Wednesday, 6 October 2010

china boarder from siberia TO FINISH

I just arrived in China... Manzhouli, exactly the same border town I came to 4 years ago. It was a more epic journey last time... crossing Siberia in November with my girlfriend with no money busking in minus 18 celcius to get enought for the trains and rushing so I would get out before my russian visa expired. This time it was a little more mellow, money was no issue so we messed around much more eating well. We left tallinn 11 days ago and stayed a night in moscow and partied out quite hard there before an overnight train to nizhni novgorod on the wonderful volga river. My friend there has moved to a gypsy village over the river where we got our fortunes read by a dark gypsy women who told us her granny was estonian and a lot of twaddle about getting married and settling down and getting a big car. Another overnight train to Izerbsk which is a bit off the transiberian railway route.

My painting of Nadya playing beautiful Udmurti songs to me in her kitchen!

We met Erko's friend Nadya who works in the House of the Friendship of Peoples. She is Udmurti, a finno urgic cousin of the Estonians in the urals but the language does not sound very estonian AT ALL and they are famous for their red hair and ... not sure.

Tom and Nadya
Well, she sings really nice and we went to a tea party with an oriental tea drinking action going on and lots of ambient bird song music and they asked tom and me to play and so we played 3 songs and everyone started going wild and loving it and I stopped early, leave them wanting more, after Tom and I had thrown ourselves around the floor and the point had been proved.
Two Finnish girls took over a little after us and managed to calm things down a little with their sad songs. I knew one of them from a Katja's wedding last summer in Finland. I would have happilly joined them on their ethnographic search for music in Russia and China but we have this stupid flight to Australia from China to catch. I wont do a big journey again with a deadline this fast ... planes really suck! anyhow, we rushed out of that scene, managed to catch the midnight train east to novosibirsk with sunny weather all the way. beautiful scenery... best time of year to travel. such brilliant autumn colours outside. Fantastic. Whenever the train stopped for more than 20 minutes (a few times a day) we would rush out and organize a football match near the station with local drunks or i would practice breakdancing in the station hall with the brilliant marble floors. We took another long train from Novosibirsk past Bailkal lake to Chita and arrived there this morning. That was a nice ride, except for the drunk soldiers who cornered me in the smoking wagon and would not let me leave until i had drunk their beer with them and Tom and Erko's battle with the mother of train (wagon guard woman) trying to buy a boiled potato off a woman at the platform... the potato war. A few drunk soldiers, funny babooshkas and screaming kids but all great fun in the end. Erko has wonderful charm and could make the most horrid witch of a train conductor smile. He would just start telling them we were going to Australia from Estonia and where we were from and opening up so cheerfully and they became sun-shiney people when before they had been telling me to stop playing music in the smoking room or to tidy up my bed. He is a brilliant traveling companion and tom would have erko and me in stitches with his stories about containers and how to spell fridge. We decided i would have PARTY ON DUDE on my gravestone and Tom would have NO-ONE BELIEVED ME!
I think we have to go soon lots of love jimmy x

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