Tara and I are both grappling with a bit of Russian culture shock at the moment. Figuring out the most healthy manner in which to approach the shockingly overt misogyny and racism we've encountered here is proving to be a little difficult. It has only been two days, so we're not sure what to make of it all yet. In any case, we've been talking a lot more than we've been writing.
So, keeping it simple, here is our day in photos. This morning while I slept, Tara took some pictures of our room at Aleksandr's apartment. There are loads of these religious icons scattered about:
We both liked the old, peeling wallpaper. Especially the scraps of newspaper underneath. I hope our Russian and Cyrillic improves enough by the time we leave to make some of it out!
Here's the view, walking to the metro station from our apartment. I have no idea what this barrier is actually for, but it stretches on for quite a ways:
This is the most famous street in St. Petersburg, Nevsky Prospect. Russian is full of awesome "y" sounds that we can barely twist our tongues into making. The correct pronunciation is something like Nyyyevsky Prospyyyect.
Our visa registration agency is on this street, so it was our first destination for the day. Everything went off without a hitch; it was a relief to be fully legal. Russia, you're kind of a pain to visit!
The temperatures were still sky high; it was truly miserable to be walking in the city this afternoon. With this in mind, we kept our sightseeing to a minimum once more. Here are the quintessentially Russian onion domes of the Church of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (it reminds me of the board game Candy Land!):
Near the church, there was a mini-market which consisted mostly of souvenir stands:
Look how small these Matryoshka Dolls get!
The best part of the market was this stand, where a quiet man was selling tons of old Russian cameras. Though I really wanted to buy one, I thought better of it; we have enough camera equipment! Just as we were about to leave, a swarm of tourists surrounded us:
The guy manning the stand looked a little nervous at first. It was pretty funny, though, because every single one of the tourists grabbed a pair of binoculars or monoculars immediately! I think they wanted to see the church in greater detail.
And finally, on our way back to the apartment, we saw this street painter's nice rendition of the church we'd just visited.