I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Sunday, June 6, 2010

St. Petersburg

Visiting Russia feels like stepping back into the Cold War. We have to go through passport control every time we leave or return to the ship, so if you take three tours in one day, that's six lines to stand in, with silent disapproving scrutiny from six Russian immigration officers.

The woman I got this morning looked like a younger version of Colonel Klebb in From Russia With Love, but without the easygoing charm. When she finally handed back my passport, I said, "Spasiba." She didn't respond, but I think her scowl may have relaxed by a millimeter or two. And when I saw her again this afternoon, she didn't scowl at all, which I think may have been her version of a smile. Clearly I'm a genius at international relations.

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