Thursday, May 15, 2008

Транссибирская магистраль

I'm ready to go finally, and I have all the little pieces of paper and government permission I need to do so. First I'm going to Düsseldorf, then Moscow, and then UlaanBaatar. I'm tired of flying, and there's this train that goes from Moscow to the Pacific Ocean, or China, or Kamchatka, or pretty much anywhere else in that general handwaving direction East. So I'm taking a 100-hour rail ride to Mongolia. Here's a rough sketch of the route.

View Larger Map

I have some books and some tea, and they give away free hot water on the train. What a great deal. I've ditched most of my useless stuff, but have acquired another batch to replace it. Music: check. Books: check. Dry fruit stash: check.

A quick note on the substrate -
I'm going to pass Lake Baikal on day 3 or so. This lake is about 2000 miles from India. It's the deepest lake on the planet, contains 3% of the world's fresh water, and has its own coral, giant amphipods, and seals. It's the crustal equivalent of a barfight, in this case caused by the huge whallop of the Indian subcontinent uppercutting Asia. The Himalaya pile up, the desert comes behind them, and if you go far enough away, there's a big stretchy crack. Rivers flow into this thing from zillions of miles around. Just one of the things outside the window.

For kicks, here's some of my reading material:
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Wolf Totem
The Children of Húrin
Into the Wild

And here's a better map than mine
My end dot isn't on the line, but it's there.

I leave Moscow on Tuesday.