Having received our cultural training from watching Spies Like Us (Doctor, Doctor, Doctor, Doctor), on our overnight ferry from Helsinki, we stocked up on capitalist essentials from the duty free: chocolate, Campari and soda, champagne, and Haribo. To our dismay, there was no Grey Poupon.
We felt it was prudent preparation as well to extensively partake in the ship’s happy hour.
As we swayed ashore at St. Peterburg in the morning, we were greeted by a most excellent and spirited band playing Besame Mucho. Perhaps one of them was Edward Snowden in disguise.
While all appeared well on the surface, it was nerve racking to be literally surrounded at all times by Russians. In order to blend in with his comrades, Roger decided it a necessary measure to get a Russian haircut, as the beard clearly was not the issue.
To complete the Russian experience and make up for the fact that we were staying in a hostel the temperature of a green house, Roger went for caviar and vodka, which he enjoyed secretly in the hostel.