last day in St. Petersburg
happens to be a day that clearly reminds me of why I LOVE traveling so much.
Every single thing you do in an unknown country is unknown. There is no such
thing as "boring" or "mundane." Finding your way, taking a
bus, ordering food, even crossing the street, can be an adventure. For example:
The Bus Incident
I felt that I was actually getting the hang of getting around by bus. Keep
in mind that when I say "bus" I really mean "beat up old
mini-van." Think of a small van that has squashed in several rows of
oddly-facing seats, where they routinely cram 15 or more people inside. I'd
finally been able to figure out how to flag down the driver, and yell when I'd
like for him to stop. But today was the first time that I'd tried to get inside
when it was fully packed. I stopped while stepping into the back, to reach over
the front seat to pay the driver my 17 rubles. But the people behind me started
yelling at me. (Russian sounds much harsher than it is, I believe.) They
pointed for me to take my seat, so others could load on as well.
watched as the others passed their money from person to person, and the driver
managed to dodge traffic, take money and make change, all at the same time.
Impressive. By the end of the day, I was a pro at it too, even being the guy
who would take money from others and hand it to the driver. (Note: That would
never work in the States, as I suspect only half of the money would ever make
it to the driver!)
I stopped at the 6ahk to go use the 6ahkomat and get more rubles dispensed.
You figured it out, right?
Cabbage Rolls - Yum!
Another adventure was stopping at
the "Pectopah" and trying to order food using only a phrasebook. Of
course I was able to order borsch (though it came with meatballs this time -
good!). And then I ordered something like "she mee-nee" or something
like that. That was my way of putting two words together for
"cabbage" and "dumplings." Somehow, she
understood, and I soon received some excellent cabbage rolls stuffed with meat
and rice. Yum, yum yum! It was almost as good as my Grandmother used to make! I
guess my Slavic heritage had been screaming out for some good ol' "soul