Stage Manager’s Log
M.S. Prinsendam
Saturday, July 1, 2006
St. Petersburg, Russia – Day 3

I started today early, for me that is. I met up with Elena and Tom again at 0930 at the gangway and headed ashore. It was kind of funny because they didn’t think that I would make it there, that I would be asleep, but I was ready to get moving. We were going to try to take a cab like we did yesterday, but there weren’t enough people to make it worth the money so we hopped on the portworker’s shuttle and walked out of the port. We caught a Russian city shuttle which cost a whopping 15 rubles to get into town. (15 rubles is about 55 cents).

The Shuttle took us to a section of town we hadn’t seen before, but it was interesting. We stopped at a computer shop to get Elena a USB flash drive so that she could keep her show information in it. We walked around town to some of the major sites as well. We saw St. Isaac’s Cathedral and Alexander Park. We went to the statue of Peter the Great and a bunch of other places. As we walked around town we stopped at a market where Tom picked up some Russian beer and Elena picked up some Russian candies and vodka to take home to her family. There are certainly some interesting alcoholic drinks that you can buy at the supermarkets and even at street vendors. They sell gin and tonic is a bottle like soda. You can also get a 1 liter bottle of beer, and the beer is 8% alcohol by volume as opposed to the 5% in the US.

We walked back up to Nevsky Prospekt to a restaurant that we had seen yesterday. I have to say I find it interesting that they have a menu in English, but the wait staff only speak Russian. So, it was a good thing to be with Elena. Food is very inexpensive in Russia. It sounds like things are expensive because many items are over 100 rubles, but the exchange rate is 27 rubles to the dollar. You can get a lot of food for not to much money. I suppose that it goes along with what Elena was saying about how the Russian people don’t make as much money as we do, so things are less expensive. When we were talking about that it was in reference to the fact that many of the sites/events that require tickets or have an admission fee have a separate price for Russians. She said that things like theatre and opera and ballet are very important to the Russian people and that is why they try to keep it as affordable as possible.

After lunch Tom went off to look at a few things, and Elena and I went to a café for a cappuccino. While we were sitting there Celina walked by and we offered for her to join us, but she was on a mission for vodka before heading back to the ship. The fortuitous thing was that she had a cab coming for her at 1600 so we hopped in with her and shared the fare. After we got back to the ship we looked at some of the photos from the past two days, and I gave Elena some of the ones with her in them.

I also learned today that a bunch of the cruise staff had some camera trauma today. The first story we heard was from Amanda, the F1. Apparently she had her camera in a precarious place, and Cynthia turned around and knocked the camera into the canal. So some Russian guy offered to go in the canal ad get the camera for them for $100. They managed to get him to get the camera for $20, and they have photos and video of the event. The other camera trauma was that Peter left his camera in a taxi.

After dinner we had showtime, as usual. Tom Sutton, the same Tom I was going around town with, was on tonight. It is always nice to have a simple show, we turn on the mic and sit back and relax. Comedians are great. Today happens to be Canada Day so all the Canadian crew are happy. Basically it is an excuse to have a party and drink, but that is fun. I do think that I will try to get to bed at a reasonable time though because we have to be up for cabin inspection tomorrow morning. We do go an hour back tonight which is nice too.