The beanie is king...
Trip Start Dec 01, 2009
13Trip End Jan 12, 2010
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Registration in hand I was now emboldened to begin using the metro. No registration makes you a prime target for police looking for lunch money (they can hold you at the police station for up to 3 hours - or just shake you down on the spot), and there are always police at metro stations. Officially they stop about 1 in 15 or 1 in 20 commuters to ask for their papers, but it seems to be happening less and less compared to last time. The St Petersburg metro, at least the inner city stations are really quite beutiful, empire blends with soviet in their decoration, and they are well maintained. They are also he deepest metro lines in the world as the have to go under the Neva River. However, it is illegal to photograph the stations without special permission
I still haven't done much beyond eat, sleep and re-acquaint myself with the city I am still hard pressed to explain whyI think of as a second home. The weather has been a kick in the pants though. Firstly, I came to see the pace covered in snow and the river, canals and the Gulf of Finland frozen over. Doesn't look like this is going to happen until January as it's been an unusually warm December. That being said, the temperature is hovering around 0 (I think -3 has been the coldest so far). The best and worst thing though has been the daylight. You don't start getting even a smattering of light in the sky until about 9:30am, then it's pitch dark at 4:30pm. In between there'sa grey, overcast twilight, which is playing havoc with the camera, and my body clock. I find myself ready for bed around 6pm, thinking that it's about 10pm. But the upside is that everything feels like you're working on bonus time, the secret extra couple of hours you get at about 2am and about 5am when it's not quite yesterday, and it's not quite today. The kind of time you have when you're at home on a rainy overcast day with nothing to do but read or watch telly
Anyway, on to the title of the blog. Fur hats are not as common as I had thought. The beanie, amongst men anyway, is king. I tried a fur hat on yesterday, but it just made my head look inordinately large (think "So I Married an Axe Murderer" - 'That boy's head is huge, it's like an orange on a tothpick!'). But dwelling on the men for a second, this whole country, well, 90% of the male population, seems to be punching above its weight. Big, fat, ugly, angry buggers walking around with girls who are impossibly cute, and so petite they look like they would shatter if they fell over. The remaining 10% look like they're actually doing the girl a favour (either through money, brians, looks, power or muscles). As for the girls though...well, Russia is not an ugly nation when it comes to the fairer sex. I don't remember them being this good looking, Maybe there's just more young people about, maybe it's just cause I'm situated in the historic centre, but they are so striking it sometimes makes you stop, unable to do anything else but wonder how anyone could have the kind of features you just saw and be real. Perhaps if I spoke more Russian my illusions would be shattered, but I suspect not.
Took the camera out on Saturday, so here's a couple of gratuitous, though really quite crappy, photos of some of the major sights. Honestly, I spent $2k on a camera, including a grand on lenses, yet the 40 year old Pentax Spotmatic I bought in a Costa Rican pawn shop with it's beaten up 135mm and 55mm lenses beats this Nikon hands down in terms of image quality. There is honestly no comparison.
The photos are just from a stroll up Nevsky Prospect, the main drag, Will add more detailed folders on my Flickr site.