First I must apologize for not getting this sent sooner. I have had a glitch in my website and the poor internet in China meant problems getting it fixed. I hope it is going to work now.
I LOVE riding on trains, and overnight trains in Asia can not be beat. My first ride was on the famous Mongolian Express. I left Ulan Bator at 7 pm with a warning from my driver to watch for pickpockets at the station. I had a soft sleeper so two sets of bunks in my cabin. Each car has hot water available for tea or noodles, a western toilet at one end, and a squat one at the other. I woke to miles of nothing – flat and barren land. Occasionally we would see some wild camels but not much else. Arriving at the border Mongolian Customs and Immigration officers came on board and processed our exit from Mongolia. We moved ahead and entry procedure with Chinese officials. Then it got interesting. The two countries use different gauge railways so our train had to have the undercarriage changed on each car – a lengthy procedure. I was thinking it would be much faster to simply change trains??? I had to change stations at Lanzhou and everyone wanted to take me to the airport. Finally got someone who understood where I wanted to go, and drove me over an hour for $15. That train took me to Zhange so I finally got to see the famous Rainbow Mountains. Leaving Zhange I took a fast train to Xining to catch the highest train in the world into Lhasa, Tibet. Each car had several oxygen outlets, and the train is pressurized like an airplane. Once again we crossed vast barren areas. I was so surprised there was no snow – I was expecting Tibet to have snow. I felt so important arriving in Lhasa to have someone standing with a sign with my name on it – first time! You can not travel independently in Tibet, not even from the station to your hotel, so I was required to have my tour pick me up.