Trans Mongolian – Day 6

Well that border crossing was everything we read it would be. Long, tedious, and at the lovely time of midnight. The mongolian side was fairly straightforward. An hour to check passports and search our cabins, and off we went to the Chinese side. In China though, there was the thorough passport check, cabin check, and then the joy of them changing the track gauges (from single in Russia/Mongolia to double track in China). This took hours. Our cabin attendant did inform us that as our passports were already checked, we could get off the train as the process would be ‘very boring’. So off we got, and wandering into the large station shop. This shop had absolutely everything from food to house hold detergents, fresh fruit and veggies, even bedding, linens and jade carved dragons. We took our time and made a few purchases. When we went out outside again we had the pleasure of finding the platform empty – no train. Us and about 20 or so other tourists looked a little baffled but as we all tried to keep our game face on no one looked too panicked. The fact is we were all probably doing the same thing, trying to look like unfazed seasoned travelers even though we had no clue where our train was our when it was coming back.

An hour or so later, we got hussled out of the station through the back door onto the main street. Now i was a bit worried. Jason’s Chinese came in handy with a few ‘Wei shema’s?’ (aka: why), we managed to figure out were were being moved to another building, the departures terminal. Over another hour later the train finally showed up and we were allowed back on. Dear Lonely Planet guide book. Could you not have mentioned this detail? If you get off the train at 10:30pm don’t expect to get back on until well after midnight.

Back on the train, in no time were asleep, wanted to rest up for our last day on the train.

This is what we awoke to:
Inner Mongolia

Kind of to be expected I suppose. Is that smog, fog or the infamous spring sand storms? hard to tell.

For our day in China for some reason we were given meal tickets. This meant that the restaurant car was packed, but at least we got to see some more life on the train. At the border last night we’d clearly picked up a pile more passengers. The restaurant car itself was nice. Clean, efficient, kind of neuvo communist looking (unlike the old fashioned soviet looking Russian car). Breakfast was a quick efficient affair. Hard boiled egg, bread, and tea. Sit, eat, get out al in under 15 minutes.

China restaurant car

So, what’s the view like in China? Well, you spend plenty of time in Inner Mongolia which looks sparse and desert like:
inner mongolia

Then you pull up to a city of 3 million people you’ve never heard of to find mass industrialization:
china city 1

china city 2

At certain kilometer marks our guide book would tell us things like: the north side of the train will offer commanding views of the great wall.

Well, maybe on a less hazy day, this was our view:

great wall

Can you see it? barely?

Lunch was another set menu in the dining car, rice vegetables, meat ball things – pretty tasty actually. And the afternoon was spent looking at more scenery like this as we got closer to Beijing:


One very annoying thing is about 2 hours outside of Beijing the cabin attendants start to clean up. But not a little tidy up, like come in take all our sheets and bedding, the table cloth, our carpet, our window curtains…. they stripped our room bare. They also mopped all the floors even though us filthy travelers with dirty shoes are still walking around?! To me its as annoying as being told you can check out of a hotel at noon, but at 10:30 the cleaning staff will come in and start servicing the room around you. We’ve been on this train for 6 days, can you not wait another 2 hours? And seriously, you probably want to keep those cushion covers on the upholstery, remember we haven’t had a real shower in 6 days!

But, by the time we pulled into amazingly we were only about 9 minutes late. Fantastic punctuality.

beijing station

Beijing Station

So, 5 and a half days on a train – overall? We loved it. And actually found ourselves wishing we could stay on a bit longer. Favourite day? Mongolia. All around the most interesting scenery. Would we do it again? Probably not that same route, but another long distance train ride, for sure.

Trans Mongolian – Day 5

Mongolia! At last.

We awoke around 7am local time to arrive in the capital, Ulaan Baatar. Jason was ecstatic. He was one of the first off the train, in search of a money changer. The best he could do though was an ATM inside the station. Back on the station we picked up some more supplies (soup, bread, noodles, the usual). We only had about 30 minutes here, but we wandered the platform, snapped some photos and people watched. Mongolians generally seem happier than the Russians. We also noticed that last night a new restaurant car was inserted into our train.


Once we pulled out of the capital, we got a chance to see how big it actually was. This is no far flung nomadic outpost, but rather a large bustling industrial city. What caught our eye though is that even though there were plenty of modern buildings, the yurt tent was always present.


(suburbs of UlaanBaatar)

Today proved to be by far the most scenic day. We spent most of it glued to our windows (and wishing we’d brought squeegies to clean the dust off the outside windows). The towns were few and far between, and even when there were towns, they were sparse to say the least.

towns of mongolian

one of the bigger towns:
mongolian town 2

The actual stops that we made were interesting, but on a completely different level than in Russia. Gone are the ladies selling food, we were lucky for the odd card table set up with bottled water and juice. Also gone were in signs of other commuter traffic. It was clear that we were the only train this station had seen for hours. And since our train was so quiet, it just added to the barrenness of each stop.

mongolian station

By lunch time we decided to try out the mongolian restaurant car. Mongolia gets the reputation has worst food on the entire trip. Typical speciality is boiled mutton and rice. We did however find they had the prettiest restaurant car by far – full of wood carvings. And the food, it was actually pretty good. We get upsold on 2 set menus which I imagine were touristed up, but that boiled mutton wasn’t half bad!

Mongolian Restaurant Car

Nice thing was they accepted a combination of our left over Mongolian currency and some Russian Roubles (at a ridiculous exchange rate, but well .. what can you do).

Back in our cabin the scenery kept us entertained all day. Livestock, small towns, emptiness… today was a photo happy day.


Jason picking up some water

in front of a hotel

typical view out our window
typical mongolia

By sunset our train pulled close to the border town with China. We got this one final shot before starting the extremely lengthy process of crossing over to China.
goodbye mongolia

Trans Mongolian – Day 4

We had set an alarm so that we’d wake up and get to see Irktusk – the most famous and touristed stop along the whole siberian express. at 5:30am there was not much going on. A huge station, a very pretty terminal, but we were unfortunately 4 platforms away from the terminal and couldn’t even go have a look. Nothing was being sold, it was a very quiet town. Disappointing, I expected a lot more.
near lake baikal

We decided to have a quick nap, it would be another 70km before we reached lake Baikal, but it turns out we overslept and missed the first 50km of the 200km lake side stretch. I can imagine in summer this lake would be gorgeous to look at. But at this time or year, completely frozen over, it had a much different concept of beauty. it’s hard to get a sense of how big it is, when you just see white blending into white.

(this one with a person walking on it)
lake baikal 2

By mid afternoon we stopped at Ullan-Ude. This station was quite busy, and had a surprising collection of high rises in a 1970;s Las Vegas style. Here we picked up some more bread, sausage (which turned out to be incredibly greasy), 2 boxes of juice and some water. We’d hoped to pick up more but the selection from the ladies was limited. While we were stopped a Russain commuter train pulled up beside us and unloaded over a hundred passengers – this station actually had some life!
commuter traffic

What was also nice was for the first time, passengers actually joined our train! Our cabin has a new person, a Mongolian lady in the most pimped out fur coat.

Back on our way, our Trans Mongolian train took a sharp turn south finally shaking the shadow of train 2 the Rossiya – the more popular trans siberian express. As soon as we headed south the scenery instantly changed. trees disappeared, livestock appeared, even the snow faded away to reveal brown harsh hilly landscape. Exactly what i expected Siberia and Mongolia to look like.

It was a slow journey to the border, giving Jason and I plenty of time to nap.

The Russian border was a spectacle in extreme slowness. First round of officials came to take our passports. An hour or so later they came back with them, freshly stamped. Another hour passed and they came to get our customs declaration forms. 30 minutes later officials with dogs came through. 30 minutes after that they came to search our cabins, including the ceiling panels! And this was all ahead of schedule! Couldn’t imagine what it would be like during high season with a full train.

Next up the Mongolian side of border control. Passports were immediately collected. After an hour the train jerked a bit and then we reversed – passports still no where to be seen. After 10 minutes we stopped for a few minutes, then moved ahead for another 2 or 3 minutes. Stopped, and reversed. This back and forth lasted about half an hour, until we finally returned back to our original place at the platform allowing us to stare out the window at the closed up duty free shops. Finally, passports were returned, and then customs check came on board and searched the cabins. After that, it was just a sit and wait for them to decide that they’ve inspected under the train sufficiently, which took about another hour. But finally, we pulled away. Compared to what we’d read on the internet, this was an amazingly speedy crossing. We’d read about horror stories of 11 hour crossings.

Interesting day, tomorrow we will wake up in Ulaan Baatar – the capital, where hopefully we can change some money.

Trans Mongolian – Day 3

Today, the disorientation of following Moscow time really kicks in. At sunrise we awake in Bogotol. I blink at my mobile phone which is still set to Moscow time. 3:30 am. Local time its 7:30. Sometime last night we crossed another time zone moving us to Moscow + 4. Its odd to have the train schedule posted in our cabin in Moscow time. Tomorrow we’re scheduled to arrive at Lake Baikal at midnight moscow time, which will actually be 5am local time. Must be even more unusual for the train stations that post their clocks in Moscow time. I can’t imagine working on Vladivostock station, looking up at the clock that will say 3am but the real time is 10am.

Today I experience a luxurious APC shower and (what’s probably mostly psychological) I actually feel clean.
Scenery is similar to yesterday, just a bit hillier. I also notice that the train has a distinct smell. A mixture of the coal being burnt in the carriage furnace, and our cabin attendant’s Chinese cooking. Yesterday in his little compartment he was chopping up raw cabbage, garlic and prawn to make some sort of soup. I’m thinking its possible his cooking maybe better than the dining car.

Krasnoyarsk is our first stop of the morning. The station is huge and the most high tech we’ve seen. The platforms even have electronic signs. We find a kiosk and the lady seemed overjoyed to be helping us. We picked up a fresh loaf of bread, a link of thick sausage, two containers of juice and 2 instant soup/dinner bowls (we’d learn the next day that we actually bought 2 bowls of instant mashed potato). Our biggest haul yet. Too often we stop at a platform far away from the main terminal to go far, so we’re at the mercy of what ever happens to be on our platform.

Back on the train we dig into our meal, deciding today will be a day that we skip the dining car.
It’s hard to describe what life is like on the train. You read, you eat a little, make some tea, stare out the window for a while, have a nap, chat, do some financial planning, read some more. The time just goes, and it’s very relaxing. This particular train is not overly social though, it’s running at very low capacity. I suppose it is the low season in between Chinese New Year and Easter, so expected. Our first class carriage has 8 cabins for 2, so 16 people capacity. There are only 6 of us on though. We’ve met a few people from the other cabins, but this doesn’t appear to be the season for the Vodka express.

Scenery is still a snowy wooded wilderness interspersed with vast open expanse of snow. Well, until you get close to a town, then it turns into an absolute industrial wasteland. Coal mines, industrial processing factories, timber yards. In between the towns you do get a feeling of extreme isolation though.


Sibera - empty isolation[/caption]

Our last stop during daylight is at Illansky. Absolute jackpot for food. These Russian ladies had our first class carriage pegged and by the time our door opened they had their bags of food neatly on display in a long row not more than 3 steps from our door. Meat, eggs, bread, potatos, fruit some vegetables, juices and beer – it was the best selection yet. And they priced themselves accordingly. Sadly we weren’t overly hungry, but we did pick up 4 giant meat dumplings to add to our soup.

Dumpling in Soup

Trans Mongolian – Day 2

Sometime overnight we officially crossed into Siberia. Scenery has changed. Yesterday was birch tree forests with small industrial towns. Today the trees are thinning out and there are much larger expanses of open untended grassy lands. Still lots of snow. We slept through the 8am (moscow time, +3 local time) stop at Ishim, so we’ll have to wait 3 and a half hours until Omsk to experiment with any more food tastings.

Lonely Planet tells me we’ve crossed into another time zone, we’re now at Moscow + 3 hours. Jason discovers that our shared ensuite shower doesn’t have enough pressure to wash his toes let alone any other body part so he resorts to filling up the sink for a splash shower of key parts.

In Omsk, we buy some bread and onion rings /crisps from a little kiosk on the platform. At this stop we’re more brave and venture off the platform to have a peek at the town. just a peak though.



Later in the day, we head back to the dining car for our main meal. My 3 hours of menu translation the day before proves useless as both dishes we requested were out of stock. Pierogies out of stock in Russia?! Criminal. Again we are the only ones in the dining car. The staff watch Braveheart dubbed over in Russian. My borsht is quite delicious.
At the next stop we pick up some bottled water. No snacks tempt as this time – i think we’ve filled our quota of salt for the day.

We spend the rest of the day reading, lounging and slowly being rocked by the train into various naps.

We make one more stop in the evening at Novosibirik, surprisingly a huge city. Interestingly enough, we had tried to come here last year for the solar eclipse in August but couldn’t get the planning to work. On the platform a few kiosks are open, we browse, but decide 300 roubles is too expensive for sausage.

Trans Mongolian – Day 1

I awake around 4:30 am. We’ve made a very harsh stop at some small station, and i’m now wide awake. We quickly come to the conclusion that sleeping on this trip will have to be a series of naps.

Jason goes back to sleep – he was up for hours after me, unpacking and settling into his surrounding – excited like small child. I instead went straight to sleep, so now rested, I wake up and watch the sunrise from my window and snap some first photos.

A few hours later Jason is up, we make our instant oatmeal breakfast. a few more hours still and we are at another stop. We both get off, but as this is our first venture outside the train we’re paranoid. Trains do leave without people, it has happened many times (although people have survived to blog about it). Determined not to be one of the unfortunate ones, we only make a tiny 5 meter radius from the door.


Back on the train after a few hours of reading we decide to head to the diner car for some lunch. We find it empty, save for the 3 Russian staff members who are huddled around one table chain smoking and watching TV from the 70’s. Actually the whole train seems quite empty.


I attempted to decode the menu, but quickly realise that my Cyrillic and Russain vocabulary are just not up to scratch. I can only recognise the odd word: potato, dessert, tea.


We give up and play Russian roulette with the menu choosing 2 random dishes. We got incredibly lucky. I ended up with a hearty cabbage and sausage soup and Jason with some fried beef patty and really delicious home made french fries. We decided that next time might not be so lucky, so we photograph each page of the menu. My next 3 hours were spent translating.

By the next stop, Jason has worked up more courage and ventures a bit further to a few local ladies to buy some food.

On a Styrofoam tray under tightly wrapped plastic wrap sit fried potato covered in dill, and two round brown pucks, which I assume are just meat patties. In another bag he has 3 giant home made pickles and in a final plastic container is some sort of salad dish with a layer of chopped beats on top. Poor score for presentation. I reassure myself that since it’s so cold outside that the chill acts as some sort of refrigeration and surely that will alleviate some of my food safety concerns. Hours later we’d find the pickles delicious, the meat and potatos also delicious (and reminiscent of food my Polish grandmother would make), but the salad… I wouldn’t touch it as fresh mayonaise is on my pregnancy restricted food list. Jason gingerly bites in to find that under the layer of beats are pieces of herring chopped in with potato. His gag reflex kicks in, and he chugs his bottle of beer to clear the taste. I’m thinking tomorrow he will be more cautious with his food purchases.

Trans Mongolian – Day 0

The train leaves Moscow at 9:30pm. We’re so excited all day. We actually arrive at the station a solid 2 hours early. We wanted to allow plenty of time to understand the departures board, find the platform, find our train, stock up on supplies. 2 hours was about 1.5 hours too early. We quickly realise the platform number won’t be announced until about 30 minutes before. As for supplies, there are a series of little kiosks in and around the station, but they are tiny and seem to stock mostly junk food. We do manage to get two giant 5ltre jugs of water, some juice and snacks. The rest of the time is spent eyeing our stuff, our back pockets every suspicious looking person in the terminal (like everyone) and generally feeling unsafe. The place smells, people smell, and there are way too many people loitering around doing not much. We couldn’t be any happier to get onto that train into the safety of our compartment.


When we do get on, Jason is in pure gitty bliss. He spends the next few hours unpacking, checking out our compartment, his bunk, our shared sink/shower room, and just generally buzzing around.


Me? I’m tired from spending the last 2 hours on high alert for thievery. I got straight to sleep, happy that we made it and its starting.


I suppose its the architecture that is the most reminiscent of Poland from the 80’s. Grey, soviet buildings, that were quickly built post war. But where as Warsaw has recently renovated and painted many of these buildings, the ones in Moscow I saw where still in their shabby grey state. There is also just a general feel that Moscow is about 10 years or so behind places like Warsaw (which tells you how far behind it is of other cities).

Its true what they say about Moscow, it is a city of two distinct classes. The new rich Moscow with its glitzy posh restaurants and cafes patroned by a crowd ostentatiously dripping in designer wear. And the old Moscow, the poorer Moscow, with the old babushkas waddling down the street in giant fur hats.

I will say, generally speaking, the stereotype that Russian women are beautiful seems to be true. Its hard to say if it’s because they are exceptionally well put together, or if its a natural beauty. But there are an exceptionally large amount of thin young women, strutting down the street on a lazy sunday afternoon dressed for the fashion shoot in giant stilettos with a face full of dark eye makeup. Their handbags ooze expensive showiness, but are carelessly slung on their arm (which to Jason and I is a notable relief as bag snatching must be pretty damn low to be that casual).

Intermixed between the drab soviet architecture are the impressive historical buildings. The Kremlin was as impressive as I had expected. Although, the red square was smaller than i thought it would be, and believe it or not, a much more distinct rectangle. The churches really are a work of art, and deserving of every bit of photography they get. The onion topped domes are really pretty, and in many cases the church is an absolute spectacle in excessive colouring. Maybe they used all the paint on the churches leaving nothing for the grey apartment blocks?

For food, we tried to stick to Russain food, or at least food of the (former) Russian empire. Most impressive was the Georgian restaurant we went to – absolutely exquisite. Uzbekistani, interesting but not as good. The Moscow obsessive love for Sushi is a bit shocking, literally every restaurant or cafe will serve it. The pierogie were excellent, as was the borscht – to be expected. Sunday brunch buffet at the Park Hyatt was interesting. Seems normal to bring your pet dog, chow down on sushi, but not be served eggs.

Riding the metro was a highlight. First for the massive brain exercise of figuring out the map whilst testing my Cyrillic reading skills. But second for the visual display of the metro stations. We’d read that they were built to be a celebration for the worker. Marble walls, chandeliers, some of these stations were quite done up.

The one thing we didn’t do was go to the ballet or symphony. But that wasn’t due to lack of trying. Tickets on the internet were going for around 200 USD per person – a bit excessive if you ask me. We tried our luck at the theatre box office, but found giant queues of people (blobs like at the airport) and everything in Russian. In the end we couldn’t stomach the patience we’d need to get to the front of the blob to find out that tickets were likely that same 200USD price seen online. Its hard to tell if the theatre buildings were architecturally nice or not, they were all covered in scaffolding.

Overall, a good couple days in Moscow. Not my favourite city in the world, but fascinating to see, especially from a historical perspective. I wouldn’t want to spend more than 3 days though as you do run out of historical sites to tick off that list, and really you’ll break the bank if you stay much longer. And tonight, the trans mongolian express.

Moscow airport: safety cannot be guaranteed

So day 3 in Moscow comes to an end. And in a few hours we’ll be heading to the train station to pick up the Siberian express.

Moscow. First impressions? The Warsaw I remember from the 80’s. The airport was sufficiently soviet looking, grey drab but clean. Customs line? Can’t really call it a line. More like one giant blob of pushy impatient people. This I was actually expecting. Soviet and ex soviet countries have zero respect for an orderly queue. These people in their lifetime remember waiting in line for bread – so can i really blame their ‘ no body helps me but me’ attitude? Surprisingly though, this is the non-Russian/Belarus passport check.

45 min later the blob squeezes through customs, our visas seem in order and we’re fetching luggage. Coming out to the arrivals area we pass giant warning signs in broken english about illegitimate taxi drivers, with very harsh warnings of: safety not guaranteed. noted. its a mob of family members and taxi drivers (most non legit). Although family members do come to greet people at airports in Western countries, the Eastern European countries just take it to another scale. I’ve seen it first hand in Poland were everyone of my 25+ family will make the trip to come see me at the airport, kiss hello for 5 seconds before we pile into various cars where i won’t see 20 of them, and only speak to the 4 or so in my car for the 45 min journey back into town. Its always been weird to me, but its a sweet gesture.

In Moscow we breeze past the throngs of Russian relatives and make a bee line with Jason for the nearest cash point. we’d changed some euros into Roubles back at Heathrow but knowing how expensive Moscow is reported to be, good to stock up on some more while we have the chance. Immediately we get approached by a man in surprisingly decent english offering his taxi services. We smile say no, and turn away. A police officer has already closed in on his position and given him a stern warning in Russian. Cash in hand we find the official taxi desk and ask the women for a taxi to our hotel. Immediately a man approaches us from behind and shows us some sort of seemingly legit looking certificate (a license perhaps?) and confirms the price in english. As the women behind the desk shows no adverse reaction we assume that this is our driver and start to make arrangements. Within 30 seconds though the police officer is on him, scolds him like a child and chases him away. Confused we turn back to the women behind the desk who has shown no reaction to the exchange, and instead simply points to a pricing list. We make arrangements, pay and are told in very broken english to wait 5 min for our driver. This gives us time to watch the half dozen illegitimate driver try to snag a fare. 3 seem hard pressed on snatching the customer as they approach the legitimate taxi desk, but with every attempt, they are chased away by the Police. This cat and mouse game goes on the entire 10 min we wait. Why they’re even allowed to loiter and solicit for fares I don’t know, it seems the Police never let them close a sale.

Our driver finally shows up and grabs our luggage. For a 60+ year old man he moves surprisingly quickly, as i have a very hard time keeping up. Jason gives me an expression of indecision. Leave his pregnant wife trailing behind? or stay with our luggage that is quickly getting out of sight.

It may be a legitimate taxi, but the car turned out to be a 15 year old Renault in rough shape. The driver spoke no English (seems that’s a skill only illegitimate drivers have), but was satisfied with the hotel address we showed him. We settled in the back and peered out the dirty windows as the Russian outskirts, and Moscow suburbs whizzed by. It was an hour and 20 min ride into town. The fuel light blinked the entire trip.

Spring is (almost) in the air

Its still a bit cold, but you can feel spring just around the corner. This weekend has been a nice change from the grey bleak English winter. Blue skies and sunshine. Its always a bit surprising when the sun comes out. Its like its brighter than back home. I end up squinting like a 10 year old child going outside for the first time in days after playing video games for hours on end.

this place in Exmouth market, you can see the sun streaming in through the windows. I actually saw a few people switch tables to avoid the sunshine!

Exmouth Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device


Yumcha in soho, a café that believes in liberating tea from the pesky confines of bags. What’s impressive is that to choose your tea, they offer it to you in little jars to smell. A clever way to get you to try something new.

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Back in the UK

And back to a simplier time where people haven’t been subjected to sophisticated technilogical advances like shredded lettuce. Come on UK Subway, your lettuce looks like it was ripped apart by a monkey wearing oven mits. Everyother civilalised country knows that lettuce, like cheese, is way tastier when shredded. A sub may hit the spot post flight home, but can we not catch up to north America 20 years ago?

Ps, stop asking me what salad I want on my sub. Its not salad, its toppings.

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Tea snobs.

No surprise that there is a huge snob factor with the tea, but even after 2 and a half years there are still things that will shock me. Business trip in Brussels, breakfast at the hotel. 2 British colleagues ask for tea. They get nicely serving piping hot earl grey tea, and the conversation goes like this:

British 1: earl grey tea?! In the morning???

British 2: I know, can you believe it?

British 1: no! This is outrageous.

British 2:: only on the continent.

British 1: I mean seriously, earl grey in the morning???

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I miss corn!

Good solid autumn Canadian corn. This corn here in UK is awful. Chewy rubbery a bit brownish? How dare they even call it summer sweetcorn. Especially after being back home in Toronto last week and having amazing peaches and cream ontario corn on the cobb at my parents house. The things I end up missing.

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Morning paper

I know the Uk goes against their stuffy stereotype and happily puts topless sunshine girls in their newspapers. But as the guy beside me on the tube is looking at that page now, it seems a little unsettling at 6.40am. Anytime before 9am seems too early to me. Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device

its cold and drizzly

Well, typical English weather actually. And commuting sucks. This morning I missed my 6.45am train by 5 minutes because of stupid edgeware road station. Its that collector station that likes to hold trains anywhere from 1 minute to 10min depending on its fancy. Its a game of Russian roulette every morning taking the tube through that station. And I can’t go around it. So on days like today I miss my train by 5 min, which leaves me stuck at Paddington for 28 min before the next one. And yet the vast majority of people in and around London do massive commutes just like this.

Well, I’m not british yet. Until then, commuting will probably be the end of me.

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Joining the commuting world

With my office now out in theale I’ve joined the masses in commuting hell. Kings cross shut due to over crowding, missed my 7.30am train from paddington to reading and believe it or not almost missed the 8am.

(Canadians the travel equivalent is having your downtown office in TD centre moved to grimsby outside of Hamilton. Fun.)

In other news this morning our towel rack warmer was on, autumn has arrived!

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