1/17/2020, St. Petersburg, Dragon
Because St. Petersburg has a coastal temperate continental climate, the weather here was relatively cozy and livable compared to that in Moscow where it was dry. I was greeted by the gentle breeze as soon as I set my foot on the street with ancient buildings standing on either side. They were huge in size but not thin skyscrapers. I was thinking of the feeling of no end they impressed upon me when it suddenly hit on me that the buildings were so close to each other like scales on a fish or the teeth of a comb. Thus, it was easy for a tourist to get lost in the central district. Before I got to the bus stop with navigation, I found myself back to the start after turning in the same directions.
My first destination was Issac Cathedral. Right before I went to the entrance, two guys who dressed up like soldiers in Anderson’s fairytales stopped me with gestures. They knew how to say ‘Hello’ in Chinese and we talked a little bit in English. Everything seemed normal until they kindly asked to take a photo together. It was apparent like the nose on your face that they were going to charge after photographing. After repeated refusal, I went straight away swiftly.
No sooner had I entered the cathedral, I was amazed by the splendid murals and brilliant decorations. I would have been shouting ‘awesome’ at this sight if I had been Panda Paul. Even though I was not good at aesthetics, I could tell their elegance by the lifelike details. Each stationary character in different poses seemed telling an old story. Religion made people devout and everyone was keeping their voice down under the dome. In the inner room where photography was banned stood a book sculpture. I saw that men and women touched and even kissed it after saluting it with their heads down in silence. After they walked away, I stared at the complicated signs for a while but got no response. Obviously, god would not have been divine out of reach if god had answered to everyone easily.
On my way to New Holland Island, a large park in the near neighborhood, there was an interesting episode. While I was shooting a picture on the bridge, much to my surprise, one of the construction workers passing by greeted me in Chinese. In response, I said “Здравствуйте” incorrectly and all his mates burst into laughter.
It was late in the afternoon when I finally got to New Holland Island. There were loads of people coming in and going out. Many entertaining facilities were under construction, but still the park held in store plenty of fun for new comers. I saw kids swing, couples sitting on benches and a pair of guys playing chess. Although I did not know who dominated in the international chess, I might well say that one of them had employed ‘king car translocation’. As night fell, more and more ice-skaters appeared and they were showing off their skills while I was only able to record this scene because I had never tried it before.
It was really a pity that I hardly tried any traditional Russian dishes. Someone kind recommended a fancy restaurant inside the park to me but I did not find it was a western restaurant until I was given the menu. As I had already put away my coat and sit back, it was like ‘An arrow fitted to the bowstring cannot avoid being discharged’. What was worse, the high prices really fed me up, rather than the food.
Following guidance, I meant to go to Palace Square, though I did not remember which direction I was in. The good side to arriving at Palace Square at night was I could barely see the ground and the people on it but the shining palaces. In contrast, the bad side was I could not get into Winter Palace. It was great fun to guess what people were doing by their gestures. Out of the people who sang, danced and rapped, I liked the one in carriages most. She drove people around and made them feel like Cinderella favored by prince. In the middle of the square towered a statue of an angel holding a cross. Just like answering his calls, on the top of the surrounding walls were bronze warriors lined up.
After walking through the huge arch, I saw many street artists, people who drew portraits, people who play instruments and so on. In a way, St. Petersburg was truly a romantic city with all the art and artists to be seen everywhere. As a qualified passerby to this city, I admired the music and art from far away.