Yesterday my fab friend Shelley and her four adorable daughters surprised me with a visit and, the people, it was SO GREAT TO SEE THEM.
Also, Shelley told me she's headed to St Petersburg next week, which led us (among other things) to discuss what Russians are good at. "Lightness of being" isn't one of them.
So this morning, Shelley sent me a text with this advice she read somewhere about getting along in Russia: "The main menace to visitors is the gangs of begging street children who jostle sightseers for their valuables. Use your common sense and don't draw attention to yourself. Wearing a Hawaiian shirt, talking English loudly and waving your expensive video camera will mark you out as a tourist. Although you may be wide-eyed with wonder at the strange sights and sounds around you, you will notice everyone else wearing a uniform expression of boredom and misery. Looking around, making eye contact with strangers, even smiling to yourself--a Russian never does this."