July 09, 2012

Here we go again

    A few years have passed since my last posting, but here comes another adventure. I can't seem to keep myself in one location. As of right now, I am about to head to Moscow. But lets play a little catchup:

  • so far I have moved to Washington DC and left;
  • lost loved ones, but gained a sister-in-law, 2 nieces, and amazing friends;
  • started and finished my M.S. program at American University in Environmental Science;
  • worked for the DC government followed immediately by an extended unemployment history;
  • got married to the girl of my dreams;
  • began a vagabond life nearly a month and a half ago... still continues; and
  • finally began my honeymoon and move to Thailand.
 That about brings us up to the present.

    Helsinki, Finland (about 36 hours) was a beautiful place. My first trip to a real European city and my first step on the continent. As a friend of mine would surly agree, Helsinki is the best  European city - granted my only one. And for those who like fish, you can't go wrong in Finland. They have fresh fish, salted fish, pickled fish, cured fish, smoked fish, fish all sorts of ways - think "Bubba gump shrimp" situation here. Food was good!

    We took a 3 hour archipelago tour of along Finland's coast from Helsinki to the second oldest town in Finland (Porvoo), spent a few hours wondering the streets and eating food, then took a 3 hour tour back by boat to eat an amazing buffet.

    Some things to remember about Finland, the sun almost never sets in the summer. We had 18 and 1/2 hours of sun with the rest being a constant twilight. Also, if walking through old town, be ready to trip constantly on cobble stone streets, don't wear high heals (not that I do), and look out for bikers, drivers, and trams. They each have their own lanes and one can quickly find oneself in a perilous situation.

    We left Helsinki and trained to St. Petersburg, Russia. I'm not going to lie, at first I felt intimidated. I guess the cold war propaganda still lived strong in my view of Russia. We arrived mid-day simply to realize we didn't know where the Hotel was or how to speak Russian to find where to go. Fortunately, we found a coffee shop with internet and these fascinating brochette things that were clearly meant for the Russian palate.

    St. Petersburg is a vary curious place. On a walk home at sunset (2:30ish) we were witness to a revers high speed chase. Picture this, St. Petersburg police pull over beside a car with red and blue ablaze. A man quickly flees out of the back of the police vehicle, flies into the parked car, exchange a few yells in Russian (which I am assuming were 'I'll catch you!') with the officers and then speeds forwards. If this wasn't weird enough, the police do a quick U-turn and speed off with lights and sirens going crazy. And right behind them... that driver from the back of the police car, chasing as if in a high speed pursuit. Ohhhh Russia.

    I do like it here. The people have been very pleasant, and the food is better than the expected main courses of potatoes and vodka. Beet soup, salmon crap things, potato bread, and other delicious foods have been a treat.

Next... the train to Moscow, visiting the red square(whose meaning is different that I thought), and the 6 day journey to Beijing!!!!