Russian Beer

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In St. Petersburg, I had issues ordering vodka.

At a cafe near my hotel, I told the server I wanted to sample their vodka. She looked horrified and said she didn’t understand English. I thought this was odd since we managed to go through my orders for an appetizer, dinner entree and a cocktail.

“So sorry,” she said, refusing to offer any selections on what some people call Russia’s national drink. I gave up and asked for the bill.

Moon over St. Petersburg
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Comments (2) Sep 22 2010

Inside the Hermitage

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I’m back in the States after a 20-hour flight, four security check points, two luggage check-ins (for one fat bag), an extra charge for an obese suitcase and three cocktails from airports in St. Petersburg, Helsinki and New York.

So far, I haven’t kept track of how many photos and videos I shot of St. Petersburg. I am working on few more photoblog entry about my Russian trip.

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This one involves Andre’s adventure inside the Hermitage.
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Comments (4) Sep 19 2010

Game on!

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ST. PETERSBURG – On my last night in town, one of my students invited me to a hockey match between Severstal and CKA (Sports Club of Armine). She tipped me off to a fun sports story involving CKA team members (who also played in the NHL, back in the day) and ballet dancers. I’ll edit that story soon.

French dog and Russian beer
Between periods, I ordered a “French” dog and Russian beer. Everyone leaves the rink to eat in the lobby. That probably explains why everything is so clean and well maintained inside.


I shot this video with my Nikon Coolpix camera. I was trying to save my Kodak Zi8 batteries for the hockey player interview. Inside the rink – high energy from the fans and some frustration over all those missed goals. Severstal won the match, 3 to 0.

Comments (0) Sep 17 2010

Louie looks at art

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ST. PETERSBURG – My university host said he preferred the Russian Museum to the Hermitage because it featured Russian art. It was a simple statement. He was clearly proud of his country’s artists.

Thanks to my father, I have seen a fantastic Van Gough exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art. My husband and I saw the Mona Lisa and other European treasures inside the Louvre. We also saw Michaelangelo’s epic David in Florence.

But I have never seen a major display of Russian artistic works. Out of respect to the country and due to my own curiosity, I chose the State Russian Museum over the Hermitage as my first museum visit in St. Petersburg.

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And of course, Louie tagged along.
Louie looks at Russian art
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Comments (1) Sep 16 2010

Tuning Up

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ST. PETERSBURG — I made it to the ballet! Yah! I love this dance form. I also think Russia ballet is one of the best in the world. (don’t tell my childhood friends who are now working ballet dancers in American troupes!)

The Mariinsky Theatre is an epic stage for my Russian ballet experience. It’s more than 200 years old. Here – Tchaikovsky debuted his Sleeping Beauty. Prokofiev presented his “Romeo and Juliet” ballet here as well.

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Naturally, I got giddy walking in the footsteps of classic music giants.


This is from last night: orchestra tuning up for Khachaturian’s Spartacus.

Comments (2) Sep 16 2010

Bear in Historic Heart

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ST. PETERSBURG – “We don’t have bears in Russia,” said one of my students.

Fair enough. So, I brought my own world-weary bears to St. Petersburg. This time, Andre had a chance to check out the sights and sounds of the Historic Heart.

I had some free time before my classes, so we did our own walking tour over the Neva River. Now Andre wants to share his thoughts on our excursion.

Andre by the Strelka
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Comments (0) Sep 15 2010

Lacing up running shoes

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ST. PETERSBURG – I ran into a sea of white t-shirts after my Saturday morning class. Young walkers and runners told me this was a 10 K event for St. Petersburg women.

Women's 10 K

Hundreds of women, teens and kids hit the streets around the Neva river. Some cheered, sang and others were focused on running. It was fun to interview some of the ladies participating in the event.

Also – I’m a little annoyed that I left my running shoes behind in the States.

Download: KVP wrap on Women’s 10 K
Download: Raw Video of Women’s 10 K

Comments (0) Sep 11 2010

From Russia…in heels

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ST. PETERSBURG – These days, I am cursing my weak ankles. Like any Catholic school girl forced to wear uniforms, I lust after beautiful shoes. I’m surrounded by them on the streets, at the Metro and at school in St. Petersburg.

However, I’m pretty sure I would not survive the hike up to my lecture hall. It’s on the 6th floor and the Faculty of Journalism does not have an elevator. Good exercise – but hell on beautiful shoes.

Nelly and Igor

My fascination with Russian fashions prompted me to e-mail my Sacramento newsroom about a possible story idea. I knew our morning meteorologist was covering fall styles. I thought my students would add a cool, international break-out to her story.

Download video here.

Of course – my students had more to say about fashion, style and heels. Don’t forget about those heels.
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Comments (0) Sep 09 2010

Peter, Paul and Louie

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ST. PETERSBURG – Sometimes, pay back can be a bear. As you can see, Louie wanted to make sure he had a chance to do some sightseeing in St. Petersburg.

Pay Back

It took my bears a few days to get over the jet lag. I think by the middle of the week, they were going stir-crazy in the hotel room.
Louie ready to check out St. Petersburg

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Comments (2) Sep 08 2010

Outside the Metro

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ST. PETERSBURG – My neighborhood reminds me of the 3rd Arrondisment in Paris (6 years ago). This is the view from my hotel room. The other day – a film crew was shooting a scene in that area. I think it was a fight scene since one of the actors ended up on the ground, clutching his side.

View from my hotel room

Last night, I went to dinner with my translator. I was waiting for the at the metro stop and she was running late. I figured I could use the extra time to shoot this little video about my neighborhood.

(Facebook peeps and RSS readers – you can watch the video on my blog entry).

Comments (2) Sep 08 2010