Sunday, June 26, 2005

First night in Petrozavodsk

While we were waiting for our passports to be registered, we dropped by the hotel's cafe. The coffee served there was the best I had ever tasted anywhere. And this was just the appetizer for tastes to come.

We have this theory that the quality of food and drink has something to do with keeping things natural - such as the natural beauty of the women. Take Olga, the waitress who served us the coffee. She could easily have participated in the beauty pagant and won! It was quite tempting to mention this to her, but there was a natural reason why she wouldn't compete in the first place: She had nothing to prove. Natural beauty does not need to be proven, it just is. Only the most insecure actually NEED to compete for these titles, which is ironic, since self confidence is ultimately the one thing that is most important for winning.

We had dinner at Deja Vu (or "Dyezhavyå" as the Russian sign actually read). We had no luck getting their sandwhich with beef or beef "jal de gaule" which both wore supposed to be excellent. Indeed, they didn't have any beef in at all, so we landed on pork chops instead.

I was warned ahead of time about the mosquitos in Karelia. Either the rumours are highly exaggerated, or this one mosquito has a hell of a reputation. Because we could see only one.

While we were dodging this one particular little vampire, we declared "Babe Overload" at 22.49. This means that beautiful women had become the norm. Even the renown mamushkas were fit and looking good.

Amongs us ignorant westerners, it is frequently thought that the slavic gene pool should be credited for this. Upon arrival of our dinner, another revalation came to us: The food was pure. Unspoiled. Natural. And in correct proportions. Healthy yet naturally tasty. No monosodiumglutamate, not too much salt, only natural fat from the animal we ate, a good balance of vegetables. This could certainly play a large role.

After all, western food producers use chemicals to modify our food in order to gain an advantage on competitors. In the old Sovjet Union, this was not necessary, because food was delivered through the same system anyway.

For now, the food seemed to be pure still. We just pray that it will stay this way for years to come.

What makes Petrozavodsk a pearl is the lake front. While it's no beach, it features a mile long (or longer) promenade, lined with trees and monuments. Most of these monuments are gifts from friendship cities (or "twinned cities" as they say themselves) around the world. It was not without reason, that we decided this to be our first stop in the morning.

But first, a good night sleep was in order. And for once we got decently sized pillows, another Sovjet leftover. Quality pillows so heavy you need both hands to lift them, and please watch your back.

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