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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 06-09-2005, 04:32 AM
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Hi Nancy and Tom...excuse the long post....
I know exactly what was happening with your friends. Jet Set or Plaza will have more really attractive women than Magribs because they attract a different sort of visitor than Magrib. Even relatively poor women look very sharp in their corrordinated outfits and super slim figures and 10 cm heels. Style is very important to a large portion of the population but not as much as a few years ago. Now, western style extreme casualness has become popular with about 40-50% of the college age people. They were a lot of unisex layered casual clothing but not the baggies and sags as in the west. Just 3 years ago it would have been almost unheard of to see a woman under 40 not wearing high heels on or fully made up if she anywhere outside the home. I visited at least 6 times before I saw a woman under 40 who was overweight back in the late 70s and early 80's. Back then, imported designer clothes were difficult or impossible to find but they were copied by many women who kept stylish by visiting Italian boutiques each season and sketching the new styles and going home to make them. I used to have a girlfriend who was poor, making about $160/month and had never had a date in the 6 years after her divorce. She was 28 at the time and about as stylish as any girl you might have seen on Nevsky or in Magribs, a truly beautiful ultra-feminine young woman. All her clothes except for her high heels were home made. When I started buying her clothes as gifts, it was funny to see her so carefully inspect each item and the quality of fabric and stitching and report whether I was taken advantage of. For two years of being together I never saw her without looking like she came from the pages of Vogue, even if she was just going out to buy vegetables at the open air market down the street. I doubt she would have been able to walk a block in my home town without being accosted by men trying to meet her, but in Russia the men are spoiled rotten. Teenage boys have learned that women and girls exist for one reason, to take care of them and treat them as kings. All women in their lives proved that to them. Most can not and will not do anything for themselves, why, that is what women are for. As a result many self confident young women find it fair play to get what they can from the men. Foreign men do not understand that dynamic and often get chewed up in the process. Nowhere I have I seen as dramatic difference in the sexes in behavoir and rolls as in Russia, women want to be feminine and what men who are completely opposite them. Personally, being a bit older and having grown up in another era, I enjoy being around feminine women but it took me a long time to figure out how to be firm and decisive regardless of situation. I was always "a partner" type, wanting fullly balanced decision making in a full democracy of a relationship. That does not work here. Asking too many questions probing the interests or feelings of a partner is considered weak and unmanly. I've learned that if as a true gentleman I try order all food, decide where to go and when to do it all without asking but carefully observing and deciding on choices as if she DID tell me exacty what she wanted. It takes getting used to but both men and women seem to be happy with such an arrangement. It is a GREAT pleasure to socialize here because social behavior stresses gracious and and slightly formal set of manners that never confronts or embarasses anyone. That is changing however as more and more western influence on behavoir and expectations is dramatically changing all cultures world wide, it is sad to see. A man if polite and well spoken can approach any woman and start a conversation and be assured it is a pleasant experience and no hint of rejection even if she is not interested, she will politely and graciously demure. Men and women do not seem to fear each other and both enjoy emphasising the differences between men and women. But make no mistake, despite what men believe and their titles, the country is run by women both in the home and in the work place, even if the salaries do not reflect that.
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 06-09-2005, 07:10 AM
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That is an interesting perspective and really helps me to understand why so many absolutely drop dead gorgeous women we simply standing around in the disco. There was this one blonde young lady dancing by herself that would have been to most beautiful lady in all of San Diego, without question. I couldn't believe it.

Isn't the Mayor of St. Pertersburg a lady?

Tom
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Old 06-09-2005, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tom Ogg:
That is an interesting perspective and really helps me to understand why so many absolutely drop dead gorgeous women we simply standing around in the disco. There was this one blonde young lady dancing by herself that would have been to most beautiful lady in all of San Diego, without question. I couldn't believe it.

Isn't the Mayor of St. Pertersburg a lady?

Tom
Yes the Governor if the city and region is a woman.
There are many very attractive ladies for sure and today was a warm and sunny day, one of the first so the new spring/summer outfits were on display strolling by while I waited for a lady friend who was going to lunch with me. It is cause of a malady foreign guys get here, a severely sprained neck, locally called the dreaded "Nevsky Neck" it usually goes away a few days after the visitor is back home and after he has stopped muttering in his sleep "wow...look at THAT one". I get invited to a lot of parties for various functions and I remember one at the British consulate where there was garden party and even I was awe struck. All were local girls, not Brits just girls invited for the party celebrating the opening of a new English language magazine. Later we retreated to the Red Lion and 3 bands were playing in 3 different areas of the club. The one I ended up with was one I had known well from before but assumed she was just too cute and way too young. I am headed of to Nizhni Novogorod on the train in a few hours to meet a very attractive slim blonde doctor and ring in my birthday on the 13th. I will probably not be reading or posting until Monday evening.
When you come back, stay in an apartment...cheap, in the middle of the city center, and cozy...for a week or more and have fun and/or enlighenment. There is a lot more to see than just pretty women(they tell me that anyway) Thanks for letting me post.
See ya Monday
Stan
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 06-09-2005, 08:32 PM
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Stan, have a great weekend! We are all thinking of you.

Tom
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Old 06-10-2005, 06:52 AM
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Hmm,
With all those lovely ladies inhabiting the city - no matter how much I might like to go back and spend some time really exploring SPB, I am not sure I could handle it.

Have a wonderful week-end and look forward to chatting when you return.
Nancy
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Old 06-19-2005, 01:00 PM
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Hello Nancy and Tom
I am back, and what an ordeal;>( I had a great time....until I fell asleep on the beach and ended up with extreme sunburns. All week, after my return, my legs and feet have been so swollen that I could not walk. I've never seen such a reaction to the sun but it was intense and fun...otherwise it was great. Nizhniy Novgorod is a 16 hour train trip which was comfortable and relaxing but not when your feet are like ballons and extremely painful for the return trip. Today I was able to put on shoes for the first time and get to the grocery store. It was a beautiful day today in SPb and several ships were in port. There are several festival going on right now, one is the international film festival which I was part of last year. Another of interest is the Star of the White Nights at the Mariinsky Theater and a chamber music festival held in many palaces around the area.
There is also a dance series, theme parties that have become international hits.
Great time to be cruising the Baltics...
Stan
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Old 06-19-2005, 02:35 PM
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Stan,
Welcome Back. OUCH! Sounds like you may have been in some subSTANtial pain (pun intended). Anyway, glad that you had a great time, despite the sunburn. Too bad I am not due to return to the Baltic soon.
Nancy
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Old 06-19-2005, 02:55 PM
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Hi Nancy
There is no reason not to plan your next trip now, that is part of the fun of travel. Personally, I am terrible about planning however, I just go and discover what I find as I go and quite often do not even end up in the country I planned to visit. I used to be in the recording industry for many years in the US which gave me lots of intense work for a few months and then complete breaks with nothing to do until the next scheduled album I was contracted for. I had a habit of leaving the studio with my bags already packed( I had a set of get-away bags always in the truck)and simply buy the very first ticket for the first plane departing from SFO. This way I ended up in a lot of countries that I never would have planned to visit but I always enjoyed where ever I ended up. So 5-6 times a year I disappeared this way and ended up in 86 different countries....but I always came back to St Petersburg regardless of where else I visited. Now things have changed and I have to actually work for a living and do not travel first class anymore. But I still ended up in St Petersburg, going on 2 years now as resident after 26 years of just visiting.
It there are any questions about cruising the Baltic regions or St Petersburg in particular just let me know, I am pretty familiar with the whole region and ships.
Talk to you later...
Stan
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 06-19-2005, 06:41 PM
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Stan, good to hear from you. Sorry about the sun trama. Here in San Diego we have a situation known as "June Gloom" where the sun does not come out for weeks on end. While we enjoy perfect weather for ten months of the year, May and June are the worst. I envy that you had sunshine and warm weather.

If you only had twoo days (and one night) in Saint Petersburg, what would you do?

Tom
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Old 06-20-2005, 12:54 AM
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Hi Tom
I am from San Francisco, the home of the coldest summers in the US so I understand your switch in ocean air currents and fog billowing in.
What would I do if I only had two days? Sulk;&gt
The more you know about what there is to do and its facinating history, the more you become convinced anything you do will mean 95.78% goes uninvestigated. It is almost better to be unfamilar with the city when first visiting so you do not feel like you are missing out. I've had guests from the US who asked the same question and I try very hard to create an effective tour but it turns out that sending them on one of the private tours like you had with Den Rus packs more into a couple days than I could. That is because of the early admissions to major attractions and the effiecent timing using experienced drivers add up to seeing a lot more per day I could even for myself.
For someone never in the city before the first thing would be a orientation drive around the city center and on ajacent islands. This gives a good overview of the city, its layout, major landmarks and sheer beauty on a macro level.
The Hermitage is, for many the best museum in the world. I agree with them and its venue is certainly worth the visit even if it did not have one of if not the best collection of art in the world. A walking tour south west of the Palace Embankment would also be high on my list, in a big circle covering the major canals, Summer Gardens, Church on Spilled Blood, Arts Sq, the Russian Museum, Nevsky prospekt, Kazan Cathedral, Gostiny Dvor, Passage, and heading back towards the river again follwing the Moika River to St Isaac Cathedral, St Isaac Sq. Decemberists Sq, the Senate, Admiralty, Bronze Horseman and back to the Neva Embankmant. That is all doable in an afternoon. The next day I would get up early and explore the city waking up...it is not a very early wake up since it parties till dawn..and take the hydrofoil to Peterhof and visit the lower park and the Grand Palace or smaller more intimate palaces on the grounds. If there was time I would then go to Pushkin and Catherine Palace(my favorite palace), the grounds and then on to Pavlosk to see one of the most beautiful parks and palace grounds in the world. Not many cruise ship passengers see that but it is will work it if that short ride from Pushkin can be fitted in.
On the first night, regardless of how exhausted I was, I would take in a classical Ballet performance at the incomparable Mariinsky Theater. In the Summer, small intimate performances are also available at the Hermitage Theater. Except for viewers clothing, it would be almost impossible to detect clues what century your performance was being performed in. Sitting with the same view and opulent surroundings as the Tsars and court is a pretty heady feeling. Everyone walks out of one of these personal performances walking taller and dressing nicer the next day. Really.
Well, i left out many of my favorites but this is a good beginning.
What do you think?
Stan
On a BEAUTIFUL day sitting in an window within a stones throw of the Admiralty and Palace Sq.
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