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

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Here is Tallinn, viewed up close through the miracle of a telephoto lens from the balcony of my stateroom. Which is, alas, as close as I was allowed to get.

I was in quarantine, having been one of the unlucky hundreds on the ship who caught a nasty stomach virus. The first day in St. Petersburg I didn't get back from the ballet until after midnight, and then I didn't sleep well -- we're now so far north that the few hours between sunset and sunrise pass in a weird gray twilight and it never really gets dark.

So when I woke up yesterday morning with no appetite and a splitting headache, I thought I was just tired, maybe that I was coming down with a cold. I hadn't yet heard that people were getting sick, but I felt awful enough to cancel my planned eight-hour tour of Romanov palaces. A difficult decision but a wise one, since by early afternoon I was in the infirmary, along with several dozen of my fellow passengers, trying to fill out a lengthy information form asking about everything I had eaten for the past three days in between bouts of puking into white airsick-style bags.

Eventually they gave me a shot to ease the nausea and sent me back to my room with pills and some Gatorade, and strict instructions to stay there until otherwise instructed.

Not that I had any interest in doing otherwise at that point. St. Petersburg and Pushkin and the Alexander Palace were not nearly as appealing as my bed, and that's where I pretty much remained for the next 24 hours.

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