Reflections on Russia

Trip Start Jun 21, 2007
1
5
7
Trip End Jul 06, 2007


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Sunday, July 1, 2007

July 1, 2007

This morning we arrived in Latvia after a very relaxing 13 hour train ride.  I think I can safely say that I could grow used to this first class stuff, especially on eastern European trains.  Today has been a day of orienting ourselves with the city.  The hotel that we found on hostel world is surprisingly nice, actually downright luxurious and will be a nice way to end our vacation.  Unfortunately for Melanie and her blackjack addiction, there is a casino inside that could put her into debt.  Riga seems to be a very nice city that I think I will enjoy.  It reminds me of Prague but with not as many people.   The people have been okay so far.  Our first native Latvian was a hag.  She was old, mean, ugly, and should be flying on a broom.  Most everyone else has been much nicer. 

Today, we just walked around the Old City and will do some heavier touring tomorrow and Tuesday.  We have just spent about three hours on the internet updating this travel-pod and letting people know that we are safe.  

                             Domed Church                Riga
Other Reflections of Russia
Mosquitos Everywhere
First of all--St. Petersburg was so nice and cool.  There was no air-conditioning in our hotel so we slept with the window open for a pleasant breeze.  Lonely Planet advises about the mosquito problem in St. Petersburg.  A colleague of mine advised about it.  We brought Off from home.  Yet did we put any on ourselves at all for the first two days in the city?  Of course not.  Consequently, I have about four bites on my back.  Melanie has about 40 on her whole body.  If you come--be sure to put on bug repellent. 

Weather and Rain
The temperature has generally been pleasant enough although there were a few hot days in Moscow, however Russia has been rainy and windy.  Bring a jacket and an umbrella and make sure you keep them with you at all times.  Also, the summer in St. Petersburg--It is still like dusk after midnight and the sun rises by 4:30 AM.

Alcoholism
It is worst than we ever imagined.  I am pretty sure that the 18 year old Volkswagen driver was drunk.  Most everyone drinks all of the time.  It makes me feel like a teetotaler.

Time
Everything takes so long to get to and complete.  Something that we would estimate an hour for becomes two.  We have not done all that we have planned, still I don't know how I would have done it differently.

I will write another travel pod entry sometime this week after exploring Riga.  
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