9/15/2009 – Not a bad system

By the second day, we started to notice a trend.  All the immigration and customs people at the airport were women.  Everyone working at the hotel — women.  All our guides — women.  All the people working in the Hermitage — women.  The only men we saw working were the bus drivers and three guys repairing a building we drove by.  Someone asked our guide, Amina, if Russian men drink shots of vodka every day.  She said no, they drink vodka out of 200 ml glasses (about half a pint).

We spent the morning touring a little of the Hermitage: two Da Vinci’s, Michelango sculptures, rooms of Titians and Rafaels, twenty odd Rembrandts, and a whole floor of impressionists, fourty odd Matisse’s, two rooms of Picasso’s, etc.  We didn’t even slow down in rooms off lessor artists…  The guide said if you spent 1 minute on each painting, it would take you 8 years to tour the museum. In the afternoon we toured two cathedrals and saw the graves of all the Tsars starting with Peter the Great (who built St Petersburg).

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