ericaamber

Erica Goes to Pulkovo

In Uncategorized on August 2, 2013 at 1:26 pm

More than two weeks ago, Alex asked me if I would accompany him to the airport when he signed off. Of course I said absolutely!! We didn’t really think it would be too difficult, the port agent was taking him so I could just hop in the van and hopefully the agent could just bring me back. This week we found out it was a little more complicated. The agent would not be able to bring me back to the ship. Not to worry, being a planner, I googled my way from the airport (Pulkovo) back to the ship. Remember how I told you that everything in Russia is in Russian? It’s still true and my Russian has not gotten any better. Our staff admin asked me on our way out today, if I was going to catch a cab back to the ship. My answer? Absolutely not. A taxi to the ship would be over 1000 rubles, I would take the bus and metro!! She looked at me like I suddenly grew a second head and wished me luck.

We had a lovely ride to the airport, chatting and sharing memories from our favorite days in port. The traffic was awful, making me a wee but concerned about getting back to work on time. After (finally) finding Alexey’s gate and checking his luggage, he walked me back out to the bus station. For the record, the St.Petersburg airport is confusing.

Our conversation on the way to the bus sounded something like this:
Alexey: ‘ok, tell me again exactly how you’re getting home’
Erica: ‘I’m taking bus #39 to Moskovskaya then taking the metro to Nevskiy Prospekt then changing trains and taking the new train to Primorskaya then the #158 bus to the ship’ (see, I know where I’m going!)
A: ‘ok but don’t change trains, just get off the metro at Nevsky, then go up to the street and from there you’ll see your favorite bookstore (that’s right, I have a favorite St.Petersburg bookstore, I’m a geek) then just walk to the crew shuttle, you’ve done that walk a million times, (I’ve done it 8 times) you’ll be fine.
E: ‘eeeeeekk ok, you think that’s better?’
A: ‘yes, don’t worry, you’ll be fine, you’ve taken the metro with me tons of times (twice), you know what you’re doing.’
E: ‘ok. Ya. You’re right, ill be fine’
A: ‘Just be careful you get on the train going the right direction or you’re screwed’.
E: ‘oh no’

I felt like a kid going to school for the first time, we got to the stop just as the bus arrived, said our goodbyes. Alex checked if I had enough rubles to get on the bus so I wouldn’t get left on the street somewhere. Armed with 85 rubles (which, for the record, is like 3 dollars), a metro token, a map (in Russian), my intrepid adventurer’s spirit, and having been taught how to say all the names of where I needed to go in Russian, I hopped on the bus and tried to look local.

You know how sometimes all the planning in the world can’t save you? This wasn’t one of those times. I caught my bus, and my train and walked to St.Issac’s square without an issue. The lady who takes your money on the bus clearly noticed I’m not Russian, and made sure I got off at my metro stop. Following the commuters from there got me right to my metro station. A big thank you to Russia for building a bookstore so amazing that I can never lose it. I was nervous for sure, as a traveller, not being able to speak the language is one of the most stressful things. But I was well prepared and I’ve been to the city enough times now that I know my way around once I get back downtown. In fact, I’m really happy I went, it’s a great feeling when you do something that makes you nervous and it goes well. Now if this crew shuttle bus will ever leave, I’ll even make it to work on time!!

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