With an indefinite amount of hours stretching before us and a train carriage full of foreigners (we were all lumped together, whereas on the other train rides we were scattered throughout the train's carriages), our exit from Russia and entry into Mongolia actually ended up being a lot of fun.
1pm: We stop at the Russian border and are told we have 3 hours to kill before Russian passport control will make it onto our train carriage (carriage #10) for our exit requirements. We - for this leg of the journey, "we" was Bryce and me, "the Peters" (an Irish diplomat and a British TV reporter both stationed in Moscow who we kept bumping into throughout Siberia), Emma, a tour guide from Oz, 2 German women from Berlin, Raul, a Chilean on vacation for 3 weeks and at least 10 Brits - decide to climb our way over the railroad tracks and down the river at the border's edge. This seemed like a bright idea until we started to get eaten alive by bugs, but the scenery was definitely picturesque! We hobble - scratching - back toward the train, only to see that most of it is missing: as passport control made its way through the carriages, an engine came and took those carriages away to where customs officials waited (a km down the tracks).
4pm: We are herded back on the train for passport control. This goes on without a hitch and we all tumble out again until the engine comes to drag us to customs.
5pm: Lots of beer is purchased at the local store. And vodka. And rum. And frozen strawberries, as a substitute for Popsicles (Raul's idea). The Peters serenade us in the afternoon sun. Turns out they are in a band together in Moscow.
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