‘ I met the first one of them near the entrance of the platform to the Moscow Express. He was a rather athletic yet flamboyant looking guy with a five-o’clock shadow, short blonde hair and very distinctive facial features like his manly jaw-line and pointy nose. I heard him playing his semi-acoustic bass and singing his songs like there was no tomorrow and people had gathered round to hear him play referring to him as ‘the Express’ as he gave quite an impressive imitation of a passing train on his road worn Fender bass and traveller’s amp. I was in such a rush to get my leather suitcase and my arse on board of the train in time that I, unlike so many others who had gathered here today in these majestic halls of old, couldn’t pay his musical performance the attention it deserved no matter how extraordinary and stirring it was echoing through the air. My main goal was to get my stuff on board, get as far away from my godforsaken country as I could and see something other of this world than rain and wind and weather.
‘ As I was rushing for the train that I thought was about to leave, being distracted by the rumbling of the bass, I wasn’t paying attention which direction I was headed and I nearly had a close encounter with the cold steel tracks that seemed to have appeared in front of me from out of nowhere. A conductor was able to grab hold of my arm to pull me back onto the platform in time. I was fine but for the shock. In a rather firm way he told me I should pay attention where I was going if I didn’t want to kill myself even before having seen anything of Russia. He had an incredible moustache hanging over his lips waving about like little arms as he was talking to me. I had to look away from him while he was talking for I would have burst out in laughter if I hadn’t. When he had finished his words of heed he was kind enough to help me board the train saying that my suitcase weighed a ton as he lifted it into the carriage. A smile appeared from under his moustache when I referred to it as my mobile home explaining that it indeed was a little heavier than I had planned or wanted it to be. With his moustache like that it felt like I wasn’t talking to a man anymore; I was talking to a rather hairy octopus stuck on the upper lip of this railway employee who was showing me the way to my cabin as the tentacles kept jumping up and down with each plosive coming out of the conductor’s mouth. We got on board at the back of the train and as it was just one long corridor all the way down to the next corridor and so on ad infinitum I could not have missed my cabin even if I had wanted to. How daft did this man with his pet octopus think I was? I thanked him for his help nonetheless wondering whether I should have tipped him as he jumped off board again to help some other travellers.