Welcome to
A train map of Russia.
St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
Saint Petersburg  by night.
September 13, 2006

As pathetic as it sounds, it is actually me welcoming myself to this country. After all, I got far from this kind of reception from the
passport control guy. But I was far from complaining as it took him roughly only thirty seconds to stamp my passport and let me
into Russia. If Mr. Cranky Pants is going to be that efficient, I’ll take it!

It is almost scaring me how easy-peasy everything has been up to this point. Though I have to say that in this kind of place, travel
experience pays off. Here’s an example… I had two hours to get from the international airport to the domestic airport for my flight
from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Upon exiting customs, I was targeted by the taxi drivers of Moscow. They assured me that I would
have to take a taxi as that would be the only way I could make my flight (riiiiiiiiiiiight). I humored them by asking how much it
would be. Upon pulling out their rather official-looking laminated price sheets, they showed me that it would cost $50 US. After
laughing in their face, I made my way to the transit desk, found out what bus to take, paid my 15 rubles (about fifty cents) and
arrived at the domestic airport fifteen minutes later. Victory #1 for Jen!

The next challenge: getting from St. Petersburg airport to my hotel.

I got off my flight, collected my bags and found a bus that said it was going to the city center.
Perfect! It dropped me off at one of
the metro stations and I saw on my map that this station was on the same line as the metro that was closest to my hotel. Once
again, I was amazed at the smoothness of how things were going. Since I had yet to learn Russian, I just knew that I had to get off at
the fourth stop. Mission accomplished and I was now out in St. Petersburg with just me and my map. It was now time to find my
hotel. Within twenty minutes, I was at the Hotel Saint Petersburg. Victory #2 for Jen!

For such a directionally-challenged person, I was fascinated with my abilities on this day. This just goes to show that St. Petersburg
is more than suitable for independent travel.

Just don’t expect to communicate with many people…
Back to Russia.