Last night I went to a Georgian restaurant with Ilaria, (I misspelled her name last week as Iralia…I misspelled alot of things last week actually, sorry about that, sticky internet club key board). We saw a chinese restaurant that had English translations on the menus, “fungus and onions” sounded delicious, we’ll have to go there next time. She was excited to go to a Georgian place because she actually lived there for a few months and that’s where she met her fiancee Sarafim.
A lot of the pictures I’m posting this week are from the Holiday last Saturday “Алые Паруса”. Here is how it works, there is this story about a girl in St. Petersburg who was told that a Prince would come and rescue her from her poor miserable life, entering, not on a white horse with shining armour, but on a ship with scarlet sails. I highly doubt he ever came, but every year they make a huge production out of the re-inactment. Everyone comes out and at roughly 2 am a ship sets sail on the Neva and makes it’s way down to the Winter Palace, there are fireworks and concerts and lots and lots of alcohol. Naturally. The metro shuts down for the night like usual and the bridges are raised so you kind of have to choose a side of the bridge to be on when it goes down. Whatever you do, do not pick the wrong side.
I was supposed to meet up with friends at 10 o’clock. I went into the city early by myself to go to a book store and pick up a tour guide, and had the fortune to get lost on my way to the bus stop to meet them. When I say get lost, I mean really really lost, completely disoriented I couldn’t tell if my head was still over my feet.
By the time I figured out where I needed to go it was well past 10:30 as I drew nearer, I could see that the street I needed to pass on was blocked. I tried fruitlessly for an hour to find another way around but it was to no avail. Brunellaand I kept calling each other but by this point there was no getting through. We were both on the same side of the neva(opposite from the dorm where we live) but on opposite sides of the Winter Palace and the Russian Police were bound and determined to not let me have a good time. So it was at roughly 11:45 I found myself, alone and cold in a crowd of millions of people (millions) with no time left to get across the bridge where I would at least be able to return home. It dawned on me then that I was faced with spending the entire night by myself until I could take the Metro back at 4 am. So me and my tired feet (that had already been walking all day) wandered aimlessly through the city searching for at least a place where I would be able to watch the spectacle. I managed to find a place to stand after an hour but still had a couple hours of waiting to do. I read a little, eaves dropped, explored camera settings, and dreamed of when I could curl into bed. At last the fireworks came and I watched the ship set sail. (I was situated near the starting point South East of the trinity bridge) When “that ship had sailed” I turned quickly to walk back through the Metro. It was 2:30 I still had an hour and a half with nothing to do but wait. As I made my way through the crowd I was confronted with something I have never experienced before. I was surrounded by millions of people nearly all of which (at least 85%) had been steadily drinking for the last 5 to 6 hours. The streets were COMPLETELY covered with broken beer bottles and everywhere I looked there were people stumbling or peeing or making out. It reminded me a lot of home.
I found a spot near an entrance to an underground tunnel where there were some police situated and sat on a little embankment by the stairs. One of the policeman promptly came up to me and told me I couldn’t sit so close to the vehicle but upon further investigation, finding I was a hapless girl all on my own, took pity on me and said I could just scoot over a little bit. I did, pulled my knees up to my chest and propped my bag up like a pillow and tried to sleep. But I kept losing my balance everytime I started to doze off so eventually I gave up.
Tomorrow I’m going to see Swan Lake. So far I’ve seen Shrek 4, and the Opera Eugene Onegin. Which basically now all I need to do is go and see a soccer game and I will almost experienced the entire spectrum of Russian Culture. And I still have 9 weeks to go.
Until then – God give you health.