My Birthday & My First Felony

9 09 2008

I woke up not even realizing I was 24 today.  To be honest, with everything else going on I haven’t really given it much though.  But here it was. 

We went into the city centre and took a bus tour.  Of course it was in Russian.  Even though I DO speak Russian, I have to concentrate to understand anything complicated and anything spoken too fast.  Whereas English, I can understand in passing alone, whether I concentrate or not.  This made listening to the tour guide and sightseeing at the same time very difficult.  I decided to stick with the sightseeing.  Meh.

We then went inside inside the Kings Palace where we pretended to be “local authentic Russians,” as opposed to tourists.  Tourists (aka foreigners) pay a premium price for tickets apparently.  Obviously, this meant keeping my mouth shut (as my accent is a dead give away) and letting my mom do all the talking. The tour guide here talked even faster.  Damn. You. Have. To. Speak. Slowly. Please.  I stuck to just sightseeing again.  Apparently, the tour guide was very good.

Then we bought tickets to the ballet for Sept 18th. YAY! Happy Birthday to me! (Again, discounted pricing for locals.  Again, I kept my mouth shut and lurked in the corner).

To round off the day we had tea and desert (aka bday cake) at a local cute Starbucks-like cafe.

Finally, we got on the metro. (If you enjoy personal space, you wont enjoy the Russian metro system.  Last time I was that close to someone, we were dating).  Stopping by at the local supermarket for food, and realizing the cashier didnt ring in my apple juice, closed the day off by having committed by first felony. (We ran away hoping she wouldnt notice).

OBSERVATIONS FOR TODAY:

  • If you’re a man and you’re over 40 and you dont have a mustache, you aint no man at all.
  • Scrunchies are cool.
  • Update to yesterdays #1: WOMEN mullets are cool too.
  • Its ok to dress in every colour of the rainbow.  I will never understand the fashion here.  Its like an 80’s couture runway show gone bad.  Can you call Stacey and Clinton and get them to tell a whole country what not to wear? (In retrospect, they probably say the same about North Americans.)




These (High Heeled) Boots Are Gonna Walk All Over You. Seriously.

8 09 2008

I will be pre-dating these posts to the date I wrote them, as I do not have computer access everyday I’m in Russia.

First, let me start of with a glance at the KLM airline.  Although I have been on many planes, I have never been on one with my own personal tv.  Reason for this being that I usually flew Zoom and similar.  We all know what happened there this past week.  No wonder they couldnt afford tvs!

I found that the KLM staff were not entirely friendly.  At the checkin the lady informed us that we were only allowed 2 peices of carry on luggage.  One being our small carry on suitcases and a purse.  Well that all fine, except that I also had a small backpack and my mom had a small duffel bag.  We ended up condesing everything with much effort in the end. However, at the boarding gate there were multiple…let me emphasize MULTIPLE….individuals with way more than what we had even originally brought with us being let through! Bah.  My mothers terror of our luggage being lost and not checking anything in was frustrating!

Aboard the flight was alright.  As expected.  Food was rice and chicken with a cous cous salad.  Movies were great since I got to choose my own.  I was unfortunately stuck in the middle seat, beside an “elbower.” Although, I cant blame him.  He was a very large, 6’4″ African American man.  Very sweet and soft spoken actually. (He helped me with aforementioned personal tv – although I felt very uncomfortable sitting beside him during the multiple nude sex scenes during my “Sex and the City” movie).

We landed at our connection destination, Amsterdam, and got herded into this little tiny boarding gate with the other passengers.  It was hot.  Very hot.  As the KLM man took my boarding pass, he also said my bad was too big (it weight 11.5 kg) and had to be checked in.  Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Even though I already had in the cabin baggage in the previous flight?

Him: Yes.

Me: Even though it says “pre-approved cabin baggage on the bright yellow sticker stuck to it?

Him: Yes.

Me: Even though my mom just went through with the exact same size bag?

Him: Yes. Mam, can you please step aside? I need to continue doing my job.

Me: Oh.

Did I have locks? No. Uh Oh.  Thanfully, it got back into my awaiting hands safe and sound and unscathed.  I cant really say anything about the 2nd flight as I slept throught it all.  All I know is that the plane was much smaller, with no tv’s and we received salad with a desert of some kind.  I still have it actually. Gross.

Anyhoo, we’re in St. Petersburg now.

OBSERVATIONS:

  • The mullet is in! And its EVERYWHERE!  Either they are really behind the times, or North American is missing this craze.  I hope we never catch up.  Maybe they are trying to rival our “fohawk.”
  • If you dont have heels, you’re a give away as a foreigener.  Also, if they don’t glitter or aren’t sprinkled with animal print, you’re also a foreigener. (I was clearly a foreigener in my spandex lululemon pants, and white Puma’s.)
  • Hell roughly translates to to “rush hour at the metro station” in Russian.  Imagine a bug on a windshield.  Now picture my face and the subway train doors.  Not pretty, eh? Bless the Toronto Tranist System.
  • You need glittery, goddy make up to compliment the high heels.  My black mascara isnt cutting it here.  I need to step up my game.
  • Lack of tourists.  Where’d they go? Is it the VISA requirements? Did we scare them away? We’re not communist anymore! We’re nice people, I swear!

I’m excited to actually see the city tomorrow.  Aside from metro station and airport that is.  OH! I almost forgot! For my loyal TORONTO readers, they have the METRO paper here too! Crazy business that is!  I wonder if its worldwide.  I’m getting my walking shoes out for tomorrow.  The black sneakers perhaps, so that I look more inconspicuous.  Besides, its my birthday tomorrow, so it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.





Twists & Turns

6 09 2008

First off, let me start by apologizing for not writing over the past couple of weeks.

As it turns out I will now be venturing to England solo in January, to be joined by my best friend Kylie in the April time frame.

In a way this makes me really nervous, as I have never traveled alone before. Because of this, I have developed insomnia. I’m definitely scared to do this trip by myself and a little sad by the change of plan. But as more and more things start to come together, the easier it becomes. Let me tell you what I am scared of: not having a place to live when I arrive, not having any friends or flatmate’s to look for a place with me, not knowing the areas where to look for a flat, not having a job. I think those are justified reasons, no? Hopefully, the program I’m participating in (www.swap.ca) will ease the pain. At least that’s what I’m paying them for anyways! But it will be a growing and learning experience – at least thats what I keep telling myself.

I recently started the paperwork for my Working Holiday Visa – all 14 pages of it. I have to go through interviews, fingerprinting, eye scans – all very James Bond like – and also very fitting.

I can’t really make this post much longer – as I leave for Russia tomorrow. Maybe by the time I come back, I’ll forget about how my heart starts racing whenever I think about living in a foreign country solo, and maybe I’ll forget about the vast amount of money that is being depleted in the process. Probably not though. At least Kylie (bless her heart) is coming to live with me in April. 4 months solo, I can do this.








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