I've arrived safe and sound back in Russia and Ulan Ude, where I am now cleaning myself and waiting for the new day to dawn in England so I can pay for a train to Chita and the Amur river.
However, my companion did not make it over the border. She was forced to pack up her things, carry them off the train, and sit in a room with a guard while I was left outside on the platform feeling guilty and pretty useless.
For the rest of the journey I had no time for a chatty archaeologist who was probably really interesting, but wasn't someone I've spent the last month with, and so I just sat reading.
As a cartoonist vampire I did of course draw/write the story of Birke being thrown off the train (I will add it to this post when next I'm in an internet cafe), but when I started doing it I didn't realise it would end with her actually being sent back into Mongolia. I assumed that patience, flexibilty and money would get us through. But no, so just best wishes to you Birke and we will see who is first back in Irkutsk. Although I would love to meet you off the train with your tent and sleeping bag, I hope you beat me in the race, because it means your escape from Mongolia will be swifter.
Travis above the Pacific, John crossing northern China, Freya with the horses, and everyone else from the camp who is now dispersed and off, lots of love, and I will still see some of you before western europe gets me back...