Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dobreyden from Russia

I am here! It is so exciting!! OK, so things started not so wellbecause after waiting for hours in Frankfurt I finally had to make itto the boarding gate. I waited until the last minute for boarding andI never saw Chrissy and Gustav, so I assume they missed the flight.

Anyway, after a 2 hour flight I got to St. Petersburg without problems, and found that everybody at the airport speaks English. Nice. The was a Bankautomat after you go through costums, so I got out 10,000 rubles (about $350) and got ready to step into the world.

I was thinking on taking the bus and then the metro, but it wasalready pitch dark when I finally came out of the terminal, and it wasraining. So, I took an airport taxi for 700 rubles (about 25 dollars).Alas, the driver didn't speak English, so I practiced my Russian (whatlittle I have) and realized that this is going to be tougher than Ithought. The 20 km ride to the city was wet and a bit dark, as it goesthrough the industrial part of the city. The temperature was fine(about 45 degree Farenheit), but there was light rain.

I got to Alexander Haus, which is a proud member of the Small LuxuryHotels group. Indeed, Gustav seems to have found the most expensive hotel in all of St. Petersburg! The people are real nice, however, soI am just going to take it like a man and wallow in luxury :)

After I got settled (all of 2 minutes) I decided to go for a littlewalk. The rain had stopped, and my new orange jacket was toasty warmso I did enjoy myself quite a bit. The streets are a bit dark, and thewet weather cuts on the evening stroll, but I saw plenty of olderpeople walking their dogs, families with kids walking through thepark, and quite a few young people hurrying to do the days shoppingbefore heading for home. The fashion amongst young women is tall,leggy, and skinny. Add to that super tight pants, boots with styletto heels, a trendy jacket, and a funky "cap", and you have the perfect image of what is trendy in St. Pete these days. The "caps" remind meof the tight "helmets" that the flappers wore in the 1920's, but theyhave the advantage of covering the ears from the chilling wind.

I stopped at a little 24-hour supermarket, where I bought "pivo"(beer), some herring in a cream sauce, bread, and clothes detergent. Oh, I also bought a pear, but I didn't know I had to weigh it, so thevery patient cashier had to call a colleague to do it for me. These silly foreigners!

After my transaction I came back to the hotel, and I am ready to havea snack, wash clothes, and then watch a B-movie in Russian while I have my supper.
All is well in the eastern front!

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