[*again a mysterious reference to another work]
Actually I have slept better. Especially because the sleeper train in question was passing between Riga and St Petersburg which meant – a stop whilst we changed to Russia railway gauge wheels, a stop by Latvian authorities and a final stop by the Russian authorites. I was expecting the border guards to look like Arnold Schwartenegger’s socially unreconstructed kid brother. Instead about half of them were women. However the woman who checked my passport did look a lot like Sean Connery’s opponent in “From Russia With Love” (remember her, the KGB spy with the knife in her shoe?), all short blonde hair, olive coloured uniform and sharp features. I was expecting something to go wrong, I was expecting her to at least ask where I was staying (there was a suspicous blank on my visa application when it came to asking for an address in Russia).
Other than that the border crossing was exactly as I expected it. Harsh floodlights in a railway siding and people shining torches in your face at 1:30am. I had actually gone as far as preparing a bribe should something go wrong (whiskey rather than money, mind you, but a bribe nontheless).
So here I am in Russia. I have to say that so far I’m a bit disappointed with St Petersburg, it’s a lot more “Blade Runner” and a lot less historic than I expected. Still I’ve only been here a few hours so I think I might get a shower then go and explore. Only Moscow, Irkutsk, Ulaan Batar and Beijing to go (unless I decide to go further)