sam and i went to the anthropology and ethnography museum near the end of last week. and of course it was the coldest weather we have had probably all winter so far and we had to stand in line OUTSIDE for over an hour and a half waiting to get in. (holiday time so there are lots of people from all over Russia visiting SPB, so the lines were crazy. we should have thought of that.)
the little awning near the middle of the photo is where the entrance is
it was 15F (real temp) but the weather forecast says the "feels like" temp was 2F. after about an hour i was ready to give up because i couldn't feel my toes anymore except for the fact that i felt pain in them. and of course right about the time i wanted to give up (after an hour) it was 1:30pm and there was a sign on the door that said they take a technical break from 1:30-2pm. and i really had to go to the bathroom. there was a sign on the door that said the toilet inside the museum was out of order. great. i seriously was about to cry. they had port-o-potties behind the museum and finally Sam convinced me to just give them a try. it actually wasn't so bad...i think all the germs that make those kinds of things smell must have all been frozen because it didn't smell at all and there was actually paper - which is more than i can say for most INSIDE bathrooms in SPB.
Of course when the clock struck 2:00 and they opened the doors it was a free-for-all and the "line" which was more of a mob nearest the front (which we were finally part of by this time) surged forth and jammed through the doors pushing and pulling as per Russian tradition. I lost Sam for a few seconds in the may lay, but he made it in the doors somewhere behind me. at least we were inside.
anyway, the waiting sucked, but the museum was nice. it wasn't the best museum i've ever been to, but there is one exhibit that makes it pretty unusual for most museums. Peter the Great was really interested in anatomy and so he made a decree that people should collect and bring him all kinds of anomalies so they could be studied and to combat the common idea that birth defects resulted from people being cursed. so this one room of the museum has his huge collection of things in jars - lots of babies with rare birth defects, the skeleton of a calf with two heads, and other anatomy/science stuff. Sam had heard about this room and that's why we had wanted to go to the museum in the first place. basically the rest of the place is pretty much like any other museum, but that one room was pretty unusual and interesting. i think especially for Sam. (although it's also kind of freaky to be walking around looking at babies in jars) but i do see the use of studying them. there was actually something on one of the placards that i read explaining why Peter the great collected these things and it was what explained that he wanted to combat the idea that the defects came from devil's curses. and it had a quote of something he wrote and it said something like, these defects aren't from the devil, because we know that God is the Creator of the body and the devil doesn't have that kind of power. it was much more eloquent of course, but that was the idea. i thought that was pretty interesting. here are some of my favorite pictures of our day. There are more on my flickr site. (no photos in that one room i described, so don't worry.)
this has got to be one of my all time favorite pictures of Sam
me and a friend
Sam and his friend
The Neva River at sunset on the way home
Waiting for the bus
Arriving at home