Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Part II - St. Petersburg - Bringing Sexy Back

View along Nevsy Prospekt (street described below)
We arrived in St. Petersburg mid-afternoon. We weren't quite sure what to expect at the airport however many of our fears were abaited once we saw English translations on most signs (good start). We made it out of the migration section and our first challenge was getting to our hotel. Cosmopolitain-Erik took control and actually bartered (quite fiercely, I might add) with a local driver (official taxis are almost non-existant so you literally get into strangers' cars). As soon as he pulled out of the airport drive-way, we knew we weren't in Kansas anymore...

The view from our hotel window
La ride de taxi etait une aventure en sois-meme. Nous avons appris tres vite que tout affichage, toute ligne routiere ainsi que les vois, ne sont que des suggestions. C'est une anarchie vehiculaire!!! Nous sommes arrives a l'hotel qui paraissait comme un dongeon du dehors. (On s'est presque fait lutte par l'ascenceur) Heureusement le patois "l'habit ne fait pas le moine" etait apte ici.

We decided to venture out into the St. Petersburg night for food and possibly some vodka. We started walking and soon realized that we had landed on Saturn. The cyrillic alphabet is really impossible to understand (for us anyway, at least on such little sleep). We finally found a restaurant (3 hours later) but not before consuming at least 2 beer each on the sidewalk like all the other locals and gasping several times at the unexpected beauty. The main drag, Nevsky, is a lively mix of shopping, restaurants, bars and beautiful women. Interesting observation....ALL women in St. Petersburg wear high heels.....ALL the time. And most of these heels are of the 6inch spiked heel variety. Disturbing, fascinating and interesting....all at the same time.

Finalement, a 11h30pm, nous nous sommes rendu a notre restaurant qu'Erik avait choisit. Il avait fait un excellent choix! Le "Senat" etait dans la cave d'un ancient batiment gouvernemental qui hebergeait un genre d'entrepot pour archives. Apres le caviar, le canard, le vodka, l'agneau, le chevreuil, le vodka et le vodka, nous nous sommes rendu a un petit bar quelques minutes de marche du restaurant.

One of our drinking stops. Cool huh?

Erik once again proved his awesomeness when he stopped a young local couple to ask them where THEY liked to go for drinks. They pointed us in the direction of an awesome bar called Novus. The DJ played US songs from the sixties, the beer was cold and the vokda was cheap. We had a great time! (emphasis on great). It was more than a little funny to see all the cute Russian kids dancing to the Beatles. The story goes on like this...we walk, walk and walk some more...we get lost, and an hour later we finally get to the hotel at 6am (see Natalie and Erik for further details!)


Le lendemain nous nous sommes rendu a l'Hermitage. Le muse est reconnu comme un des plus grands au monde et contient au moins 5 differents edifices. La collection d'art est remarquable, les queues pour se rendre au musee etaient tout a fait aussi remarquables! L'Hermitage se trouve dans un ancient palais royale qui est vraiment spectaculaire, peut-etre la chose la plus impressionante a date.

Erik is working IT at the Hermitage...even when on holidays.

(Chris, please feel free to use for propaganda purposes! Hahaha!)


Note to our parents:

Despite Russian plane crashes and Russian bombs...

We are still alive...barely!