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The distance between Ulaan Baatar and Ulan Ude can't be more than 1000 km, but our train needed 25 hours to deliver us to our destination. The Mongolian-Russian border crossing took 5 hours, each border post taking an equally long time to do nothing as far as we could see. The action started when the Mongolian border guards scared us by exaining our passports for many minutes. They took my passport and called me into another train compartment. They wanted to retain me because my passport looked as though I had tampered with it by adding pages. After some tense minutes I found the official teletype from the passport agency that explained the added pages (needed for all the country stamps, my passport has 48 pages). If all else failed, I wondered if I should bribe them. Luckily I didn't need to find out and they let me through to see the scenery change from Mongolia to Russia. Grasslands give way to birch and pine trees; the housing changes from ger tents to log cabins with tin roofs.
When shopping in Ulan Ude you must bring your own bag or buy it from the bag sellers for 5 cents.
Siberian animal fur boots are too hot for California.
A quiet street in Ulan Ude