Train Time

Train Time
Zhigalovsky District, International

Zhigalovsky District, International


Russians come prepared. Invariably they take over the train. Customary are the shorts and bare chests for men in this mid-summer heat and humidity. It rained coming into Novosibirsk yesterday and the mugginess was palpable.

Food supplies are generally brought with them or purchased from station platform hawkers along the way. Cucumbers, tomatoes, salt and black bread are staples. Also popular are the pre-packaged foam containers of instant noodles and whatever assortment of chemicals. The constant hot water supply from the samovar at carriage end is handy for this type of instant hot meal.

Tea in the glasses that sit in the little metal frames supplied by the provodnitsa is also a perennial. Ubiquitous too is the teaspoon left sitting in the brew. Apparently a very Russian trait. I’ve taken to it as well.

The trains’ interiors are largely made of wood, wood laminate. They’re solidly built. And the trains I’ve ridden since Perm have been probably in the order of 20 to 30 years old. (provodnitsa reckons 25 years old)

The restaurant woman goes up and down the length of the train with a little trolley she pulls behind her of drinks and snacks and beer in two litre plastic bottles. Occasionally she comes by with fresh savoury meat pastries.

Recharging mobiles is a busy business when two dodgy power points re shared by one whole carriage. The plugs are over-width and so my adapter is at risk of falling out all the time. There’s a lot I trust an common purpose on board. I leave my phone in a plastic bag tied to the window so it doesn’t have to hang from the wall be the cable. I leave it unattended. Everyone does the same.


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