“The Trans-Siberian”, said Mrs Kline. She was standing behind me. I didn’t hear the vacuum stop. I was staring at the booking confirmation, unable to process the information. There was a neat stack of print-outs next to the laptop. Neat in a way only Mrs Kline would make them. I looked up at her from my seat.
“Very posh”, she said and returned to her vacuuming. I clicked on the second email.
Depart: London Heathrow
Arrive: Moscow Sheremetyevo
I checked the date, then looked at my watch. Then checked the date again. Departure is the day after tomorrow.
I checked the details, my watch, the details, then the calendar on my laptop. Fuck. It was real. This is what I’d booked. I had no recollection of it. My heart started to pound in my throat. I needed a downer. I really needed a downer. I lit another cigarette and clicked back on the first email. Mrs Kline walked past and placed a bloody Mary on top of the stack of print-outs. I love that woman sometimes.
I threw the straw and the celery to one side and downed half of it, pushed the laptop out of the way and picked up the prints.
DAY 01 – Arrival in Moscow
“S Priezdom! Welcome to Moscow!” You meet your tour guides at Moscow airport and they will transfer you to the hotel. There will be time to relax before this evening’s dinner.
DAY 02 – Departing Moscow
A full day sightseeing tour which includes the magnificent Red Square, and the grounds of the world famous Kremlin. This evening transfer to the Railway station. Your private train the “Grand Trans-Siberian Express” is waiting for you to board. The first leg of the almost 6000 miles long journey to Beijing is about to commence. Welcome dinner and accommodation on-board the Grand Trans-Siberian Express.
DAY 03 – Arrival in Ekaterinburg
Evening arrival in Ekaterinburg the “Capital of the Ural Mountains” Overnight in a 4★ hotel.
DAY 04 – Departing Ekaterinburg
During the course of the city tour you will see the newly erected Cathedral-on-the-blood, a memorial erected to mark the assassination of The Romanov Family in 1918. This afternoon an excursion into the Ural forest takes you to the Ganina Yama, which today is considered by Russian as a “holy place” Then back on-board to continue your journey passing across the plains of Western Siberia.
DAY 05 – Arrival in Novosibirsk
Arrival to Novosibirsk which is situated in, the heart of Siberia. Today’s city tour includes a visit to the Opera House, which is the biggest in Russia and situated in Lenin Square. You will also have the opportunity to see some remarkable orthodox churches………………………….
Jesus! I just couldn’t take any more in. 15 Days! What about drugs?
I downed the rest of the bloody Mary and went back to my bedroom to get my phone. If anyone could help with my supply situation, it would Silk.
A few hours later, I was sitting in Union. A tacky, cocktail bar with a Cuban theme. It was Silks idea to meet here. I hadn’t been here before but was very pleased with the Cuba Libre I’d been served and the extensive collection of Tequilas behind the bar.
I had told Silk my worries but he had refused to talk about it on the phone. He text me 2 minutes after hanging up and said to meet here. Two Cuba Libres and two journeys to the toilets later, Silk arrived.
He wasn’t alone.