"" Personal Observations Tip by feline01
Personal Observations, Saint Petersburg: 43 reviews and 41 photos
Fondest memory: Back when this was Leningrad and Russia was not quite open to the west, I visited with a group out of London called Top Deck. It was a 45 day camping trip of Scandinavia/Eastern Europe. We get to Leningrad,spend a few days and are at the campsite a few miles out of town when the bus breaks down. Our intourist guide is in Leningrad because she's not allowed to stay with us (foreigners only at the campgrounds and hotels during this time). Me and a fellow traveller volunteer to hitchhike into Leningrad to meet the guide so she can help arrange for a mechanic. We stand on a very busy road with cars belching out leaded gas and whatever else they burn in Russia and a bus stops to pick us up. No one on the bus speaks English and it is a private bus, not public transit. Everyone is smiling at us and we're smiling back. I try to tell them where we want to go, gee I might as well been speaking a foreign language! I show them the name of the street written down but of course it's written in the English alphabet, not Russian so they have no clue. They keep pointing at me and Debs (the other volunteer) so I say America and point to me. They all start smiling and say Amerika! and point to me. Deb then says Australia and points to her. They all say Amerika! and point to me. This goes on for several minutes. Then I say New Jersey and they look at me blankly. I say New York and they all start pointing at me and saying New York!. Deb says Melbourne and they all point at me and say New York! This was the extent of our conversation. I hand out packs of sugarless gum that I always carry with me, get kissed by several extremely malodorous older women and we jump off the bus somewhere in downtown Leningrad. Amazingly, we do find the street we're looking for, find the guide and bring her back to the bus with a mechanic.
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