On Thursday, wandering around the Petrograd Side, I discovered a library for the blind. Russian infrastructure doesn’t tend to be very accomodating of handicapping conditions, so I was pleasantly suprised to find it.


I guess not everybody gets it right away. The note above the bell says “LIBRARY FOR !!!THE BLIND!!!”


Yesterday Kostia and I walked to the 300 Years to St. Petersburg park. We stood in a long line of teenagers at the nearby grocery shop to get some canned cocktails for our stroll. I said that they should have called the shop “Puberty”, rather than the microbrewery I wrote about a few posts back. When we got to the park, we saw this painted on the sidewalk near the entrance:


“For those going swimming, the addresses of the infectious disease hospitals are on justsay.ru” (Actually that’s a pretty cool site, I just had a look at it.) The graffiti artist is referring to the fact that only one of the city’s 25 beaches is currently considered safe to swim at.

We weren’t planning to swim, so we weren’t deterred by that, but we were deterred by some rather ominous clouds that were rolling in. We decided to abandon the stroll in the park and head to the Mercury shopping mall. You can see the ominous clouds in the picture below, as well as one of Kostia’s favorite buildings, an example of wacky early-post-Soviet architecture:


We waited out the storm in Mercury, then headed home. On the way, I noticed that the sign for the gas/petrol station behind the mall hardly had any Russian words on it.


If I were Lyudmila Verbitskaya, I’d be more concerned about something like this than about yokels pronouncing words wrong. Not that I like those “language purity” types either, but I mean, this sign is not in a tourist area, and it’s not even bilingual, it’s monolingual English — are people expected to speak foreign languages (and read different alphabets) in order to fill their tank and get a hot dog in their own country? Down with American cultural imperialism!