Week 4: Time passing by so fast … 

After a busy week 3 and saying goodbye to Helen in style on monday, i did wonder what the next week would bring about. It didn’t disappoint so much i can say upfront.  

First up, i met felix on tuesday. He is the cousin of my very good friend and long standing blog follower ioana. I owe her my career in equity research for it was her who sent me a bloomberg news story in 2006 that morgan stanley was looking for a new german banks analyst. The chemistry with felix was immediatly very good, as he picked me up from sadovaya station. I had been in the pub before with mario (italy) and julie and to write the last blog, so i was  in good spirits. 

Felix is a rugby player and now manager of a st pete based rugby team. He also designs sportswear. We went to rubinshtein street and picked the fiddlers green pub to get going. Hours of fantasic conversation ensued ranging from life in norilsk (where he is from), over rugby, travelling all the way to karl marx and ‘das kapital’. After a really tasty shawarma (appearantly from st petes best place just off nevsky) we ended up on the fontanka embankment some early morning hour before i retreated home. He promised to take me to a match in september. Cant wait. And thanks for the t-short man!

Wednesday i missed the first lesson for my alarm didnt work given empty iphone and so i only got to school at 11am. Felix was still in dreamland. The day went by slow, but i felt good to have gone to school anyway. A good stolovaya lunch helped the recovery immensly. After school we went to the pub with julie, yuan and briefly yuan’s husband. Best part was a huge rainbow over the city after (yet another) shower. Then the usual catch up with the inlaws and alex. He was busy working in his fantasy magazin, which he had setup and let me practice my russian shopping vocabulary that daria to taught us a week earlier. Funny.

I got home 11:30 or so and figured that was it for the night. But then the funniest thing happened. I played some reggae music from my balcony, as i often do when i sit there, and watched people dancing to the tunes on the street. Landlady not so happy about it. well, she and in particular her friend or girlfriend are most of the times grumpy anyway (a russian thing it seems). I decided to take up the invite of a russian couple to join them and see the bridges opening. With full blast music we made our way down griboyedova canal. Many people were out for it was 2 august – the day of airborne troops. Always nice to see the bridges, meet new people and hang out in st pete. I am finding the summer nights rather good compared to the summer days. We even took a dip into the neva river though just briefly given water isnt the best and the strong currents. Again home late! 

Next morning was ok and i almost got to school on time and well before our two new italian students who had a seemingly big night out themselves. The day was sunny and so nothing should stand in the way of our visit to katya, hadley and max near the finnish sea. I met larisa and alex around 4pm and we took the train from staraya derevnia to sestroretsk. Hadley picked us up, but since he was still busy we first went for a walk with dog kiera along the coast. Loads of kite surfers made for an interesting scenery, i practiced russian with larisa (who helped me with my homework i the train already) and then had a fantastic bbq. Hadely has some skills here no doubt. 

Alex was busy with dog kiera who even listened to his commands (knowing there was a treat in it for him). They looked like a couple really. By the end of the evening, Alex managed to get the dog so tired that he wouldnt even wiggle his tail anymore – it just hang there. Never that from the dog who on good days could provide enough circulation for an office with his tail moves.

At some stage the topic of the farm came up. Larisa isnt the biggest fan of the idea to say the least and thinks village people lack culture etc. As it turns out, she used to live in one of the more rural villages (вязье) where hadely/katya operate a dairy farm. Appearantly a very poor, but beautiful region. Even larisa agreed. a decision was made that i should spent a week of my farm experience there. Sounds interesting.

Friday morning started well relaxed and the weekly school test went quite well. Sadly, we had a mass exodus of fellow students with yuan, julie and koichi leaving and collecting their well earned certificates. 

We headed again to dickson’s after school where i had the chance to talk a little more with koichi. Nice guy. Looking forward to meet in tokyo one day. 

I didnt stay overly long and headed home before meeting anna for dinner at due gastrobar. Nice place and the sister restaurant of tartarbar, which i visited 2 weeks earlier. We had quite a few starters that fikked the belly and set us up for the night out. I brought my UE boom box along for i find that in st pete in summer many people party outdoors. Music on! 

It was good we started early for i had agreed with viktor to meet early saturday to head to their dachia in the north of st pete. On the way we did all sorts of shopping from a new bbq (mongol) to vegies from the market and drinks. The weather was, as so often, mixed. Rain and sunshine alternated all day. Still, the freedom such a places in the countryside gives is great. Even more so with nice shashliks and a steamy session in viktor’s banya (russian sauna). Beating each other with birch branches naturally included.

Sunday was much of the same though early afternoon i left for the city (after eating loads of garlic with salo – basically pig fat). Zenit was hosting spartak moscow – a game not to be missed. First issue thought was transport. I decided to hitchhike with an armenian guy to the closest metro. From there it was easy to petrogradskaya and the infamous corner pub. Daniel, yuri and a few of their friends already waiting.

The game was brilliant. Great choreoraphies from the fans, firework and a 5:1 win against the reigning russian champion. Zenit had 5 shots on goal and made it 5 out of 5. The midweek loss to an israeli team all but history. Given the late start of the game and difficult transport, i decided to crush on yuri’s couch. He’d take me back to the dachia monday late morning for a repeat banya & shashlik session. School drew the short straw. But thats life! 

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