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Special Memories … by Train.

Most veteran train travel enthusiasts have at least one or two stories they like to tell about special moments that have occurred while they have been en route somewhere by train. I know there is one incident I’ll never forget. 

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I woke up at dawn one morning on an excursion train going from Moscow to Beijing. The train was stopped, so I raised the shade and peered out the window. We had been told the night before that we would be crossing  part of the Gobi Desert . . . and there it was, stretching to the horizon.

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But directly in front of me, not more than 20 or 25 yards away, just outside the train’s shadow and illuminated by the early morning sun, was a man—dark skinned, bearded,  cloth turban wrapped casually around his head, and he was draped in a flowing yellowed robe. And he was he was sitting on a camel. A sensational photograph begging to be taken!

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I scrambled into my clothes, grabbed my camera, and headed down the corridor to the end of the car. The exterior door was open and a simple metal bucket had been placed upside-down on the ground—a makeshift stool.

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Alas, my man-on-camel photo was not to be. He was gone. Instead I turned and snapped a shot of our train in almost silhouette  by the early morning sun.

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This was a private train operated by the Lernidee Company with several hundred passengers divided into three groups, according to language preference: German, Spanish or English. A high-priced luxury train, the Golden Eagle Express, follows the same route. It’s a great deal more expensive, so let your budget be your guide. But it really is the trip of a lifetime.

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This new book by Jim Loomis is a quick and easy read, full of interesting information about Hawaii that most people don’t know and are surprised to learn:


• There were actually two attacks by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor during World War Two


• There were real cowboys working on ranches in Hawaii *before* there were cowboys in Texas.


• Outdoor advertising (billboards) has been illegal in Hawaii for 100 years.


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