My favourite trains (so far)

I rarely remember my dreams. I have to wake up in the middle of them to remember what they were about, and quite often I’m so tired that by the time I can get my mental faculties together to try and remember the dream, I already forgot what it was. Which is probably good, since most of the dreams I remember make very little sense.

This morning’s dream was an exception. I was talking with someone I know (admittedly, can’t remember who it was) about trains. (Believe it or not, this is not an unknown conversation.) They asked me what my favourite train trips were, and I had said something like “whoa, that’s a tough one, let me think”. Then I started rhyming them off.

Oddly enough, that was about when I woke up … and I kept rhyming. So I figured, heck, that just sounds like a blog post!

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Football and music

Turns out that our excursion to Tinkoff to discuss politics turned into a football lesson. (That’s “football” as in how the rest of the world defines “soccer” for us North Americans.) Kat and Nick are huge fans. So large, as a matter of fact, that Kat is delaying her departure to Khazakstan so she can catch the cup game her favourite team will be playing.

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Pickpockets suck!

[This entry originally posted on How To Get Lost: Pickpockets suck!.]

I’ve had two separate and unique run-ins with pickpockets. The first was at the Edgefest concert in Vancouver back in “99. I think we were listening to Sloan at the time, and some idiot came up behind me, dragging his finger up the back pocket in a vain attempt to pop whatever was in there (which was nothing) out. I should have reacted at the time, but never having been picked before, I wasn’t sure what to do.

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Visiting the Hermitage

[This entry originally posted on How To Get Lost: Visiting the Hermitage.]

The Hermitage is if not the largest art museum in the world, definitely in the top five. The place is MASSIVE. It makes the British Museum seem like a corner store by comparison. It doesn’t hurt, though, that it used to be the palace for the Romanov family (though opened to the public in the 1800s).

After a fairly hearty Russian breakfast of bread, meat, and cheese (I’d forgotten how much I’d missed Russian cheese!), we headed out to the museum. Nord Hostel is about 100 metres from the site of Bloody Sunday, between the Winter Palace and the Army headquarters. It’s a short walk to the museum’s doors.

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Things have changed

[This entry originally posted on How To Get Lost: 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…

Back in the USSR … sorta

[This entry originally posted on How To Get Lost: Back in the USSR … sorta.]

Flew in Miami Beach BOAC,
Didn’t get to sleep last night.
All the way a paper bag was on my knee,
Man, I had a dreadful flight.
I’m back in the USSR!
You don’t know how lucky you are, boy…
Back in the USSR!
The Beatles

Didn’t really fly in from Miami Beach, though London certain seemed warm enough. BOAC is now British Airways. The flight was rather bumpy at times, but not to the point of air sickness. And it’s not the USSR anymore.

But hey, the song still sounds cool.

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