Posts Tagged ‘Vaccine’

The past week

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

St.Petersburg, November 12 2008 – Idea for a video piece

Today I went to the Kazan cathedral again, to try to locate a priest or something who speaks English. I figured I’d try to get an interview about the youth work in the orthodox church in Piter, for my little video project, and maybe also get permission to film inside the cathedral. (Which is strictly forbidden, but I thought maybe, since it’s for a church…) My host gave me a note in Russian, which explained what I wanted, and I took it to the cathedral. After a while, they found a priest who spoke a little French, but seeing as my active French vocabulary can fit on two lines, it didn’t do me much good. We managed as much, however, as establishing that an English speaking priest would be there in about two hours.

So I walked up Nevsky Prospekt, spent a couple of hours in the Hermitage (looking at art and old stuff, I might say something about that later), and returned to the Kazan cathedral. One block up the street I found a Lutheran church, that had a gathering later that night, so a plan started forming in my mind, making a little piece that could maybe compare the little lutheran church and it’s work with the big orthodox cathedral across the street.

When I got back to the cathedral, it had been about two and a half hours, but there was a mass at the time, so I waited till it was done, and then presented my little note again. It turned out that the guy who spoke English had NOT been taking part in the mass, and had left ten minutes earlier, while I’d been sitting in on the mass. I got contact with one of the priests, however, he might have been about my age. His wife spoke English, so he called her, I explained to her what I needed, and she in turn told him, who answered her, and she told me that there was an English speaking deacon, Father Georgy, who was the one who’d just been there. The priest got my number, and would ask Father Georgy to call me, so we could set up a meeting.

With that promise, I went across the street to the St.Petri lutheran church, and found the meeting they were having. There were a handful of people in the youth room upstairs in the church, and they were having Taizé prayer in both Russian and German. I joined in, and with my rather limited German managed to follow the program. After the prayer, they had tea and cookies, and they were very curious who this stranger was. The youth pastor there, Tatiana, told me about the congregation and their work there, and she and her colleague Elena agreed to tell me a bit about it on tape. Tatiana was also interested in getting in touch with my congregation back home,  and explore possibilities of further contact! She struck me as a genuinely enthusiastic person, with a burning desire to do new things to keep building the congregation, in other words a wonderful youth pastor! I will certainly pass on the contact info and wishes!

Unfortunately Father Georgy never called, so I’m not entirely sure what to do with the takes from St.Petri in St.Petersburg, but I will keep them, and see if I can find another way of using it.

St.Petersburg, November 13 – Guided by  my host

When I got home last night, I was home alone, because my host was in Uzbekistan. (She’s a flight attendant) She got back early in the morning, and went straight to bed. When I got up, I took a good long time, because my feet have become a little sore from all the walking, so I didn’t want to get right back out. In any case, I was waiting for a phonecall from Father Georgy.

Since Natalia’d had night shift, she had the day off, and we spent it together. She helped me get to a medical office so I could get my second dose of Hep B vaccine, and we went to look for the office of Privjet in St.Petersburg, in case they could register my visa. (It was the office of a partner of Privjet, and they couldn’t)
We had dinner at a restaurant, went home and brought some beers, and watched the movie Mongol.

Novgorod, November 14 2008 – Novgorod, founded by vikings

Today was YET ANOTHER late morning. It shouldn’t be that hard to adjust to a two hour time difference, should it? Anyway, I went to the bus station, bought a ticket for Novgorod, had to wait an hour for the next bus, and now I’m here.
My host Aleksej picked me up at the bus station, and took me home to where he lives with his family. They seem really nice, and they want to do everything for me, and Aleksej tries to make them relax… 🙂

Once again I’ve forgotten that it’s later than it feels, and I’m putting down my computer a little before 3 am…

It’s starting to dawn on me that this is for real…

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

On Tuesday I had my last day of work, so I am now officially unemployed.

Today I got vaccinated with four inoculations against yellow fever, Hep A + Hep B, Meningococcus A-C-W-Y, and Typhoid fever, and an ingested vaccine against cholera and ETEC, and I bougt prophylaxis for malaria. Vaccination makes an effective diet for your travel account. This ordeal set me back NOK 2790,- (EUR 337,-)

Speaking of dieting travel accounts, I also went to my insurance company today, to extend my travel insurance from the normal three months to a year. I almost fell off my chair when the lady, rather apologetically I thought, told me that this would cost me the rather large sum of NOK 20870,-!!! (EUR 2520,-)
I laughed, picked up my things, told her that it was ridiculous and left. I assumed beforehand that 12 months of travel insurance would amount to about four times 3 months of travel insurance. Silly me…
Well, when I got home, just now, I quickly googled backpacker insurance, and the very first hit there was a company called Gouda (!) that sells travel insurance through Their price for a world-wide 12 months continuous travel insurance ended up at NOK 11515,- (EUR 1390,-).  This is still expensive of course, but at almost half the price of Gjensidige it is the cheapest I’ve been able to find so far. I’ll have to compare their terms, but I suspect I’ll end up with the Gouda insurance, if I don’t get any offers that can beat their price.

For visas to Russia, Mongolia, China and Nepal, I have been in contact with the people at I sent them an email on Aug 18 to see whether they could help me. On Aug 20 they answered positively, so I figured I was all set. On Sept 8 I replied that I was interested in their services for visas to the aforementioned four countries. By Sept 19 I had still not heard from them, so I called and asked how things were going. The guy (Helge) was very sorry that he hadn’t had time to process my request, but promised to get right on it, and suggested I sent a new email so I’d get on the top of his inbox. I then forwarded the message I’d sent 11 days earlier, and waited for a reply. A week later (Sept 26) I had not had any response, so I called again. Helge was in Moscow at a conference, but I was told to resend the email, and he’d get back to me on Monday. (this was a Friday) So I re-re-sent the email, and got an immediate reply from Helge:

Am in Moscow right now, will be back in the office on Monday. Have just gone through the Transsiberian/Transmongolian with our partner, so I can give you some good feedback on Monday. Sorry this took so long. Helge.

That was on Friday a week ago. I called them on Wednesday, since I hadn’t gotten any feedback yet. Helge apologized again, and said I’d get a quote before the day was over. I called him again this morning, Oct 3, and he seemed confused as to why I hadn’t gotten the quote on Wednesday afternoon, and promised to look into it immediately. This is actually on the verge of me having to postpone departure because of these guys, so if I don’t have a quote from them by the end of the weekend, when the travel agencies open, I’ll have to find someone else…

Right now, I’m off to take my PADI Rescue Diver theoretical course and exam, the practical excercises are tomorrow.