The Soup Trip Story

In the train from Moscow, Russia to Lviv, Ukraine

Usually I don’t take trains when I travel.. No matter what.. I don’t like trains.. Maybe I just spent too much time wandering on the roads.. Or there’s something else I don’t understand yet.. It’s hard to say.. But even if it’s -45°C cold, I prefer to hitchhike..
Nevertheless, when my friend suggested me to take the train from Moscow to Lviv, I agreed.. I had some good reasons for that and the main one was my poor health as each of seventy something days I spent in Russia I was sick.. Even now sitting in a half lotus posture with The Armenoinds on my player and typing these letters for you to read – I am still sick.. Cold weather is something I have to learn to deal with after living one year in South East Asia.. But let’s go back to the train..

It was a cold February morning in Moscow.. When we arrived to the Kiyevsky train station, our Train Number One Hundred Forty One was on its line.. At 12.35 PM we left.. Our neighbors – a young blond girl who kept drinking beer all the way, a Uzbek guy who was going to Ukraine only to cross the border to get another stamp in his passport and come back to Moscow the same day, and a forty-five years old lady, who was actually very friendly.. And it turned out she was also heading to Lviv.. Oh, and yes, I forgot about our elephants.. Vasya the Elephant and Parvati Mataji, lady elephant from India, who adopted Vasya..

I knew that the only way for me to survive the train trip was to act weird and crazy and have fun together with my friend Lena – a Hare Krishna devotee and George Harrison fun as I am myself.. A day before she had cooked a vegetarian soup and so she took it with her for us to eat.. We began our trip playing games till dinner.. The vegetarian soup was delicious but…cold.. Somehow when taking the soup in plastic food containers Lena forgot that there’s no way to heat it in the train.. When the dinner was over we decided to write a poem line by line.. The poem turned out to be too weird to be posted but if being short, it was about an old man, whose wife abandoned him and ran away with her lover-horse and so the old man now was living with the only elephant he had, taking acid drugs and riding striped bugs.. Was it the cold vegetarian soup aftereffect?..

We crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border around seven o’clock in the evening.. On the Russian side the immigration officer was concerned about me being myself.. “You got chinky eyes in your passport,” he said. “But the eyes on your face are big.” “I’ve spent two months traveling in China. That’s where I got chinky eyes,” said I.. And he was satisfied.. On the Ukrainian side everything was fine, although the officer asked plenty of questions to make sure I’m not like the Uzbek guy, doing a stamp run.. The Uzbek guy, by the way, was taken to the immigration office.. And as the blond girl also left the train right after she was checked, we continued our trip minus two people..
For the supper we had the same vegetarian soup.. This time we decided to heat the soup putting in on a boiler with hot water.. Everything was perfect till the moment when the food container with our supper fell down.. The container got some cracks and our soup was floating away from us.. But when that’s the only food you have for the next fourteen hours, you act quick.. Turning the container upside down and cutting a hole for our spoons on it, we finished the vegetarian soup, still cold..

Then there was a sleepless night, because the train was shaking so bad as if we were undergoing some kind of NASA test for astronauts.. At 10.15 AM next morning our soup trip was over in the city of Lviv in Western Ukraine.. And I guess that was the first and last time when we were traveling with containers of soup..

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6 thoughts on “The Soup Trip Story

  1. What an interesting story! I’ll make a mental note not to bring soup next time I travel by train. I did travel on the Indian train a couple of times: the first time we had flat bread, kebabs and lentils prepared by my mother-in-law, and the second time we ate the food from the train (which was just OK).

    Look at Vasya! Seems like Parvati Mataji is spoiling him too much by carrying him around.

    “I’ve spent two months traveling in China. That’s where I got chinky eyes” I laughed out loud reading this 😀

    • Thanks, Nadia!
      Well, coming out of my experience of dealing with immigration officers I can say that the best way to avoid any troubles is to make them laugh or pretend you’re stupid 🙂

      Oh so they serve good food in the trains in India?.. I wonder what’s that train food like?

  2. Traveling in India by train is definitely a must. You can buy food, tea and share with your travel companions. Indians are very friendly, especially in trains. Sleeper class is much better than air-con cars, you can see the scenary, feel the breeze and even sit on the doorstep, your legs outside the train.

    And since hitch hiking in India is somewhat difficult, you may consider traveling in India by train, I bet you’ll be happy. It is a lot of fun and very, very cheap too!

    • I was actually thinking about it.. And perhaps, I will travel by trains in India as an exception! Cuz I heard a lots of stories from people taking trains in India and it was always a positive experience! And maybe I even want to try riding on the car’s top 🙂 if it is still allowed!:)

  3. It sems like the habit of traveling on the roof has disappeared, at least on long distance trains. I don’t know about commuter trains, but I think it is very uncommon, at least… But sitting at the door is nice too, and safer (even if you have to be careful…

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