror and lots of make-up and also a huge axe. I don't know why there was an axe. Maybe to break the ice when things get frozen. I mean we are in Siberia..

Anyways while I was feeling overwhelmed with joy to see this touching toilet amidst all the rough and dirty surroundings I took out my camera to take a picture. As I stepped back a bit to get the tiny toilet space into my frame the restaurant lady saw me.

She started screaming in Russian like I was a criminal. I am sure I did something against their customs and shocked by her hostile energy I quickly put down my camera...without a photo.

I had the image of the axe in my mind and didn't want to make her more angry.

 Now I'm having breakfast in her wagon and staring quietly out of the window while the world passes by. Its so beautiful outside. A thick layer of snow is covering everything. Pine trees sticking out of white landscape and the snow is forming large snowballs in the branches. The balls keep hanging there like heavy white Christmas decoration. There is no life to see, except many trails and footsteps in the snow. I wonder why I never see something or someone, just trails...

While they are heating up the train to a hot 30 degrees I am dozing of in dreams and thoughts while the landscape is decadently changing in front of my eyes. The hard laugh of the Russian lady is fading out. It's alright, I think I touched upon a very personal space of hers. And in my mind I say, I'm sorry.

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Map from Amsterdam to China, 2015