Peterhof, Pushkin & Pavlovsk Palaces
Trip Start Mar 13, 2007
92Trip End Aug 10, 2007
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Both these days were like something out of "Amazing Race" for me, since I had to use four different kinds of public transportation to take them all in, armed only with a Lonely Planet guide and the directions from a local English tourist publication. My transport modes were Metro, Electrichka (the slow regional trains with rock hard wood seats), Mshrutka (mini-vans that run on regularly scheduled routes), and local busses. This was all extremely confusing even though I've mostly figured out what sounds the Cyrillic letters correspond to
That doesn't mean, though, that all service comes with a smile in Russia. While I've experienced a lot of western style quick service in restaurants and stores, you do still frequently encounter people to whom you're just an annoyance as a customer, someone who's actually going to cause their jobs to involve more than just sitting and occupying space. An example of this service with a scowl was a breakfast attendant named Valentina at the first hotel of the tour in Saint Petersburg who was clearly flustered by having to deal with such a large group and not happy about it.
"May I have another cup of coffee?" I asked.
"No, onlee one cup. You have more toomorrow!"