On September 3oth HUMMEL, MONTELL and I left Stockholm on the boat for Finland. Reaching Moscow via Leningrad we met Dr ARNE, who was on his way to Russian Turkistan to go through the archaeological museums there by way of preparation for the following year's excavations in the service of the expedition.' I had a direct greeting from our Sinkiang section through our mechanic ARON CARLSON, who was now on his way home from Urumchi, where he had helped AMBOLT both at headquarters and in the field ever since December 1928.
From Moscow we had a ten days' train journey in the same carriage. On the evening of October 7th we passed Novo Sibirsk, where Herr GROSSKOPF, the German consul, whom I had known during the World War, came down to the station to take charge of four parcels that were to be forwarded to Urumchi. They contained, amongst other things, the big WILD theodolite for AMBOLT, the king's portrait and a gift for SENGTSEN GEGEN, photographic equipment and whole packets of mail for the members of the expedition in Sinkiang. Herr GROSSKOPF afterwards sent a special man with these things as far as the Chinese frontier.
To give the reader some idea of the immense distances in the interior of Asia and of the slowness of communications, it may be mentioned that the theodolite in question did not reach AMBOLT until March 11th the following year!
The usual way through Manchuria by the Chinese Eastern Railway had been closed since the appropriation of this railway by the Chinese at the beginning of July. The railway was owned and administered by the Russians, but the Chinese had driven all the Russian officials away with violence. Northern Manchuria was in a state of war, and there had been several armed clashes between Chinese and Russians. Passenger traffic was now being transferred to the much longer Amur railway, which does not touch Chinese territory, and on which I had never travelled before. On October 14th we arrived in Vladivostok.
A couple of days' voyage took us over the Sea of Japan. In Tokyo I was informed by the Swedish Minister, Envoyé HULTMAN, of all the difficulties that our eastern contingent had had to cope with, and how HULTMAN had been able, thanks to his old friendship with C. T. WANG, the Foreign Minister, to procure passports for the members of this group for Kansu and Sinkiang.
From Kobe we crossed over by boat to China, reaching Tientsin on October 25th. Here we were met by HASLUND, who had preceded us across Siberia after his Swedish visit. In Tientsin we purchased a Ford car, that we should need in the course of our impending journeys in Inner Mongolia, and continued on the same day to Peking, where we were received by LARSON. Despite the roundabout way over Japan and five rest-days, we had accomplished the journey from Stockholm in twenty-five days.
I Dr ARNE subsequently journeyed to the republics of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Qazaqstan to examine the possibilities of joint Swedish-Soviet excavations in these parts of Asia. Unfortunately, however, this plan stranded on the opposition of the Central Russian authorities.