Crossing Gobi
Hello again!

Again, I am sitting in the train having enough time to choose my words carefuly. Although this time it's not 87 hours. I am on a train from Ulaan Bataar to Beijing, when I should be somewhere inside of Mongolia, riding a horse or something.

That's not happening.
The reason for that is that I decided not to. Arriving in Mongolia with a heavy cold, spending four days in the bed I decided to just skip this and head to China. Another reason is, that Mongolia, or the parts that I want to visit are and will be come even colder in the next few days.

I am very happy to have made that decision. I proove myself I didn't strap myself to some kind of plan that cannot be changed and to which scheudle I have to stick. I am free, and can go wherever I want. I am sure that I miss out on a lot not visiting the countryside of Mongolia, but I am also sure that I have the possibilities to come back one day. It's not that far away after all.

Eventhough the city was really not that great, I got a glimpse of how nice Mongolians are.

When arriving in UB and getting out of the bus, we really didn't know where to go. Not knowing, that taxis do NOT have the common "Taxi-sign" on their tops, we had a hard time finding one. Tomek had a good idea, and we asked for help in the next (pretty expensive) hotel. The woman behind the counter turned out to be very nice, leaving her workplace, walking on the street with us and getting us a cab. She also gave me her private number incase we needed more help afterwards. Same thing with the cab driver that brought me to the train station yesterday. Instead of getting paid and continue working, he went outside with me and helped me to get a train ticket. Translating for me and making sure I got everything I wanted. I think that's no coinsidence. People are friendly in Mongolia. A reason to come back.

Right now I am literaly in the middle of the Gobi desert. Drinking a cold coke and watching a movie on my laptop! Isnt't that surreal? I watch outside and there is nothing. Nothing but dirt and stones.. We're going through this nomansland for about 10 hours now, and I still can't believe it! Looking outside I asked myself and Tomek: "Did you ever watched out of a train/car/whatever not spotting a tree for half an hour?". No. We both haven't.

The train is so much more comfortable then expected. You saw the russian ones.. I think it's a Chinese train with little television for every seat, with a clean toilet and a shower room. The ticket for this around 1.800 kilometer long train ride cost me around 77 Euros, or 131.000 Turig.
I am happy to arrive in Beijing in about 20 hours from now on. Lots of Couchsurfers experiences are waiting for me in China.
I am pretty sure I can live under a 15dollar/day budged, and do my thirty days in China! As much as I know, I changed all my plans and will probably go to Japan, instead of Tibet. Japan will be cold very soon, so it's good to be there as soon as possible. As well Japan will be the most expensive country I am going to visit.

One more interesting thing about the train cars.. On the border of Mongolia and China, the wheels have to get changed, as the Mongolian and Russian rails are a bit wider then Chinese ones. It's a impressive procedure in which the whole train gets lifted up and all wheels are being exchanged.

Doing that in the beginning makes more sense because after that I am going to know how long more I can stay away!

So far so good, I will upload this as soon as I find wifi and then explore Beijing!

Beijing time is UTC + 8, or CET + 7 (Germany)

Arrived in Beijing
After arriving in Beijing, I got helped by my friend Vicky to find me a host! She got me in contact with Phillip and Dawn, a couple from the states who moved to Beijing a few years ago!

Right now, 25th September, midnight I am lying in their guestroom, uploading pictures! I made a few, not even that bad videos of the Gobi and Chinese landscape, but I totally forgot Youtube is blocked. No way for me to upload them! :P

The first impressions of Beijing are awesome. I am totally curious to check out the city tomorrow!

You'll hear from me soon,
Yours Luke
Entry by Tido from Germany
On 28.09.2011 at 16:30
Hi Lukas :)
Imke and me just read the "crossing gobi" part and marked beijing on our map :P
Looks really nice there!
Greats to china!^^
Entry by Vicky from Chin
On 28.09.2011 at 04:32
Looking forward to your China+ Beijing part =P

Entry by Mateusz from Poland
On 26.09.2011 at 18:43
Ale fajny wagon nie to co w rosji :D pozdrawiam
Entry by Liza from Russia
On 26.09.2011 at 18:21
Hey)Envy you a little, Chinese looks so nice exactly as i imagined it and the weather is warm and pleasant in difference with ours))) the train seems veeery comfortable))waiting for your new article and look forward to hear from you)