China, Mongolia, Russia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, England, New York…..and back to Kyoto. I started back at classes the day after I returned but my internal clock was probably still somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic. A pleasant welcome back from my students and was excited to show them photos of my journey. Hope to encourage them to practice their English skills abroad. Great to see 2 trials on my schedule as well!
Anyone interested in the Siberian train I highly recommend it. I took the trans-Mongolian with the bonus of passing through 3 countries instead of 1. I was able to make reservations through a travel agent in Tokyo and get assistance with a Russian visa. Mongolia and China visa`s were easy to get on my own. Fortunately the weather cooperated the entire way! One of the things I appreciate about being in Japan is the close proximity to other countries. Great opportunity to visit while I have the chance! There was plenty of time to meet lots of interesting characters on the train as the world passed by out the windows and be prepared for a few “vodka shot greetings.” These trains don`t exactly resemble the sleek, modern Shinkansens we get used to in Japan. Just make yourself at home and set up camp and soon you will have no idea what time or day it is.
If you are not familiar with Cunards Queen Elizabeth 2, after 40 years of sailing around the world it is to be retired in Dubai as a hotel and museam. In fact it is on it`s final voyage as I type this. I was fortunate enough to get a cabin on board for the QE2`s last trans-atlantic crossing to New York from England. I`ve never been across an ocean by ship before and it was a wonderful experience. Not so for some passengers who became seasick the first few days from the North Atlantic swells but conditions improved shorty after and the rest of our voyage was as smooth as a pond. We sailed into New York harbour in the early morning among the brilliant lights of Manhatten after 6 days of spoiled luxury at sea. Some lucky passengers were staying aboard for the return voyage to England but for me reality was setting in – back to being a backpacker. Now I`ve returned to the squash court with a few additional pounds and having to endure my very own cooking once again………
That’s a fantastic adventure story… almost unbelievable. Is it true? Almost looks like a homework story for practicing routines and comprehension. When do we get to see pictures?
Ed, SSE Ohtsu