On the 70th day of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, I spoke to Artem, an old friend who is currently staying in the Siberian capital of Irkutsk. Artem is the owner of a small local inbound tour agency while his wife Evgenia is the company’s chief executive officer. They have two very lovely sons.
I have known Artem and his family for nearly 10 years now. We have met a few times – in Russia, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Taipei, Taiwan, and Finland – and we often chat about our travels to new places, and about life in general.
When I went on my first (and second) 9,288km-long Siberian railway trip, Artem was our guide throughout the 12-day journey from Vladivostok to Moscow. He made sure to take care of all our needs and requests, no matter how big or small.
Artem had a few surprises in store for us too during the trips too, like arranging for ethnic welcome…