A friend and I travelled from Irkutsk in Russia to the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar in the summer of 1992. We thought we’d booked tickets on the Trans Siberian Express but by mistake ended up on a train filled with smugglers who tried to stash some of their goods in our cabin.  The train stopped at the border for about 7 hours as a large and scary female train attendant dragged smugglers off the train by their hair. We saw no military equipment at the border until the call of nature prompted us to climb a hill in search of a private spot, only to discover a small arsenal of military hardware, including tanks on the other side. When we arrived in Mongolia we were amazed by this vast open country where even streets in the capital looked out onto mountains and livestock regularly wandered in. Click on a picture for a slide show with captions.


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