☼ ○ ▬
I’m stuck in a different country, hard to tell which one. I’m sworn into an American volunteer group that helps poor children. But things take a dramatic dark turn. It’s understood our land vehicles have been equipped with bombs that will go off any minute. My fellow leader that resembles the actress Sandra Bullock insists that we stay with the vehicle no matter what to show honor and commitment. We all gather around and hold hands. Nothing happens. None of this makes sense to me. I grab her hand and in an assuring voice say, “We don’t need to be martyrs. Maybe now’s not the time.” So we disperse. But up the hill are various soldiers and strangers marching in our direction ready to seize us. From a distance a cop tries to shock me with a Taser gun but I avoid it somehow. Eventually I’m being led by a boy teenager who seems hospitable enough even though he’s probably not supposed to be. He’s confused as to why I’m so calm. He kind of leaves me and I realize it’s on purpose to test me. I crawl on my hands and knees along the grass through a long line of big construction machines. They slowly drop their mechanical arms in such a way that if I don’t move along I’ll be killed. I keep moving at a quick pace. I make it to a long foggy stretch of field. I’m greeted by another boy teenager with glasses. I’m taken to a warehouse room where boxes are being sorted. Maybe this is a drug operation. The other boy is here too. I realize I’ve been chewing on a diamond-shaped piece of glass this whole time. Proud of my possession I show it off to my new partners.
▬ ○ ☼
Waking up just after 10:30 a.m. The jetlag is still wearing off but has opened up an opportunity for me to awaken earlier, something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time now.
Honey and Peanut Butter Bagel, an Orange, and Orange Juice.
It’s Easter Sunday. Jesus has risen, but I’m still going to China Wok for an all day work shift.
For the first two hours or so it rains. It feels like the city is revitalized now. It smells fresh.
Hard Boiled Egg, Five Guys French Fries with Ketchup, and Honey Green Tea.
While driving around I think about Aysena’s face, more specifically her infamous sad face, the frown of the century, and those few sporadic freckles on her face that resemble a connect-the-dots page.
On the down time I read this article about a genius physicist who fell in love with a young woman online and was caught smuggling drugs unknowingly, a wildly humorous, suspenseful, and slightly tragic story.
My bosses are eating Chanello’s pizza today. They normally eat the same foods daily but for some reason today they decided on pizza.
The day continues quite steadily.
Emily Hill drops by to visit. I was surprised to get a text from her. She happened to be at the beach trying to kill some time.
While waiting at the First Colonial/Laskin Rd stoplight one of those big 4x4’s pulls up behind me. His blinding bright headlights of course shine through my mirrors making my eyes squint. This is a typical scenario with any 4x4 trucks of this kind. Their height is just high enough to flash right into my eyes. It’s a pet peeve of mine, as I’m sure is anybody else’s. But this guy actually shuts off his headlights altogether during the wait to turn green as a kind gesture. I’m in shock. I’ve never come across a considerate truck driver. Most of them are so oblivious and too egotistical to think about the other drivers around them.
Finally off work after what seems like a long day.
Hot and Sour Soup with Broccoli, Rice, and a Beer.
Sleep 2:30 a.m.
[i] Mona Lisa Connect the Dots by Thomas Pravitte.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 12:55 PM
Waking up at 10:40 a.m.
Strawberry Toaster Pastries. Orange Juice. Banana.
All day shift at China Wok.
It’s a warm day in March. I think I even take off my jacket at some point.
When interacting with Aysena online, and especially when writing messages back and forth, sometimes she comes up with interesting sentences. Here’s something she said while critiquing the photos I recently posted from Russia: “Let’s hide my beauty from other’s eyes. Put me in gold jail.” Haha. Without even knowing it she’s composing great American poetry.
Mesquite Almonds. Edamame Crackers with Hummus. Tea.
Having a nice lengthy phone conversation with my mom.
Mom: “I see how living simply is much more rewarding.”
She’s been going through some heavy changes. Her and Jimmy are separating. It’s actually really strange to think about because Jimmy’s been my stepdad for over 13 years. He was the best thing that happened to my mom. At the time she really needed somebody like him.
“But I’m very happy right now,” she says. “In the past 4 years I’ve been in Florida a lot has changed. I’ve been uncovering things I didn’t even realize were there inside of me.”
It’s dreadfully slow before dinnertime. I’m just sitting here researching the history of a Russian chocolate factory and reading some short stories.
Even when the night falls the deliveries still aren’t substantial but all things considering I fare pretty well in tips.
Fried Shrimp with Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, and Rice in Garlic Sauce.
Off work and back home.
Watching Deadfall (2012).
Sleep 3 a.m.
[i] Vincent Peters.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 12:50 PM
Waking up just after 11 a.m.
Instant Blueberry Oatmeal. Blood Orange. Honey White Green Tea.
Catching up on bills and adult things.
Grilled Potatoes, Onions, Peppers, and Egg on a Bagel. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Blueberry Green Tea. Kinder Chocolate.
This warm weather is quite a contrast after being in such cold weather all the time in Russia. It feels good to be home.
Organizing all the thousands of photos I took on the trip.
Rick’s Café meeting with Elliott and Leslie.
Fried Flounder with Broccoli, Mac n Cheese, and Texas Toast.
Sharing some artifacts I found at a thrift store in St. Petersburg including vintage stickers from a 1992 French sitcom, a handmade English learning book for a Russian child, children’s books, and buttons.
Once again there’s nonsensical partying going on at the house. I don’t understand why in the days that I’ve returned home the kids have decided to go hard. I’m getting too old for this stuff. I’m past this kind of angst in my life. I try my best to avoid leaving the bedroom for fear of having to encounter anybody associated with the madness. It’s not that dreadful of a fear but I blow it up in my head. I just want privacy in my home. I want quiet.
Sleep 4 a.m.
[i] Excerpt from The Kiss by Anton Chekhov
Posted by James Robert Smith at 12:44 PM
Alarm goes off early at 9:20 a.m. I feel Aysena’s arms reach out to me. She’s making mmm sounds and smiling so bright. The ugly brown floral wallpaper shimmers from the sunlight slipping in through the window. I never thought this day would come, the day I would come to Russia, and now I’m leaving it just as quick as it came. We get up and move quickly through the metro and make it just in time to catch the next Aerotrain to the airport.
Eating a Cheese Danish, French Baguette, and sharing Airborne Water. She slips her head into my shoulder. I wrap my arm around her. I witness the saddest face I have ever seen. She’s so full of love and affection. It’s a good thing I snagged a roll of toilet paper for my runny nose and her watery eyes.
At the Moscow airport. There’s an overwhelming sadness that grips us by our tender hearts. What is it about the word miss that makes my lips tremble and my eyes heavy with salty liquid? As soon as I say, “I’m gonna miss you,” I can’t stop my eyes from tearing up. She’s crying but it’s not so dramatic. We know we’ll see each other another time in the future, but then again no one’s promised a guaranteed reunion. It’s strange to think I’ve spent every waking hour with her in Russia for about nine days. And now I’m cut off. Now I’m returning to America to continue my regular life.
On the plane now – New York bound. A nine-hour flight is nothing to be concerned with. They serve us airline food almost immediately. Gotta love the airline food. Again I’m given the vegetarian version, just vegetables and fruits and bread and such.
Watching an in-flight movie: Life of Pi (2012). I read the book a few years ago and it stole my heart. It’s thrilling to see it come to life through a moving picture.
Sipping on Tea and reading a few Russian short stories: The Queen of Spades by Pushkin and Twenty-six Men and a Girl by Maxim Gorky.
“There are men to whom the most precious and best thing in their lives appears to be some disease of the soul or body. They spend their whole life in relation to it, and only living by it, suffering from it, they sustain themselves on it, they complain of it to others, and so draw the attention of their fellows to themselves. For that they extract sympathy from people, and apart from it they have nothing at all. Take from them that disease, cure them, and they will be miserable, because they have lost their one resource in life—they are left empty then. Sometimes a man’s life is so poor, that he is driven instinctively to prize his vice and to live by it; one may say for a fact that often men are vicious from boredom.”
The plane lands and with just enough time it seems for me to transit to Manhattan from JFK. I walk briskly to the Airtrain, then to the subway (A train to the F train). Surprised I was able to make it to the China bus station on time and even with a few minutes to spare.
Across the street at a convenient store. The Chinese clerk doesn’t take cards, only cash. Not a problem for me but a problem for the well-dressed northern man after me. He only needs one more dollar to purchase his beer. For some reason I feel compelled to offer a dollar. He thanks me and offers to buy me Chinese food when the bus stops.
Snacking on some Chips and Strawberry Kombucha Tea.
On the bus. It’s a culture shock to be surrounded by “Americans” and actually understand the murmur of conversations around me.
Stop at a service station off the New Jersey Turnpike. Two Hard Boiled Eggs should suffice. I’m jetlagged as shit. If I was in Moscow now I would already be asleep. But I still have more “day” to deal with. I take a nap for the last leg of the trip. James and Stephanie pick me up from the bus station when I arrive around midnight.
“So how was Russia?”
At the house. James and I walk in. He was forewarned by a friend via text that there were people running around without shirts on. As I’m stepping into my room I hear commotion and partying coming from Anthony and Kelley’s bedroom. A group of half naked boys and girls come running out periodically...nothing out of the ordinary. Welcome home, Robert.
Settling down and unpacking. It feels nice to be non-nomadic.
I hear Kevin serenading Josh and Haley on the violin downstairs while they attempt to make love.
Sleep 3:30 a.m. (Virginia Beach Time)
[i] Alexandre Alexeieff.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 2:29 PM
Waking up around 11 a.m. and feeling much better. Despite all the commotion last night from the other guests in the hostel it was probably the quietest sleep I’ve had on this trip. I’m grateful to get a good night’s rest.
After engaging in a zesty sexcapade with Aysena on the floor we lie down on the bed breathing sighs of relief.
She says, “You should like girl that doesn’t love herself.”
Me: “What do you mean? What are you?”
Her: “I’m girl that loves herself. It would work better if you were with ‘nother girl. You can be free.”
I can kind of grasp what she’s trying to say and I partially agree but living in denial is my vice. Either way I’m not thinking about these things in this moment. I’m just relishing.
Hot Tea and Dried Apricots.
Tristan has left for London so now it’s just her and I, but only for one more day. We go to our favorite place for food, the Japanese Noodle Shop. This will be my third visit here and I’m not sick of it yet. Getting a bowl of Noodles with Egg, Seaweed Salad, Eggplant Tempura, and Apple Cranberry Juice.
Perusing through the Tretyakov art galleries, an impressive collection of old Russian portraits from ancient times up until the early 1900’s.
While walking the snowy streets of the city she’s always talking about people being in love and how a city like this needs love...
Ays: “We need it! In Virginia Beach you can just work and hang out with friends. But not in Moscow. It’s too cold. Too many angry people. We cannot live without love.”
She shows me a special bridge where metal trees have been placed. All of their branches are filled with padlocks, most of them antique and old looking, each with married couples names. The trend is to buy a lock once you’re married and place it here for good fortune in your future years with each other. It’s quite incredible. Someone clever enough bought an ultra sized lock. Almost every spot on the trees are filled. Locks just keep adding up overlapping others.
I ask her, “How many of these people do you think are still married?”
Like the young idealist she is she replies with a big smile, “All of them.”
Me: “What? How?”
Ays: “Because it’s magic trees!”
Snacking on a Cheese Danish from a merchant in the underground street.
As we transport through the crowded regal underground metro train there’s an unsettling bit of knowledge we’re both holding onto: I’m leaving tomorrow. Embracing each other and holding hands as we climb the crazy long escalators.
At the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. They have a set of various warehouses with different art galleries. One of them is by Muratov Damir, which includes an American flag inspired painted wood piece meant to be a mock flag for The United States of Siberia. Aysena explains that this is a statement about how Russia is losing their culture to Westernization. It’s a joke on how Siberia seeks to be like the USA via government direction.
After this we take an excursion through the art district where the art and cinema school is located. The entrance is a wide tunnel where the train used to come through but now is a walkway and display for coming of age street art. Eventually we find a café for students and enjoy some Coffee.
Today we spend a lot of time sharing our thoughts about this unique relationship that we’ve somehow kept alive despite our long distance. It’s a younger idealism (her) versus an older idealism (me). She keeps mentioning how the chemistry has changed a little in comparison to the end of last summer when she was in Virginia Beach. There’re a lot of factors involved.
She starts asking what particular punctuation marks are called in English like the comma “,” the exclamation point “!” and the period “.”.
Ays: “That’s it. This is our period for part 2.”
Me: “No. No it’s not. It’s supposed to be a trilogy at least. There’s a part 3 somewhere down the line. It’s not a period. It’s a question mark.”
Ays: “I hate question marks.”
Me: “The world is full of them. You and I both have difficulty adding periods.”
After our little heavy discussion we settle down in another café with better options for dinner. Eating some White Mushroom Fish with a Yellow Pepper, Tomatoes, French Bread, and a Sprite. We’re squeezed in next to another couple that seems to be just as affectionate as us.
Back at the hostel. Our last night together, at least for a long while. We’ll see. She’s full of adorable and cute little words and phrases. I can’t keep up with all of them. We make each other smile. It’s as simple as that. I don’t know what the future holds. And I know I’ll just go back home and continue with my former day-to-day life working at China Wok and dealing with the usual shenanigans. I really need a change though.
Good night. 3:30 a.m. (Moscow time)
* Images taken by me.
† Princess Tarakanova by Konstantin Flavitsky.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 7:20 PM
It’s 9 a.m. The fresh sunlight shines through the train windows. I awaken from a mediocre night of slumber, the best it can get considering the accommodations on a Russian train.
Along the walk I rehash last night’s stressful events with Aysena to see if she remembered any of it. She does mostly except for the climatic parts. She seems sorry and just smiles like she always does with that innocent and adorable look in her eye. It doesn’t matter anymore. We made it back to Moscow in one piece, or rather with all our pieces. It’s snowing quite dramatically, the most it’s snowed since I’ve been here. The snowflakes catch on my jacket and it’s possible to examine their intricate details up close. It’s still the same team of Tristan, Aysena, Aina, and myself. We locate the nearest Japanese restaurant and relax, making use of the free WiFi to plan out the day and book hostels and such.
Omelet with Tomatoes, Toast, and some of that hot Mixed Berry Juice I had the first day I was here.
Aina leaves the group and heads back home to study. Most of our day is spent traveling on the metro and checking into hostels. Tristan stays in one closer to the Aeroport train. Ays and I find a cheap one with a private room. After that we meet up with Nurgun at a Russian cafeteria-style place.
White Beans with Carrots, Borscht Soup, and an Apple Danish.
I’ve been taking notice to all the food I’ve been eating on this trip. Sometimes there’s just nothing else to do but eat and walk. I don’t mind too much cause I enjoy all the variety of options around this city.
Flatnik Show N Tell Party is tonight. It’s at a small studio apartment. Sasha, a girl I conversed with on Couch Surfing, is hosting the event and offered to help organize it. Shortly after 7:30 p.m. the local natives start piling in, most of them saw the event posted on Couch Surfing. Everybody reverently squats on the floor and listens to a short performance I give on the guitar while some video footage of an old Soviet farm projects on the ceiling behind me. I’m quite surprised at how many heads came out. I would say about 50 showed up. After I finish I invite anyone else to take the floor and share something, with the help of Sasha translating. The majority of the audience only understands English on a basic level. Ukulele, piano, and guitar performances ensue. Yana is here and gives quite the inspiring speech on the meaningless noise in life, the search for truth (or the real God) and the assurance/peace one feels with God, and how honesty can change your life. I guess it may have come off as depressing in comparison to the general mood of the congregation. But I took something substantial from it personally and I’m certain others did as well. Tristan seems to fit in well and attracts the attention of a few girls. After the Show N Tell portion is done the snack table is brought in from the kitchen and everybody just mingles. I chat with a few curious people that ask me questions about America and this and that.
I feel incredibly sick, sore throat and such. I figured it would happen eventually considering all the cold weather I’ve had to trot around in.
Back at the hostel. Sipping on plenty of Tea and Honey. Aysena sleeps before me while I reflect in the kitchen. Around me I overhear a lot of conversations in Russian but they’re easy for me to drown out since I can’t understand most of it.
Finally joining my little Ays in dreamland at 1:24 a.m.
* Images taken by Aysena.
† Images taken by me.
† Images taken by me.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 7:18 PM
Waking up to a roaring sound of a thousand Russian-speaking teenagers coming from the hallway of the hostel. It’s just before 9 a.m. and it’s very disrupting. Aysena and I can’t sleep. They are from “the village”, as Aysena explains it, which is another way to say kids that aren’t from the city or “that don’t know how to act”.
Aysena, Aina, Tristan, and I start out our day journey at a café near a small Pushkin statue.
Egg, Onions, and Greens Pastry. Cream Cheese filled Pastries. Orange Juice.
An inside public market sparks my attention. A few Armenian vendors swindle Tristan and I into buying a blood orange and a plum. They forcefully want us to have a picture of them.
We continue walking along the main river in St. Petersburg. On a whim we find a small second hand shop with plenty of antique eye candy.
One of Tristan’s famous conclusive one-liners that I find myself using again and again: “I can’t call you a liar if you’re telling the truth.”
Visiting The Peter and Paul Fortress, the glorious cathedral inside and the Trubetskoy Bastion Prison.
Eating at a Japanese restaurant.
Chicken with Vegetables and Noodles. Green Tea.
At the NikO Pianobar off Pushkin Street. I’ve got a gig booked here in this warm cozy smoky atmosphere. It’s not terribly crowded but for a Monday night it’s nice. Mostly young adult couples are my audience along with my friends. I run through my long list of songs with mostly success. Dmitry, the manager, who doesn’t speak hardly any English, takes a liking to it. After I finish my act a Russian band goes on performing rock n roll songs from the 50’s and 60’s. Aysena and Aina are hollering and having a good old fashion time. As well a few couch surfing faces make an appearance. One of them, Natasha who is a real friendly type, starts talking with Tristan. She invites us to hang out after the show.
We take our time walking to this bar Natasha knows about. Our group is a little slow because Aysena and Aina have been drinking. There’s a lot of commotion in the street as Ays shouts and acts overly friendly to passerby’s.
At the bar, but only for a little time because we have to catch a train.
Lentil Soup with Pita Bread.
As things continue the girls are losing more and more of their common sense. And it makes things difficult in commuting back to the hostel for our luggage. We flag down a taxi and get in. The Russian man has to stop the car twice to let Aina and Ays throw up. He’s terribly patient surprisingly, considering the last two taxis we tried to use refused us service. Eventually, we grab our stuff and walk to the train station. We don’t have tickets though, only a screenshot of the registered tickets online from Aysena’s phone. I have possession of the phone now because Ays is in no state of mind to be leading the group. But I don’t know where to go and because I don’t understand Russian fluently my asking questions to any employee there is useless. And Ays isn’t offering any help whatsoever. She just keeps spouting out criticism and plopping on the ground like a toddler in an effort to pass out. She shares sporadic conversations in Russian with Aina that only exacerbates the situation and causes Aysena to lose her composure. She’s running off away from the train in a fit now, sometimes dropping her bags carelessly. Tristan and I are left to carry most of the luggage and maintain our togetherness at the same time. It’s like trying to control a pair of two-year olds. As much as I’m surprised to see this dark and frantic side of the night, I can’t say I didn’t see this coming. It’s almost reminiscent of the former escapades of drunken drama I had to experience with my ex-girlfriend. It’s really strange. Somehow, through asking multiple train employees at the platforms, we manage to find our designated car and settle into the packed shared train bunks. That was the most stressful I’ve been in a long while. I hate alcohol in the hands of people I’m supposed to respect.
Around 3 a.m. I lie back on my stiff bunk and try to catch some Zzzz’s.
* Images taken by me.
† Images taken by Aysena.
† Images taken by Aysena.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 7:05 PM
Waking up bright and early on the pulsating train. We’ve arrived in Saint Petersburg. The glorious morning sun greets us and keeps the cold temperature more bearable as we walk around the city. It’s just me, Aysena, Aina, and Tristan. We’re a team.
The whole day is a blurry adventure walk to places like The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, Winter Palace (State Hermitage Museum), and the frozen Neva River. The collection of antique furniture and rooms is entirely awesome. I get the pleasure of hearing a five-man acapella ensemble sing ancient Russian chants in front of an ominous religious sculpture. As well I can’t even keep track of all the places we eat and more importantly the amount of food I’m consuming on this tour. It’s discouraging in regards to my health but what can you do when you’re in a strange city like this but walk, eat, walk, eat, walk, eat.
[The sight of a black person causes quite a humorous stir amongst a group of Russian teens. Tristan is a celebrity for this moment in his life.]
After a charge-up break at the hostel we check out this D.I.Y. free space downtown called Ziferblat. Apparently they have a lot of these sorts of anti-cafés where an inventive space is open to the public and you pay a fairly cheap price by the hour. In this space in particular they’ve created somewhat of a mock city with loft-like lighting. As soon as we walk in there’s a boy trotting on these mechanical legs as a sport. Mingling with a few patrons. There’s a piano that gets played periodically and it seems that practically everyone here is musically inclined. We resign to a wooden table with Tea and Cookies. Playing a few card games like Podkidnoy and Bullshit that get some of us riled up.
After that we sit down at a decently priced restaurant. Sharing Garlic Toast sticks stacked like Jenga blocks because the waiter noticed we were playing Jenga. I sip on Cognac for that smooth stingy sensation down my throat.
Back at the hostel Aysena and I get comfortable in our cozy private room. I notice the room number is 111. Things heat up pretty quick. She gets a real kick out of taping a little video recording on her iPhone of our sexual moments. This sexual resolve was much needed.
While she snoozes off to sleep I reflect in the commons area of the hostel. Thinking about how young her perspective is on life and how that contrasts from mine. Not that she’s naïve or anything because she’s not. We’re both aware at the differences in how we see certain things pertaining to romance. I’ve got a couple more years of life on her. And sometimes that can have a big effect. But she makes me feel younger than I really am and that’s important.
Sleep at some point after 4 a.m.
* Images by me.
† Images by Aysena.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 6:56 PM
☼ ○ ▬
Cockroaches and palmetto bugs everywhere. They’re crawling inside every room in the house. Other characters in the dream each have their own unique story and appearance. It’s not such a dramatic event but it was expected, as if it was something that happens occasionally. Even though it’s hardly scary for me it’s irritating nonetheless.
▬ ○ ☼
12:30 p.m. Awakening from a hard slumber. We’re late for an engagement with Yana and Tristan at the Moscow Conservatory. We hurry as fast as we can. While marching along the icy sidewalk I talk to Tristan about the understood rule of always walking on the right side of the sidewalk, the purpose being to avoid collisions with other pedestrians.
Me: “But not everybody does this and it’s those few people that screw it up. That’s the reason we can’t ever achieve a perfect utopia...because of people like this.”
We arrive at the conservatory. We have to split off into pairs. Yana and Tristan take first floor seats, and Ays and I resign to what I expected to be nosebleeds but actually are the best seats in the auditorium in my opinion. This hall is absolutely beautiful in a neoclassical way: giant portraits of Russian composers and white columns mounted along the sidewalls, and an ominous pipe organ built into the backdrop of the stage. Watching the individual performances by boys and girls of all ages playing select classical pieces on the piano, the flute, the harp, the clarinet, the marimba, and the violin. While sitting reverently I point out a picture on the camera that she secretly took of me sleeping this morning.
“Cause I like you,” she explains.
Afterwards, Tristan, Ays, and I return to the Japanese noodle shop we went to yesterday. I had to get a second helping.
Noodle Soup with Egg, Eggplant Tempura, and Seaweed Salad.
Now it’s time to do the most touristy thing we can possibly think of: visit Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral. We spend just enough time there to snap a few photos because the freezing temperature is unbearable.
Retreating to a mall nearby. Sipping on a Cappuccino with Ays in a café.
I’ve got a show booked at Harat’s Irish Pub in Old Arbat with Tim, the guy I met on www.couchsurfing.org. This place has a strange setup as there is a first floor bar and a second floor bar but there is a middle stage where the performers play. The place is packed with locals. I open up the evening with an hour-long set. There’s a happiness and carefree attitude I take on while playing. It’s almost hard to believe I’m really here in Moscow doing what I’m doing. Tim goes on after me and entertains the bar with an aggressive gypsy folk punk sound on the accordion and guitar. He’s a wild soul with a beard and a presence that can’t be ignored.
This whole vacation here in Moscow has constituted a lot of walking and metro transport. It becomes a part of you. It’s like any big city with public transport I guess. You don’t even think about it after a while.
Snacking on Salt n Vinegar Chips and a Cream Cheese Pastry I picked up from an outside market earlier today.
It seemed we were running a little behind schedule but fortunately we make it on time to catch the train to St. Petersburg. With Tristan, Aysena, and Aina, all settled in our little dorm cabin complete with two small bunks to fit four people. Another friend of ours, Lena, joins us from another part of the train.
We’re fed a boxed meal. Tristan and I explore the rest of the territory. We discover an old hot water machine and are given two old silver mug containers for Tea. We engage in a humorous debate on the cultural differences in social behaviors. We also make fun of one another – of how Ays is so animated and how Tristan is so vague. While looking through the menu the caretaker of our train car gave us we compose a little photo story. We just couldn’t resist. The photos we were taking started taking on a narrative of their own...
Unfortunately the fish was never served. And this is what happens when you don't bring a black man his fish.
Unfortunately the fish was never served. And this is what happens when you don't bring a black man his fish.
We’re approached by a neighbor passenger who warns us that we might be too loud and should keep quiet. And so we transition to lights out around 3 a.m.
* Image by Tristan.
† Images by me.
‡ Images by Aysena.
§ Images by Valery P.
† Images by me.
‡ Images by Aysena.
§ Images by Valery P.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 6:30 PM