My epic journey from Hong Kong to Russia

Where is Sochi (Russian: Сочи)? If you search it online, from Google Maps to Wikipedia, you will soon realize that it is located in the southern part of Russia, north to the border with Abkhazia and on the Black sea coast (source) It is also one of a few Russian cities in the subtropical climate and that could be the reason for the enormous amount of Russian tourists during summer.  

My route will start with an international flight to Moscow, followed by a domestic flight to Krasnodar, the administrative center of the region. From what I learn online, the distance between Hong Kong and Krasnodar is 4439 miles (source), across the continent of Eurasia. I have to make a stop in Krasnodar and report to the migration office for my 90 day visa. Then I will take the express train from Krasnodar to Sochi. In other words, my 7151 miles epic journey would take 48 hours.

When I was first on board, a Russian passenger, whose body was huge, stepped closer and closer to me. “zheshi nidi zuowei [Is it your seat?] (這是你的座位嗎?)” He said, “nidi piao diaozai dishang liao [Your ticket is on the floor.] (你的票掉在地上了)” I was surprised not only because I was on the wrong seat, but also his initiative and fluency in Mandarin. I kept apologizing in English and he replied with a big smile. “budajin [Nevermind.] (不打緊)” he said, and he seemed to enjoy the chance of practicing his Mandarin to a native speaker (although I am only the native speaker of Cantonese but not Mandarin).

There was a German sitting next to me after I changed my seat. He told me that he just concluded his gap year in China, working as a language instructor. He looked surprised when he learned about my 3-month residence Sochi, a Russian city which was rarely known among the international audience. “What an adventure!” He said, “I wanted to go Russia but I just didn’t find it safe to live there.” He added: “I have to say, though, before I went to China, I didn’t find it safe too but I fall in love with the country now.”

Would it be the same story of my journey in Russia?

Conversation with a German on Aeroflot flight


About Brian Yeung

Growing up in Hong Kong, pearl of the orient, I have been exposed to many cultures throughout my upbringing, from Sushi to British Top Talents and Tetris. And yet, after my stay in Europe, Russia and Southeast Asia for study and work, I realise a lot of cultural perception and presentation are just myths and stereotypes. Exploring the real accent of a particular country and its culture becomes my agenda of traveling. I value travel as a way to discover the diversity of life choices. After all, life is just the consequence of our many life choices; the one who is aware of its diversity is the luckiest person alive.

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