Wednesday, July 30, 2008

 “A Train to Krasnoyarsk”, The Young Single Adult Conference
July 29, 2008
At 5:16 on Wednesday July 25th we left Novosibirsk on the train heading east to the city of Krasnoyarsk for a YSA conference at Camp Granada. Yep, “Hello mudda, hello fadda, here I am at Camp Granada. . .” It is a residence camp for children in the mountains east of the city. When we arrived there on Thursday morning there were 500 school-age children checking out and waiting for buses to return to the city.

The 13 hour train trip was quite an experience and actually quite enjoyable. We had a “coupe” (pronounced koopay) with two 24” wide bench seats that were used for beds, an 18” isle, a 12”x18” table attached to the wall just under the window, and a sliding door for privacy. The compartment was about 6 feet wide and about 7 feet long; snug but not cramped.

Three senior couples traveled together; the Simmons, the Bowdens, and the Hughes. We had coupe 3-4 which was the first of the three in our carriage and closest to the bathroom at our end. There was another at the other end, but that was 7 coupes away. The man in #1-2 was a friend of the “stewardess” who was responsible for our carriage and I think they spent some time together during the trip. She had a small “closet” next to the bathroom.

The boarding process included giving the stewardess our tickets and passports. She examined each in minute detail, looking at our picture and up to our faces and back several times, taking out the first ticket (outbound) and tearing it carefully across the gold decal at the top. When satisfied, she let us board and I loaded our two small suitcases, Cindy’s travel bag and a box full of sacrament trays and mail for the Royers (the Sr. Couple in Krasnoyarsk).

The six of us Sr. Couples were just like a bunch of kids experiencing the train for the first time. We walked up and down the narrow isle, looked out the windows, tried out each other’s seats and generally acted very young. The Gushin’s daughter, Dasha, came home from BYU for the conference and when I saw them out the window I got off the train to take their picture; VERY BAD IDEA. Cindy scolded me for not telling her I was going and gave strict orders not to do THAT again.

When the train finally got rolling, we settled down in our coupe and had the dinner Cindy had brought and read, talked, and looked out the window until about 11 pm and finally prepared to go to bed. That was a little complicated with only a narrow isle between the beds. One had to sit while the other moved, but we finally put the extra suitcase (the one with two, 5 liter bottles of water and towels) under the seat and changed into our “train” sleepers. The Mickelsens had given us two pair of slippers from a hotel that we were to use on the train to keep our feet clean. We were not to wear our street shoes except in the bathroom.

So here we are, me in sweat pants and t-shirt, Cindy in her lounge wear, trying to make our beds at the same time while bumping bums continually. The bench had a sheet on the bench pad and a blanket that served as the “couch” cover. Under the cover there was a pillow case and another sheet doubled and sewn around the edges making a duvet but I could not find the opening so I just put the blanket on top of the sheet. The motion of the train and the hour put me to sleep almost immediately after prayers.
What a trip
What a country

1 comment:

Shannon Simmons said...

wahoo!!!! We're traveling now Jesse! That train ride looked almost glamorous! And you two are getting super skinny! Love you!