You are currently browsing the daily archive for 8 October 2007.

It seems I only really have the time and inclination to blog on Monday mornings. These days I’ve got a work schedule which is quite nice in some ways – the weekend begins at 10.15 a.m. on Fridays and ends at 5 p.m. on Mondays. But in between I work from early morning to late evening, so there’s no time for blogging. I spend Friday and Saturday recovering, and on Sunday there are better things to do. So below are a week’s worth of blog posts; perhaps regular readers ought to read just one per day, because there won’t be any more til next weekend at least.

Here are some pictures from a square in the north-east sector of St. Petersburg. I haven’t spent much time in this part of town before, but now I’m teaching four lessons a week at a company located there.

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The banners are imploring St. Petersburg governor Valentina Matvienko to return the square to the people. I’m guessing that the blue construction barrier you see in the photo is guarding a construction site that used to be a park.

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“At the smell of gas, call” (the gas company, presumably). There’s a similar public service announcement in another part of town which I’ve always wanted to take a picture of. It’s on top of a fire station and says “Don’t allow children to play with matches”.

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When I was in Sweden in August I got a free academic calendar from the student union. This keeps me abreast of important Swedish holidays, like cinnamon bun day last Thursday. Having already noted the presence of frozen Swedish cinnamon buns at O’kay, I finally had an excuse to buy them. Kostia and I had en riktig fika! (A proper coffee break.)

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Awhile ago I promised more pictures from the weird (but really nice) park near our house:

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Another thing I did the weekend before last is visit the Moomin exhibtion they were having at Gostiniy Dvor. As an exhibition there wasn’t much to speak of – big posters of the Moomin comic strip in Russian translation and a few display cases of Moomin merchandise, none of which was actually on sale, but the guest book was quite touching, and I photographed many pages of it. Here are two of my favorites: 

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“Hi Moomin – Hi Bear”, written in “Albanski” (Wikipedia calls it “Preved“, perhaps to be more politically correct), what Russian internet users call the intentional misspelling of words for comic effect, an interesting phenomenon. “Hello Bear” (Preved medved) was one of the original Albanski catchphrases.

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“Thank you to the Jansson family for our happy childhood!”

Around St. Petersburg there is an array of small towns which have historical significance and imperial palaces in differing states of repair. The most popular for tourists is Peterhof, mostly because of the grounds and fountains, but the most popular palace is the Catherine Palace in Pushkin, with its celebrated Amber Room.  However, going in the palace is expensive and requires waiting a long time, I’ve already been several times, and Kostia lived in Pushkin for five years as a student, so we just went to Pushkin for a change of scenery and a nice stroll. That day everyone in St. Petersburg had the same idea – we had to wait a long time to get on a marshrutka (minibus) out of the city. But it was worth it.

(as usual, click to enlarge)

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This is not the Catherine Palace, but the Alexander Palace, which has not been restored to the same level of gaudiness.

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Lots of people had made themselves crowns of leaves. I wanted to make one too, but I didn’t know how. I almost got up the guts to ask a stranger, but then chickened out.

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In the town of Pushkin there are some city blocks where you could imagine you were in Western Europe, not Russia. These newly-constructed houses are a far cry from the concrete tower blocks going up everywhere in St. Petersburg proper.

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Back to reality. Nice flames, dude!

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Arriving back in St. Petersburg, a football (soccer) match between Zenit (SPb) and Spartak (Moscow) had just ended. We saw a remarkable number of people wearing Spartak red instead of Zenit blue, and the next day I saw this pro-Spartak graffiti. Maybe the fact that the game was on a Saturday afternoon made it easy for lots of Spartak fans to come up just to support their team. Muscovite invasion!

Eeek, I haven’t posted since the McDonald’s post, perhaps leaving readers with the impression that McDonald’s is like, a super important part of my life. After I posted it, Kostia said, “you wrote about McDonald’s and you didn’t write about our trip to Pushkin yesterday?” So I wanted to post some photos from Pushkin, as well as lots of other photos, but something’s up with the internets at this moment and I can’t see any of the photos I’m trying to upload. So instead, I’ll write something I’ve been meaning to write that doesn’t involve photos, and try to post the photos later.

You may recall that a few weeks ago I wrote about making a donation to Planned Parenthood in my hometown. Since then I added them to my “Take Action” links. I also ran across this post in the BitchPhD archives, which gives a really nice personal account of why Planned Parenthood is so great, and why those who protest against it are stupid and/or evil. It made me even more glad that I made that donation.

Update: another brilliant post from BitchPhd on Planned Parenthood.

About This Blog

I'm an American who started blogging when I moved to Russia in 2004. Eventually I moved to Sweden, where life is pleasant but uneventful, and stopped blogging for lack of interesting things to say. And then I joined Facebook, which further destroyed any motivation for blogging. Maybe someday I'll start blogging again, but for now, this blog is dormant, an archive of The Russia Years: 2004-2008.

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