This is a diversion from my blog theme, but it’s a Quack item I need to get off my chest. This terrible war between Russia and Ukraine has prompted me to revisit this image and reflect.

I took this photograph in 1978 while travelling through the far east of Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway. It is important to note that this rail segment was quite close to the Chinese border.

Sino-Soviet Relations

At this time, China and Russia were not on good terms. Google it.


I was aware of the potential implications of taking this photo, so I surreptitiously stood back in my compartment hoping no one could see me. My Australian and Japanese travelling companions were the onlookers in the picture. All of these elements added to the moment of me being a world traveller.

I still wonder…

This backpack trip around the world was beyond imagination for me. Note my post about my most bizarre dining experience.


Putin and Xi are meeting on friendly terms regarding Ukraine as I post this. The political irony is something else. I’m not commenting further, but there is a pattern of politics emerging that bothers me.