1. Normal people would play cards. It’s just a great pastime that the whole world has in common. What my friends and I did, however, was spend most of our time arguing over whose version of Gin Rummy was better, an activity that is card-related and therefore applicable to the artsy picture above. For what it’s worth, my version is much better.

2. Drink much and drink often. But to the point of belligerence, you ask? I don’t really care. Just don’t throw up on my shit. I wouldn’t endorse this, however, because while it may be great for you, the provodnitsa works hard days and nights keeping her cabin in order, and she’s seen too many drunks in her time to even think about mopping up the mess you’ve made, at which point she’ll hand you a mop and bucket, leaving you to erase the pile of humiliation that you’ve left on her floors, the ones that were previously so clean that people would be afraid to walk on them. If you’re not into that but still into beer, it’s cool to see all of the forests suddenly blur into one giant green blob and the mindless graffiti on your wall or table suddenly become interesting. And if you have any standing in the russian language, you will speak it much better (whether you’ll actually get better at russian or just convince yourself you’re better is a point that has yet to be tested on my part, but that’s a different story). But rest assured, time will fly once you and your peers are not altogether sober. Need I mention the best part? Your bar and your bed are in the exact same place!

3. If one of your cabin-mates turns out to be a 9-year-old, you can bet that you’ll be seeing gummy bears on your TSR excursion. What can you do with these? What can’t you do!? Eat them. Squish them. Look at them. Put them into suggestive poses. Good luck with this, though, because I couldn’t even get mine standing up right. The amount of effort put behind this mediocre photo is actually very laughable, because trains are things of rickety nature and I had nothing better to do and it was Happy Hour; on this train, every hour is happy hour.

Then there are those other things you can do, sleep and talk to people, my favorite things actually. The problem with this is that no matter how hard I try, I can’t sleep all the time. And meeting new people is great and interesting and fun, but when hoards of central Asians with questionable hygiene linger and lounge and sit on your “bed” for four days, and then want to talk to you about nothing but iPod prices and American girls in broken russian, things tend to go sour pretty quickly, and I personally found myself opting for the aforementioned second ‘thing to do’. I fit well in Russia.

Blake will probably read this and so cleverly interject with, “you had even more questionable hygiene!” or something of the sort. It’s true, I’m horrifically low-maintenance, but I make up for it now by actually looking like my appropriate gender and by smelling like flowers, perfume, or baked goods 24/7.