The Man Who Sold The World

Trip Start Jun 01, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Russia  ,
Saturday, July 15, 2006

"We passed upon the stair, we spoke of was and when
Although I wasn't there, he said I was his friend
Which came as some surprise, I spoke into his eyes
I thought you died alone, a long long time ago

Oh no, not me
I never lost control
You're face to face
With The Man Who Sold The World"

Bowie.. And Nirvana... And, bizzarely, Lulu.

Well, we made it through the hardest customs process the world has ever seen - by comparison, the US Customs guys have an open door policy and hand out flowers and champagne to all visitors, especially those from the Middle East...

We had a pretty shitty overnight bus ride from Tallin to St Petersburg, made worse by the fact that my seat didn't have a lock on the hinge, so if I leant back I ended up in the lap of the guy behind me. The fact that he was listening to Linkin Park really loud on a crappy personal stereo made me feel better every time I popped his kneecaps out of position.

Anyway, it took about an hour to get through customs, and now we're here we have to register our visas within the next few days or we won't be able to leave the country.... Could have been worse though - one bloke got chucked off the bus and marched away amidst lots of shouting in Russian. We were the only non-Russian or Estonians on the bus and nobody spoke English so we have no idea what the guy had done (or not done) to be denied entry... But it was funny.

In other news, we were delighted to learn that George Bush is here in town for tomorrow's G8 Summit. We were unaware that it was happening here, and now, or that Russia had the presidency for it, but it's all good.

The police and army presence in the streets is ridiculous. As we walked from one side of town to the other trying to find hostel after hostel that Lonely Planet claimed to exist but didn't, we were stopped and searched by angry looking coppers. Although, to give them their dues, they didn't touch our bags but rather made us rummage through them. You see the police here have a reputation for taking tourist passports and then only giving them back in exchange for money. So that's nice.

Apparently the anti-globalists are camped up to the North, in preparation for their annual and, no offence, rather innefective demonsrations tommorow.

We're off for drinks with some randoms from the hostel tonight, but tomorrow we're going to do our bit for the travelpod many by mixing it up with the G8 crowd - hopefully watch a few riots, the ocassional burning effergy of the man himself, and maybe even see Tony Blair sitting across from TMWSTW, smiling slightly and looking away all flustered whenever the two make eye contact.

But we promise not to get involved in any anti-bush, anti-globalisation, anti-selling out our children's futures for profit shenenigins...

Now, where did I leave my matches?
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