A close encounter with a bear at the airport

A mining engineer’s trip to Siberia

AMC’s HR team interviewed Casey Neave, Senior Mining Engineer, Perth office about his recent trip to Siberia, Russia.

Q. What was the most surprising thing you saw or did in your most recent trip?

My last trip involved some lovely scenic flights through Siberia, Russia. The most surprising event from that trip took place on my way home to Perth from Taksimo Airport, Buraytia. A young man came through the airport scanners with a large box with some holes it the top of it and it was making some scuffling sounds. I think that we all thought it was a puppy or a cat, however when he opened the box up prior to boarding it turned out to be a tiny little bear cub! (which went on to stay in the box on his lap, for the entire 2 hour flight)

Q. How long did it take to pick up some of the language?

I have been quite fortunate to have had some excellent translators for my recent trips to Russia and it actually only took a few weeks to pick up the basics (and ordering food!) Apparently my Australian accent also means that when I say ‘water’ in Russian it sounds very much like ‘vodka’. I received some very funny looks when i tried to purchase water by myself!

Q. What was the scariest moment?

Even just thinking about it gives me goose bumps. As long as I am lucky enough to be alive I will never ever be able to forget just how scary, ominous, shocking and overwhelmingly bewildering it was the first time I walked outside to discover it was colder than -47 degrees centigrade. Only my nose and ears were more shocked.

Q. What were the locals you met like?

I have found the Russian locals to be very friendly, welcoming and hard working. Just like regional Australia it’s always nice to find a few great personalities in remote regions and I certainly met a few characters over there.

Q. What was your favourite meal?

I was fortunate enough to be able to have eaten in some very fine restaurants in Moscow and Irkutsk but my favourite meal experience so far, (and I hope to be dining there again shortly) is a lovely café in Taksimo that serves the most delicious meat dumplings in a lovely dill broth. For the bargain price of AUD$2.20!

Q. What was the strangest thing you ate?

I did have some delicious raw Omal fish that the locals eat near Lake Baikal but the strangest thing I ate if I am honest was a New Zealand pie in Irkutsk (middle of Siberia). I had initially thought it strange seeing some New Zealander’s in the middle of nowhere, but actually the really strange part was tasting what they had put in the ‘pies’.

Q. Where would you revisit? Would you ever move to any of those cities?

Moscow was amazing and I could definitely live there. I would love to visit the East on a non-working holiday a bit more also. Sadly I have not had the opportunity to visit St Petersburg but I hope to at some point. The locals there tell me it is an amazing city to see.

Q. Is there anything else from your trip you would like to share?

If you ever have the opportunity to travel to Russia for work, fun or world cup matches I would do so. It is a beautiful place.