|Vladivostok Train Station, where my Trans-Siberian journey began|
Since I travelled east to west, Vladivostok to Moscow, against the traditional tourist route, there were virtually no other non-Russians on the train - in fact, I didn't meet any at all! That meant if I wanted to talk to anyone, I had to get out my Russian phrase book and use some pidgin Russian with their reasonably limited English. And this bunch of Moscow children were the ones who understood my poor Russian the best! We played cards and chess and the older ones tried to ask me questions, some of which I was able to answer. Later, I discovered one of the parents was able to speak quite good English and I found out much more about them.
In other words, the Trans-Siberian to them was just a slow (and apparently fun, even for these energetic boys) way to get across the country, which just happened to be a really, really big country. They would have had no perception at all that it was a grand, exotic adventure, something I'd dreamt of for years. If I'd been able to explain that, they probably would have found it hilarious. For them, spending a week on the Trans-Siberian was basically the same as me spending an hour and a half in the car going from Perth to Mandurah for the weekend as a kid.
And that's one of the strange things about travel, isn't it? Pretty much wherever you go and whatever you do there - excluding, perhaps, proper extreme stuff like bungee jumping! - is exciting and new to you, but banal and ordinary to someone else.
|The tracks of the Trans-Siberian|