Azamat came looking for me last night and we arranged for tonight instead. Last night I was still dealing with the aftermath of the iPhone washing machine incident. Anyway, tonight at the ski-jump shaped train station, after returning from a chilled-out thermal baths and massage at Khakusy – an hour by speed boat across from town on the eastern shores – he helped me buy my last, longest and most expensive leg of my trans-Russia train odyssey: Irkutsk to Vladivostok. And with no platzkart available I’m going kupe all the way to the end. On Azamat’s reasoning around bottom bunk versus top bunk I decided to take the train that had a bottom bunk available in the four-bed kupe ‘dog-boxes’. It’s just over three days on board and I’ll be in Vladivostok mid-morning on 15th July.
I decided that with time running out and the fact that I’d already had my Arctic experience in Novy Urengoy and Salekhard, that I will can the idea of Yakutsk. Maybe another time.