Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Testosterone Train Travel

When you reach a certain age, you dream about spending the night with a handsome, young man.  Not only did my dream turn into reality, there were two of them!!  Military men on a three month mission.  At first they pretended to speak no English and chattered to each other.   It was only when I used my ice-breaker Russian question 'What is your name?', they started to thaw.  They soon plied us with drinks and food.  They assumed we would have brought whiskey with us, when they learned we were from Scotland.  To ease their disappointment hubby Invited them over for a whiskey tour of the Highlands.  At this rate we will need to buy the castle next door to accommodate all our future guests.

They settled into their own special routine which lasted over the three days. Several shots of vodka, interspersed with Schweppes lemon followed by a few bottles of beer to wash down the bread, salted cucumber and sausage. After a bit of a chat, they would climb into their bunks and fall into a deep sleep. After a few hours, it all started again.

We fell into their pattern, minus the vodka.  Hubby hates the stuff.  He over-indulged as a teenager once which has left him with an aversion. Had they brought Tia Maria perhaps I might have had a little! 

Even with the alcohol, they were so polite  and respectful. They would go into the corridor if I needed to change.  I felt obliged to do the same in return.  Can you feel the pain??

By the second day we were like family, sharing stories and photographs.  They went and bought some lottery tickets from the Provodnistas in an attempt to raise the funds to visit Scotland. They wanted to take David shopping at one long stop station.  Having read stories of tourists whose train leaves them behind and knowing the plight of a couple who left passports behind, we persuaded them to take some money and bring back beer and sausage ready for the next 'party'.

As we travelled through the countryside,they would point out places of interest,saying 'Look Patrizzia' in a way to make any girl's heart beat faster. I almost had a coronary!!

They told us about Siberian winters and how cold it would become.  I am not sure if they were teasing me about tigers and bears?? 

By now the scenery had started to change.  There were still the trees flashing by, but now we spotted occasional hills and large expanses of golden cereal crops.  This contrasted with small stooks, which were dotted around near the small homesteads.  We saw these being stacked by old country folk with large pitchforks.  And so it looked as though they had been invaded by Cousin 'It' and his family from 'The Addams Family'.  

One more night on the train.  I woke at midnight Moscow time.  I wandered on the corridor and found a spot to watch the world flash past.  There was only one star in the sky.  I made a wish for all my loved ones.  Then the sun rose in a blaze of red and gold.  How lucky am I??

Alarms started ringing.  People emerged from their compartments and headed for the toilets.  All too soon, my military men collected their army equipment from a locked room.  They took it along the corridor then returned for a heartfelt 'Goodbye'.  What great companions they had been.

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