Trains, Spain & A Box of Vodka
So under the dusty cobwebs, I have found a blog post of the time of when I was 'caught' by Chinese Military on a train going into Kazakhstan and how I almost got arrested, and taken off!! I thought I would share the post with you here:
Phew! Was I glad to get out China! At the Border post when we arrived in the morning I got seriously haggled by the Chinese Military- but perhaps I provoked them. One of them saw me take pictures of the mountain ranges next to the border post. I have never seen such small squinty eyes open so wide!! He and 10 other military men rushed onto the train and searched through everything. I can honestly say it was the most dreadful feeling throughout the whole trip. I literally thought I was going to be arrested- and so did everyone else. I thought I would be taken off the train and my adventure over! They demanded to see and delete all my pictures on my computer and phones, camera. I took a spare USB card and swapped it for the one I had in my camera so it looked as if, I had already ‘deleted’ the pics.
As for my computer, the battery was flat, so I guess it was there bad luck. It was the most violating feeling with them. They searched through EVERYTHING and I mean everything- bras, panties, make up bag, little pouches, bags, everything. They thought I was a spy!!!! The Kazak train guys bribed them for a box of vodka as far as I know, and things seemed to cool down and I thank God I got chatty with the train conductor he saved my bacon.
What a life saver. After some passengers saw what was going on, one guy from Spain with whitest teeth I ever did see, came up to me and said “Its a good thing they didnt check one of my laptops because of flat battery” and Im like “Why??!” and he says, “Im a journalist on assignment here to shed light on the harsh political conditions of Tibet and the Chinese regime”
….Now here’s the real spy!! He mentioned that he was quick to send all his pictures and data of his assignment to his editor the day he collated all of it, and they were already published in the newspaper as we were speaking about it that morning! He said it was the first real time he felt under serious threat for his safety and I have to agree quickly with that. It was wretched!
Anyway, after that we, the passengers started becoming friendly with each other, along with a some other passengers- a great guy from Kyrgystan called Eugene, Bella and her mother from Kazakhstan, and a couple of others who were from Mongolia.
As we pulled into the first stop in Kazakhstan, we ate oily vegetables and mushrooms, and the food just got worse from then on! I had been smart enough to stock up on rami noodles in China as well as some candy. That kept me going till Almaty, Kazakhstan.
We truly had the time of our lives that following night. Seven of us: Eugene, Spanish Spy, Bella and mama and the peroxide blonde Mongolian ladies were in my sleeper cabin talking and crying with laughter for hours. I honestly thought my stomach would be cramped all night! It truly was the greatest fun talking about life and random things through our broken translating skills- and this is precisely why I LOVE travelling like this. Absolutely pricesless memories as we dashed through the Shonzy midnight skies by train.