Today I am starting my fifth day in St. Petersburg. I am having a spectacular time. It rained a lot the first day, which turned out to be the “day of the city” with parades and throngs of people on the Nevski Prospect, with music and a lot of people having a good time. I am very impressed with the good nature of people here, despite the odd surly store clerk. I have figured out the subway system, the train system and am getting the lay of the land. I have been on two river and canal cruises (my favourite activity), visited the Peter and Paul fortress, the ethnographic museum, a few churches, and just logged many tens of kilometres walking. The city could not look better, with bright sunshine all yesterday and hopefully all day today. I plan to visit the Russian Museum (Russian painters, closed yesterday I found out), and the Hermitage, but it is too nice outside.Last night I saw a theatre performance of ?????????????? ???????????? and when it was over could still promenade in the warm summer evening, ending up in a bar where I could discuss politics with a somewhat inebriated local who blamed all western civilization for most things, going back to the attack on Constantinople by the crusaders, and along the way accusing Canadians of having killed all natives in contrast to the benevolent and kind treatment Russians have always extended to the people that were absorbed in to the Russian Empire. On the positive side he liked Canadian hockey, and I got to practice my Russian. He had his nose in my ear and his arm around me most of the time, and it was a little hard to make out his slurred speech, but I enjoyed it. He seemed to understand what I was saying since he strongly disagreed with most of it. On Thursday at 7.00 pm we are planning a meet up at the Teplo restaurant 45 Bolshoya Morskaya street. Maybe some of you can make it.