Updated: Aug 29, 2018
Ulan Ude To Arshan, Siberia A Funny Thing Happened
It is an all day bus ride from Ulan Ude to Arshan, Siberia. Most travellers do not look forward to the cramped, multi-stop, local voyage and they try not to deviate too much from an early start to the mountain town destination of Arshan. But if you get lost locating the bus station (at the train station) you may have a chance to meet some friendly locals.
You have been here before. Unable to read the easy directions to the bus, a cryptic route that makes no sense in reality.
It is the journey, not the end point, you repeat the mantra, trying to steady your shattered nerves.
Wallowing in a state of total confusion, and argument, if only in your mind, a saviour or three appears. Well, bored, Russian rail workers, more likely. But, all that matters is they want to help and it is a rare opportunity to have some local interaction for both parties. It is Monday morning and the railway workers want a break and the travellers are frustrated. Backseat driving in Siberia, in a railway vehicle on your way to wherever they think you want to go without the benefit of language (English is rarely used in Russia). Drawing maps and pictures becomes the universal language and that is the adventure. After a couple of hours of confusion, laughter, including the requisite offers of mid morning vodka more confusion is resolved and back at the railway bus station after some final slaps on the back it is bon voyage.
It is Russia after all.
For more on travel in Russia and Siberia, see also: