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Leeds, United Kingdom
heading east...

Saturday, 19 June 2010

from russia with love.

i use that saying in jest. there's no love in russia, that's for sure.

we've been mincing our way around moscow and st petersburg for a few days and generally getting on the locals nerves. yesterday i got shouted at on the tube for being a disgrace because my jeans were too low. i don't need a russian to tell me that, but i think disgrace is a tad harsh.

that aside, there's some interesting stuff here. we checked out red square and all that guff, as well as the peter and paul fortress in st petes. its all been fairly underwhelming so far to be honest.

our first time out on the streets and we treated ourselves to a beer, assuming that it was fine to drink on the streets here, mainly because EVERYONE does. a couple swigs later the russian police have pulled up, not looking best pleased. why was this? i didn't get it either until i heard the word 'policia' from them. we were sat drinking on the steps of the moscow police station. brilliant. of all the buildings it could've been.

we've also all bought hats, as intended. russian style. they're made from real rabbits, so you know they're good.

this morning we just got back off our night train, probably the highlight of russia so far. we got one of those great old school trains with the sleeper cabins, just like something off an old Bond movie. the way there was party times, with a lot of beer and vodka. we shared a cabin with a middle aged russian guy, who was only too happy to accept a glass of vodka. thank god that stereotype is still in tact.

the journey back was certainly much more stressful. prior to this we've had nothing but trouble with the tube system here. its ridiculously complicated , and couldn't be less tourist-friendly if it tried, so i expected nothing less from the russians than to stress me out. so, here we are, ambling into the st petersburg train station twenty minutes before our train leaves, at the station we had arrived at that very morning, only to be told that the return train was now leaving from a station on the other side of st petersburg. bastards.

we high tailed it out of there and found the nearest taxi driver. did he speak english? i think you know the answer. we had to approach every person nearby to explain it to him, which luckily someone did. he drove like a madman across the city, nearly killing us and a couple cyclists on the way, before dropping us off in some dirty car park and shouting something in russian at us. apparently it was the closest he could get, so it was a lovely 5 minute run with bags to find the station (i should probably add that we had supped a couple beers and eaten our weight in burritos just prior to all this). luckily we got our night train back with 2 minutes to spare. there was little partying that night.

today we relaxed and stayed in our hostel. tonight's our last night in russia so we're going out with a bang, going to a club across town. it should be good. dangerous, but good. next time i write i'll probably be in japan, and you dont know how happy that makes me.

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