Saturday, March 6, 2010

3/5: St Petersburg: every visit is reminiscent but unique

Our trips to St Petersburg usually start similarly. We visit with Aunt Maya - often at her flat which generally includes a cat nap for me - but this time at a downtown cafe for everyone's convenience. Maya is completely befuddled by her CD and DVD players - probably unable to play any since the last time we showed her how - so a visit (and nap) to her place is still in our near future.

Photo of Maya with Olga wearing my hat -->>

We need to register me at the post office. This is a 2-hour process that involves filling out forms in duplicate with no errors or crossouts, making the same amount of packing slips, photocopying the forms and passports, and mailing it all to a local office that most likely won't process any of it until after I have already left, if even then.

No trip to St Petersburg would be complete without snacking on pieroshki at a local bakery cafe. We snuck a few in the afternoon at the risk of ruining our appetites later. This is our little secret excursion as, in typical Russian style, our afternoon meeting failed to materialize.

The trip to the market to pick up water and cookies is essential to prevent a grumpy Davey. It is possible to filter, boil, and chill tap water - but who has that kind of patience?

We have dinner with friends Kostya and Polina at a curiously aviation and orchestra themed restaurant called Rubinstain. Despite the name, they don't serve Jewish food - not even Reubens. The menu is in Russian and French (the language of the orchestra?), so it's fun trying to guess what things like "legumes passee" and "potage d'oignon" are.

We end up at Olga's brother Kostya's new photo studio/gallery Monochrome Loft, a sprawling complex in black and white of intricate shutterbug equipment suspended from the ceiling for taking photos in every conceivable angle and method.

I fall asleep in the car on the way back to Olga's parents place, a peaceful end to a great first day.

Please enjoy Olga's take on our first day reunited in SPb

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