I believe I am here…
Overland to the five great sacred mountains of China
03-03-2015 | I am on the way from Amsterdam to China by train. The train wil pass through Moscow then Siberia and from there through Mongolia to Bejing. In China we will travel further over-land to the city Xian and find a spot to live around the sacred Mount Zhongnan.
Zhongnan is said to be the place where Laozi wrote the Tao Te Tjing after wich he road off towards the west. We will also visit the Five Great Sacred Mountains of China. Its a slow.. slow.. slow.. way of traveling, plenty of time to get extremely bored.
Small space Big Space
11-03-2015 | After being in one train compartment for eighty-nine consecutive hours we arrived at this beautiful lake Baikal in Siberia. The contrasts are big during this trip…and I have to say I am very happy to transfer for a night from the tiny wagon space to a sea of ice.
Underway like a flee in a dogs fur
18-03-2015 | I am starting to smell and I lost track of days. Since we left Amsterdam we have passed more then eight time zones. We spend nights in the train driving through time while the mornings come too fast. In the meantime I have collected smells of Russian sweat, Russian cooking, Fish, Mongolian Mutton, Yak, Gert, Horse, Cow shit, and my own sweat since leaving… This mixed with some deodorant and an occasional improvised bath is how I appear at the moment.
The few nights we spend outside of the train feel like still being on the train, I still hear the sound of the tracks but then without going anywhere. The land changes constantly in front of my eyes and so does the temperature. In the trains in Russia they heat the wagons up to a 30 degrees and when you get out of the train in Siberia the temperature is about minus -15. The Ger-tent in wich we spend some nights in the Mongolian mountains, was heated up to 40 degrees because of the strong stoves with fire. Then at night it was freezing -15 again. These constant changes of the land and the slow passing of time bring me in a feeling of trance . I take it as it comes. Looking at the landscape and the landscape is looking back at me. Alowing me to move along like a little flee on a dogs fur.
21-03-2015 | While traveling over land I see the ways of worshipping of the people change and addapt to the environment. In Russia there is the Russian orthodox church but at Lake Baikal there suddenly were lake gods and shamans too. There also appeared a fish god. In Mongolia it was wolves that the people connected to as their spiritual ancestors and there they also worshipped the mountains. From the border of Mongolia there were all of the sudden buddhist statues. When entering into China I see the people burying their deceased under little sand pyramids and I see the taoist ying yang symbol everywhere. Just small observations crossing the land nothing big.
When we are crossing the borders the train tracks and the locomotive are being replaced. Entering into another country it feels like getting a new life with a new body. Leaving an old one behind. This transition of changing tracks and locomotive is very time consuming. We are just waiting. Unable to go outside.
The trains are worlds in itself
Worlds with rules and people who tell you how to behave, where and when you can get off. When you can sleep, eat, pee, poo and where you have to sit. With neighbours who come by to chit chat and with people who don’t like you at all and yell at you. In the beginning I expected the train to be one open timeless zone in wich I could be totally free and in which I could finally get to do whatever I wanted for hours and hours undisturbed.
But it worked out different. Ofcourse there is enough time in the train but you start looking at a time table all of the sudden to see when its possible to get off for a few minutes and breath some fresh air, you live towards these stops.
Also it is so hot in the trains that during the trip you can either sleep or gaze dreamylike into nothingness for hours and hours. This way writing and working is out of the question.
But what I did feel and experience were the slow changes of the land and the people, the smells and everything went by gradualy. Even the jetlag.
This experience was the most important to me. Gradualy feeling and looking at where i am.