It is nearly four hours before our passports are returned to us, duly stamped, and the train moves again. It is past eleven and, even here -- so much nearer the North Pole -- on a summer day, the sun has set.
Our first full view of Russia must wait until next morning.
We have not been allowed out of the train for the hours that it has remained stationary at Passport Control near Naushki -- a tiny Russian town on the Mongolia-Russia border. We have also been informed that the restrooms in the trains will remain locked until the train moves again and been instructed to keep our window shut.
Trafficking illegal substances and people across this border is not uncommon, we are told.
Our compartment is not air-conditioned and does not have a fan. It becomes humid and uncomfortable. But, there is nothing we can do except sigh and wipe sweat off our faces and take regular swipes at the numerous mosquitoes.
This is not what we had imagined when we had seen and read of Siberia all these years.