MY VISITS TO RUSSIA
In 1992 I received an invitation to visit Russia, from a Russian Radio Amateur called Vladimir Klyucherov. He lived in a small town in Western Siberia. I accepted and flew to Moscow in mid June of 1992. Vlad met me at the airport and we spent a few days seeing the sights around Moscow. It was just as strange and interesting to Vlad, as it was to me, since he lived 2000 miles away in Siberia and had never been to Moscow before.
Eventually we set off for Siberia on the famous Trans Siberian Express. This is a corridor train. The class in which we travelled had four persons to a compartment fitted with four bunk beds. Bedding could be hired and was clean and ample. Each carriage had an attendant, who was responsible for everything, including providing the passengers with tea (as much as they wanted) Most passengers brought their own food. Everyone was very friendly and you soon got to know everyone else in the carriage. Russian pop music was piped throughout the train during daylight hours.
When we came to a station it was quite an event. The locals were lined up waiting for us. Displaying and hoping to sell an amazing assortment of goods. Eventually we crossed through the Ural Mountains and were in Siberia. The scene changed to mile after mile of pine forest. We crossed huge rivers and came across little settlements with herds of goats and ducks by the hundred.
Eventually we arrived at Vlads hometown Langepas. A new town hacked out of the taiga (pine forest) about 10 years ago. It is nearly all 10 storey tower blocks, district heated.
After settling in, I soon got down to a routine as far as the radio element is concerned. After breakfast I usually went round to Vlads Club Station situated upon the top floor of his local school. The children were on holiday so I had the place to myself. I set to work to transmit to all that would care to listen to an Englishman broadcasting from the wilds of Siberia. The number that did astounded me, including some from England. Most of my "customers" however were from Russia itself. They apparently were intrigued by a "foreigner" who had come to this outlandish place and could even speak Russian to them. After all, as a race the English are not noted for their linguistic abilities.
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Langepas. I made many friends. Russians are by nature very hospitable. Everywhere the best tableware was brought out the tables piled high with goodies not forgetting the inevitable vodka.
As A footnote to this story in the following year 1993 I was able to return the compliment to Vlad. He came to England and impressed everyone with his easy-going friendly behaviour and to older people especially with his politeness and courtesy.
In 1996 I went back to Langepas but thats another story, too long to tell here.