Food, transport, sleeping, directions, advertisements, understanding of basic information without speaking the language and being able to read… The first day, I was pretty lost in St. Petersburg. Quickly checking the metro plan, njet. Having a look on the menu – next time. And so on.
Then I started to recognise words – ketchup, congress, forum, lift. As of the second day, it was almost like a puzzle. More and more parts being unveiled, completing the picture. Although more often than not, the picture of something incomprehensible. Because being able to read the word, does not include knowing what it means. Still, after recognizing Internet, Restauran (without the ‘t’ at the end), Bar, Club and taking the right metro in the right direction several times, life was starting to be normal again.
If now, I only manage to learn a few words going beyond yes, no, you are welcome and thanks, to not stand that helpless in front of people, everything is going to be alright.
Being officially for work in Piter, I only had one day for visiting. But what a great visit I got. If ever you’re looking for a guided walking tour through the city, go for Peter’s one. It’s done by students, in English and can last any time between 2 and – in our case – 5 hours. OK, I admit that included two breaks but we deserved them.
We did see a lot. A walk as much by the river and by hidden secrets as through the court yarts and big streets. I did not bother too much remembering names of squares, parks or churches. It was more to get a general impression of and feeling for the city. So that I’m prepared for coming back in September. Then, Petershof and Eremitag will be on the agenda.
when all the football players of your favourite team are younger than you. Or almost.
Remember the times when you would look up to this experienced team with its tough defense, the brilliant striker and the always reliable goalkeeper? Only to think now that these youngsters are playing to win the cup.
And here we go again, elections in Belgium. Last weekend, I discussed with a French speaking politician being on the list of the Flemish socialists party. We’ve been debating why so many expats don’t care about Belgian politics – no right to vote – and how to change this – give it to them. We came to the conclusion that foreigners should be allowed to vote in the regional elections after living 5 years in the country. Though she explained me that especially the parties from Wallonia would disagree as a lot of their representatives don’t speak sufficient English while she was – évidemment – tri-lingual.
Belgium, in the end, might be a bit strange but still…
It has started. After all the time with tedious articles about delayed stadiums, unsafe townships and the usual stereotypes, the World Cup has finally begun. Even though I fear that the media have prepared the perfect ground for every purse robbery to be qualified as proof of how much safer it would have been in Europe, I hope and wish that it will be a great cup. And that bafana bafana makes it at least in the second round.
For all those that are willing to try their football knowledge, support their favourite team or just want to see how others get it totally wrong, you are hereby invited to join a free worldcup football pool (please ignore the subtitle).
Simply go to www.wcpool.com, register and join the subleague ‘Gugulethu’. If you have any trouble, questions, suggestions; leave them in the comments and I shall come back to you.
May the best win,
PS: The winner gets a box of football shaped chocolates. Or something like that…