out of the neon sun ~ chapter one
yikes oh crikey!
i'm only bloomin' going to china. CHINA!?
here's why: my pal matthew is a bit of a traveler. no, not the type that parks their house in a cinema car park so they can thieve pick 'n mix to live on, but the type that gets a craving every now and again to throw some stuff in a bag and see where his wind takes him. off he goes into the sunset to seek out the hidden parts of the world that most people have never even heard of. it's been pretty safe and risk free so far. most of the world is. all you need is an england football shirt and a credit card and most of the world is your clam.
not all of it though. for a while he's wanted to do the trans-siberian railway. the trans-siberian railway is exactly what it says on the steel-wheeled tin. and more. it's the world's longest railway line. it literally stretches half way around the world. literally. if you travel the entire length you'll go from moscow, through the entire breadth of russia and siberia, to vladivostok on the coast of the japanese sea. its a long way. and you'll see some of the most desolate, untouched and beautiful parts of this planet we live on. the trip of a lifetime many people have said, but not in that overused "i larged it in i-beef-ah" way. trundling throught the dust. edging slowly forward into ground level infinity. the abyss, unterraformed. abandoning the modern world except for the ancient green locomotive steaming you ever away from the crutches of day-to-day life. powerless in a desert more untouched than mars. "he would tell me of the great train that ran across half the world.. he held me enthralled then, and today, a life-time later, the spell still holds. he told me the train's history, it's beginnings.. how a tzar had said 'let the railway be built!' and it was.. for me, nothing was ever the same again.. i became possessed by love of a horizon and a train which would take me there.." * to the world at its most basic form. the bleached-bone beauty of the earth's crust. raw. majestic. bigger than anything you have seen. prehistoric ground-zero. world's end and world's beginning. humanity existing and co-existing leaving not so much as a scar on fellow inhabitants or a crease on mother earth.
... so i thought i'd go too. y'know, i might as well.
at the moment we plan to fly to moscow, have a look around, then hop on a train to irkutsk in siberia where we'll take the trans-mongolian branch down to the mongol capital; ulan bator, timing it so we see the colours and energy of the naadam festival, then on to beijing. if you travel constantly it takes a week to cover that distance. we're gonna stretch it out to a month.
and so begins the planning of a lifetime. i think it'll take a great deal of thought to get from one side of the world to another without leaving the ground or using expedia.
it will give food for my blog for the next few months. i will call my journey "out of the neon sun - the losing of the urban cowboy"
read it here.
* lesley blanch journey ino the mind's eye