I’m on a Russian ferry/cruise boat called the “Princess Anastasia” sailing into Saint Petersburg, Russia. I’ve traveled through Russia once before back in 1999, just a few weeks after Putin became President.
This overnight cruise from Helsinki means “goodbye” to Western Europe and hello to the weird world that is Russia. As your 9th grade World Geography teacher no doubt learned you, the western third of Russia, west of the Ural Mountains, is part of Europe. Everything east of the Urals (Siberia) is part of Asia. You will also remember that Russia ceased being the “USSR” back in the 1990’s when they booted the Communist Party out of power. None of us saw that one coming. Now they have a democracy.
When I checked into my cabin on this Russian ferry/cruise boat I noted that the bathroom had standing water on the floor- puddles. I made a remark to myself about this being a Russian vessel, and stuck my head out into the hall to ask the cabin attendant if she could squeegee the floor dry. She advised me in her heavy Russian accent that the floor was wet because she had just finished cleaning the bathroom, and that she would not be back in that particular room again until tomorrow after I checked out. I asked if that meant that the floor was intended to stay wet until then, to which she replied “Nyet, it will dry in just a few hours, give it some time please”. Sure enough, by midnight that bathroom floor was dry. I love this place.
Sandy is supposed to meet me here in St. Petersburg today, Sunday July 23rd, if her plane gets here. Just as I was boarding this ferry in Helsinki, she called from Texas to report that her flight had just been cancelled and/or re-scheduled by American Airlines. They sent her a voice mail while she was on her way to the airport for a 9:30 a.m. flight. I’ve been out of internet & phone contact since then, but `I got a text at 4 a.m. (8:00 p.m. in Dallas) saying she was “leaving DFW”. I hope that means she’s on an airplane, but at this moment I have no idea where she is.
So, I’m really looking forward to introducing Sandy to Russia. We’ll enjoy 4 nights in Saint Petersburg, and 4 nights in Moscow before she flies back home to Texas, and I get on the Trans-Siberian Railroad headed into Siberian Russia. Let’s see how this goes.