Day 15: Entering China - 108 Days Across Eurasia by Martins Ate

I waked up together with a sunrise. It was raining all night and as it was very cold I was waking up about 10 times to change my position and warm myself a bit up with a pranayama exercises. But as I was sleepy and tired it was hard to do it for long enough to feel warm enough for a well night sleep.
In the morning the problem stayed the same - is this a finish of my trip? Do I need to turn back and hitchhike all the way back to Brussels? Or should I just go, just do it, whatever the consequences might be. 
I cannot go back. I need to finish my journey as planned, even if it takes a Chinese prison. Fuck that. I need to make it. I need to do this whatever it takes.



My feets are burning due to everyday long distance walks. I'm in a bad mood thinking that now I need to cross all Russia again. I cannot go back. No. Not this time.
I made up a tent and chanting prayers moved back to the border. While changing I had an idea of going by train but again - how will I make it without money at least till Beijing where is more civilized and safe for me to continue the trip and where I could meet my friend Ingus, who lives around there for a few years now.
So I stopped by the train station and was waiting for him by his doors after found out from the guards that he will be around 10 AM. As it was early morning, I waited for a few hours and was planning to introduce myself with my ideas and probably get some free pass towards Beijing by train as I was thinking: "what is a one passenger driving for free for such a great, big and financially stable company as the Russian Railways.
When the Director came, I introduced myself as Martin from Latvia and asked him for a time to have some conversation with me. After finishing few urgent things, he invited me inside his office. 
The party begins. This is a moment where it is decided not IF but WHEN i'm gonna be in Chinese prison by hitchhiking - before or after Beijing.
Alexander - the managing director of the Russian Railways Zabaikalsk Station was very strong standing man with a strong handshake. I liked him from the very beginning. He made an impression of a good businessman. Behind his chair was a photography of the President of the Russia - Medvedjev. Also, in his huge office was a flags of Russia and China. He was polite, strict and tolerate.
After I introduced myself and briefly told abot the project "vedatrac" where I'm planning to go from Europe till Australia hitchhiking with a total of 53,000 Km, I explained the reason of me coming to him as the only hope.
Alexander listened to me carefully, made few calls to confirm the seriousness of my situation and asked me a simple question: what do I want from him. My answer was as short: ticket till Beijing. He smiled and picked up a calculator.



After pressing some buttons on it he took his wallet, pulled out of it three thousands of rubles and told that he is unable to provide me with a free ticket to Beijing but from Manchurian the trains are cheaper and this amount should be enough to get me till there by Chinese trains. He told me that He is unable to get for me a free ticket. Gave me the three thousand rubles and told: "Мы же Русские!" (We are Russians!). I could not stop thanking him and his words where sounding in my ears long after I left him. I guess they will remain in my memory for a long time as it is incredible how Russians are helping me out all the way long through the huge Russian empire. Alexander saved me. Saved my trip. Saved my dream. I left his office with a greeting from him to catch up one day when I will be a millionaire and will do a business together. This is what I call a True Russian. With a heart full of love and understanding. Thank You, Alexander.

China border crossing, Manzhouli - I'm in China. Thanks to Vladimir! to cross the border I needed to pay 300 rubels to local buss service. They provided me with excellent service and assisted me on every step during the passport control and customs.



Entering the Manzhouli is a real culture shock. From naked step with even no trees, old houses to the big city, full of gardens and huge houses, filled crowded with people. Just ten kilometers away from Russia and it feels like I'm on another planet.


I went to the local bank and exchanged rubles to yuan's and moved towards railway station after my ticket to Beijing with eyes wide open. Back to civilization... :) welcome.

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