Things have changed

Taking the bus out to the Metro yesterday was a bit of an eyeopener. Things have really changed here in St. Petersburg in the last 16 years.

New churches. Lots of them. In clusters, no less. Older ones have reopened. (Some as museums, having been converted back from potato storage depots!) They’re cleaned, and gorgeous.

Cars. Sixteen years ago, most were Ladas (and the like), the imports were few and far between. Today, it’s almost the opposite. VWs, American cars, BMWs. SUVs haven’t really hit here yet, but I would imagine it won’t be long.

Pop music was barely tolerated. Hip hop is common here, including the window-shattering bass speakers.

Back then, you could spot us tourists very easily — we definitely didn’t look like the natives. Today, we practically blend right in.

It’s going to be a few days until I get used to this…