November 2, 2008

A break in the clouds

No real reason for posting, except that the weather was surprisingly lovely today. Of course, before noon it was bitingly cold–but there was sun! Sun! We had an excursion to the Museum of Political History of Russia, but only about half of our entire group even bothered showing up. (Hangovers, anyone?) So this, combined with our excruciatingly cold 15-minute walk to the museum from the metro made the start of the day assuredly not cool. That being said, Professor Koloninsky was his usual charming, enthusiastic self and eventually our two hours in the Museum flew by.

We ate sandwiches and pastries in a warm little bistro that reminded me of Paris. (Yes, I do eat things besides blinis!) Nice company; nice little lunch. My subway ride back home was also surprisingly pleasant. Since I’m not as paranoid on the Petersburg subway as I was a few weeks ago, I just sort of stood, sat, stood, sat, and watched people. I should have already guessed that the weather had turned nice since I noticed many more smiles than usual entering the station. No one coming into the subway seemed to be rushing. A group of soldiers (teenaged-ones) were goofing around on the escalator, playing some kind of game with coins, bouncing them off of the escalators. I should mention that the subways in Petersburg are really far underground.* This little game could have turned potentially dangerous—what with coins flying in all directions down escalators—but no one seemed to mind.

When I finally got outside, it took me a few minutes to realize that it was no longer 3℃—my senses were a little thrown off by the transition into the blinding sun. Again, sun! Even without my iPod (by which I create my own personal soundtrack to life every morning and evening on my walks to and from the University), I got a little bounce back in my step. There were three children on Ulitsa Kirochnaya, filthy from playing in a pile of dirt left over from the sidewalk construction. If the weather wasn’t so nice, I’m sure I would have seemed crazy, walking down the street laughing out loud. Oh, and I was almost hit by an eight year-old on a bike! I laughed even more. Maybe the Petersburg weather does this to people: turns them giggly. But the weather was so warm and the sun was so beautiful, lighting the buildings in patches, I’d nearly forgotten the humdrum of the morning.

I only wish I had remembered my camera!


*It’s rumored that some are up to a mile underground, since many of the subways were created as fallout shelters during the Cold War. Most of the subway stops in Petersburg take about 3-5 minutes to get to the station underground via escalator.