The Rustle Brothers and Football Fanatics: Friday 30th March

I was awoken in the middle of the night by somebody coughing in my face and noisily getting into the bunk bed opposite. They seemed to be creating a great deal of noise, but I focussed on getting my head down and trying to get back to sleep. In the morning Josh asked me if I had been awoken by ‘The Rustle Brothers’, a moniker he had created for the three men now seated in the booth opposite and below me, owing to the fact that they appeared to be travelling with nothing more than a rucksack full of carrier bags, which they sifted through at every available opportunity. Sadly we didn’t have time to get more acquainted with our new train buddies (a shame, as they were pummelling vodka at 09:30), as the train was pulling into Khabarovsk station. We only had a few hours before we needed to get on the train for Chita (43 hours, 2325km and ~£50 each), which was more than long enough to stock up on supplies, get caught in a snow storm, and be pursued and kissed by a random drunkard, who was insistent that we both knew Russian, and who kept saying something Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair which sounded mildly incendiary. At any rate, it was good to get on the train again.

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Unfortunately Josh’s request for ‘more masculine cups’ went largely unheeded.

This leg of the journey saw us situated opposite (having now grasped the lay out of the train we were able to request a single set of bunk beds) a Russian babooshka (grandmother), her daughter and her grandson. We were later joined by another pair of brothers, and via the magic of Josh’s Russian phrasebook managed to eek out a conversation. Apparently one of the brothers was a welder, whilst the other was a ‘football fanatic’, I’m not quite sure if he meant hooligan, but he kept saying something about Manchester City whilst the other brother gravely shook his head. After saying goodnight I made up my bed, and was tucked into bed by the bambooshka. This was a really lovely gesture, and I decided not to ruin it by protesting that I wasn’t quite ready for bed yet, and had instead planned on reading for a bit.

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About truehamlet

Sam is a senior lecturer in Science Communication, who researches the different ways in which media such as poetry and film can be used to communicate science to new audiences.
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