In the latter half of the fall of 2008, I took the train from Irkutsk to Beijing. It was a trip marked by contrast. The golden plains of eastern Russia gave way to the brown deserted steppes of Mongolia, which in turn descended into the dense cities of China. I would go to sleep surrounded by one culture to wake enshrouded by another. It took me some time to make sense of it. I'm still not sure I have.
This is part two of my Trans-Siberian/Mongolian trip from Moscow to Beijing: Ikrutsk to Beijing, with stops in Ulaan Batur and Da Tong.