Yup, I’m on my way back from lovely St Petersburg. We got up at 3am (GMT+3), flew out at 6:30am (GMT+3), flew to Frankfurt (got there 7am GMT+1), waited three hours (10:30am GMT+1), few to LA (1200; GMT-8), and now I’m waiting for NZ5 to take me back home, which leave 2300 (GMT-8). So at the moment, I’ve been up for 23 hours on about 4 of sleep.
My head is spinning. I have no concept of what day it is, what time it is (even tho my phone tells me) etc. I’m very glad I didn’t do with my original plan to rent a car and drive around LA for the day. That could have gone SO wrong.
I’ve been awake for more than 24 hours, and once I get to 36, past experience has shown that I basicly just crash. With any luck, that will be AFTER I get on the plane :)
St Petersburg was fantastic. Lovely city, lovely people, lovely vodka ;–). No bears walking down the street (pity, I would have maybe liked to see one ;–)). When we got there, it was quite warm (about the same as wellington at the moment). By the time we left, it was mid-winter-in-wellington temperature. No surprise it gets to -25C there in the middle of winter. I got to see stuff I’ve never seen before (eg, original picaso/DaVinci/Michaelangelo stuff, massive historical buildings, huge churches, etc), and hear a language I’ve only heard when learning it, spoken by native speakers. That makes SO much of a difference.
On that, for most of the two weeks, 90% of people around me were not speaking English, which is an interesting thing for my brain to adjust to. Both the spoken and written language is totally foreign. By then end of the two weeks, my brain had switched into thinking on both Russian (which my conscious brain can’t understand) and German (which it mostly can). It was an interesting situation. It’s still messing with me, in a mostly good way. The little Russian I learned at school WAS actually handy – mostly in reading the alphabet, some basic works, and pronunciation – I had quite a few comments from the locals that I didn’t have an accent when I was saying Russian words (ie, I sounded Russian), and that I could say some words which non-Russian’s just can’t get right. Nice. Thanks Peter Paterson for the good grounding :)
The local people – taxi’s, shops etc – were very accommodating. A lot of people there speak at least basic English, and hand signals and a little patience gets us the rest of the way – even enough to work out the taxi was going to charge us more because of the traffic. All good.
[Picasso, Michaelangelo, Da Vinci (all in the Hermitage); part of the 7000sqm of mosaic’s in the Church of the Spilt Blood]
[Hermitage; one of the rivers next to the church; Fountain River]
[Nevskij Prospect at night; one of the big churches; the elevator down to the subway, which is about 40m below ground]
[Panoramic view of the city from the gym in the hotel]
In the continuation of Leonie and my “experiments” (more observations) in abundance, I’ve been trying it out here – eg giving up my (4 person) table in the resteraunt in LAX to a couple with a baby (I ended up on a 2 seat table, which was fine), as well as pointing out to a bored kid that the people in the lounge loan out PSP’s on demand….. and what do you know? My day has gotten a WHOLE lot better. I’m attracting good things and nice people. The headache I’ve had for the last 12 hours or so is on it’s way out, I’ve managed to get some work/research done, and I’m about to watch Lost….. Call it karma, call it abundance, law of attraction, “pay it forward” – whatever. It’s working for me – and I guess those who I “touch”…. All good.
Now, about that upgrade…… :) 5 more hours here, then 12 + 1.5 + 1 and I’m home. Yay!