russia: the bad and the ugly

have you heard?
there’s a rumor in st. petersburg….

(thank you, sarah, for getting that song stuck in my head on repeat)

oh, russia. let’s see what i remember about you.

this post might have to be broken into two segments: the arrival and the worst day of my life in the first post, the best and brightest in the next.

i got to the airport about two hours before my flight took off. the des moines airport got the new sexy machines, i mean, the hot naked, i mean, the tsa full body scanners so we were supposed to get there a little earlier than we normally would. i thought i’d be the first in my group to get there, but surprisingly i went to my gate and found dave and mark already sitting. jen joined us about 10 minutes after that and stephanie another 10 after her.

now tell me how this works out. all five of started in the same airport and were taking the amsterdam flight to st. petersburg, all arriving at 7:00pm. and yet i was the only one on my flight out of des moines. i was going dsm>msp>amsterdam and the others were doing dsm>memphis>amsterdam. not a big deal overall, but c’mon! i should’ve seen that as an indicator on how the trip was going to go.

i managed to sleep a decent amount on the minneapolis to amsterdam flight. i watched a movie, drank a bit of wine, and had some crappy airplane sleep. but by the time i got to amsterdam i was feeling pretty sickly. i had a headache, needed some real food in my stomach, and was not used to the new time. by the time i boarded for st. petersburg, i was miserable. add on top of that the fact that i get motion sickness fairly easily, and you can go ahead and say that the last flight was potentially the worst flight of my life. stephanie and i talked for about an hour and it helped take my mind off of things, but by the second hour my head was spinning and i was having trouble concentrating. when the plane landed and i stood up i was afraid i was going to black out. stephanie and mark both said i was getting paler and paler by the second and suggested once the people started moving to get out of the plane and they would grab my bags.

first off, i’m going to go ahead and fake that from now on to get people to carry my bags off of planes.

secondly, if i fake it i won’t have to make a beeline to the bathroom to throw up. so really, it’s a much better idea.

yep. what’s the first thing i did when i got to st. petersburg, russia? i threw up in the airport bathroom. awesome. top that.

but enough about that. we got to the hotel, got checked in, and i went to my room real quick to start feeling a bit more human. the plan was to have supper in the bar and then call it a night. i even made a pact with someone (who shall remain nameless) that we would not go out to the bars afterwards because we were tired, we were dehydrated, and it was simply not a good idea.

all our best laid plans, huh? πŸ™‚

i stumbled back to my hotel around 1:30am. i know/can confirm it was this time because i skyped with tina when i got back and iMessaged jessica about my adventures. the night is a bit hazy, but these are the things i DO remember:

  • “Na zdorovje” means “to your health” in Russian. It is not normally used as a drinking cheers- but it has become more popular with tourists who know it’s very important to say something before you slam a shot. I just learned how to spell it a few minutes ago, but I could definitely pronounce it correctly (with lots and lots of practice). πŸ˜‰
  • russian standard is the best vodka i’ve sampled- it is extremely smooth. too smooth. i was struck by a smooth criminal. i was not okay.
  • apparently i have very strong back muscles. i was told this after i was able to dip a 6’+ male without falling over.
  • there was a grey horse on the sidewalk and no one would believe me until the second to last night when mark confirmed that he saw it too, when he was escorting me back to the hotel. apparently i had wandered off with some russian women who “looked like they were going to have their way with me.” i’d like to think he meant that in the fun way and not that i was going to get Taken (with a capital T, Liam Neeson style)

so, i got back to the hotel, talked to some people and passed out.

i woke up at around 7:15am, very alarmed. where a nightstand once was, now sat a very large television set that was not there when i went to sleep. i was very concerned- was i in the correct room? yes. did someone bring a television to my room while i was out? was the television there before i went to bed? no. did someone deliver me a television while i was sleeping? that is extremely creepy. i would’ve thought i’d wake up to that. it’s kind of the opposite of robbing someone.

i thought about going back to sleep and probably would have, except my body was now paying me back for what i put it through the night before. i won’t go into too much detail, but let’s just say it was the worst i have ever been. i couldn’t keep anything down- after 6+ hours of continuous puking, i was afraid i was going to die of dehydration. around 3:00pm i finally started feeling a bit better and ate some of my room service sprite and crackers (i think i scared the poor bus boy who didn’t speak english and had to decipher my grunts of where to set the tray). i fell asleep immediately after and woke up again around 5 and started getting ready for the opening reception.

once i got down to the reception i exchanged knowing looks with a few that had been out the night before as well. i don’t know if i felt the worst, but i definitely was a contender. people at my table gave me sympathetic smirks while i ordered a sprite instead of enjoying the provided wine or beer. a woman at my table pushed food around on her plate to make it look like she was eating– eventually, after dinner and mingling, she went up to her room. i stuck it out and got to feeling better and better. i didn’t drink anything that night (or the next). and i definitely learned my lesson. i wasted my whole free day in which i had planned on sight-seeing st. petersburg. i was angry with myself. but it really was a night to remember (or not remember and be reminded of).

oh, and it turns out the television was INSIDE the end table. there’s a switch (that i obviously must’ve hit while trying to turn off the light) that raises and lowers the television. …oh.

…Na zdorovje.

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2 responses to “russia: the bad and the ugly

  1. It’s so hard to fall asleep w\/ you on my mind. Can you do me a favor & somehow stop being so darn terrific ? Thanks πŸ™‚

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