As our group had become lazy writers, I asked everyone to write some 5 sentences about our journey from Almaty to Urumqi. I got many sentences, not so many facts, and most of them all were about our time on Kazakhstan/China border, so there will a separate post dedicated to the funny border crossing. But for now – about the Silk road train “Zhibek zholy”.
It was quite late when we entered the train, but who would have known that the caption “Alamutu – Wulumuqi” on the side of the train standing on 1st tracks, means that this is the train to Urumqi. Again, we had booked places in 2 adjacent kupes, but this time they were a little bit different from each other. Each of them had violet clothes-hangers, but in the boy’s kupe each of them had a “pretty” ribbon. There was a little fight to get a hanger with a ribbon, and finally the boys were so kind to change their hangers to ours :D. We put down our bags and stepped out to take a photo, with the hangers, of course.
The train and the compartments were clean, white and somewhat “sterile”. Every kupe had two thermoses with drinking water (the previous train had drinking water tap in the corridor, however, we drank mostly boiled water after cooling it down in a glass bottle, placed in Everita’s sneaker to not fall apart). Electricity sockets were under the table in each kupe, there were more than 1 and not all the same, but I don’t remember neither how many exactly nor what types. There was a Chinese style (squat) toilet in one end of the wagon, a normal toilet in the other. Also in this train there was a big place for our things over the corridor. We kept there many things including bed linen in day time and among them the melon which had been carried around in Almaty and turned out to be the only piece of fruit to survive till China. Beds were much harder than in the train before, but we slept very well after the long day in Almaty.
Next day I woke up to see a nice scenery outside the window. There was a nice, blue lake behind a meadow and it was still there some hours later. Apparently a very big lake. Here and there were some village or Muslim cemetery. The landscape of eastern Kazakhstan was very beautiful and none of the pictures taken through the dirty train windows made it justice.
It was very quiet in the train. While in the train before everyone was keeping the doors of their kupes open and visiting other people in the train, even unknown people, here most doors were closed and there were no people chatting in corridor. We kept our doors open mostly and sometimes tried to shut the curtains of the windows in the corridor so that there was less Sun shining into eyes. Though the carriage attendant walked through the carriage time after time and always opened them if it was light outside and always shut them if it was dark. He seemed to be a very patient person as he never tried to say anything to us, when we opened the curtains uncountable times in the evening.