Thursday, April 13, 2017

Vegas and St Petersburg

It's February 2014, and I am about to get on a plane to Vegas. The conference is at the Hard Rock hotel. Disneyland goes through excessive effort to make sure that almost every angle of the theme park is photogenic. This hotel has tried to do the same thing, it's all in the details. As much as I like the themed ATM Machines:

I'm more partial to the Rock N Roll Memorabilia, like Lita Fords outfit or the infamous Britney Spears Hit Me Baby outfit.

It's a three-day conference, I'm only there for two. I have an early flight out to St. Petersburg the next morning.

Before my flight, the Russian cab driver tells me that whatever I do, don't get in a cab without a pre-agreed price. It turns out that this is the best advice I have gotten. My hotel sends a driver for about $20 US, my co-worker arrives after being fleeced for close to $140.00 for a 3 Km ride.

St. Petersburg is cold, as expected, but beautiful and filled with Soviet era artwork and statues.

I have a short window on my last day there to see the Hermitage. It was the winter palace of the Czar, and after I walk through it's oppulance and extravagance, I understand why it was overthrown. They lived like *that* while their people were outside starving. It was only a matter of time.

However, the remains of the palace is an incredible museum filled with the spoils of war, and the work of masters.

It's early and it's winter, so I am mostly alone in the rooms of Picassos and Gaugins with only a short woman glaring at me telling me not to touch anything. I smile at her and try to say that I know not to touch it. But that doesn't keep me from examining the final brush stroke flourishes, or the barely noticeable details.

This piece is the works most complicated and ornate clock. Rather than describe it, I'll refer you to this explanation which is pretty thorough:

The rest of my pictures are here.

I have to leave earlier than I want to, I probably should spend at least two days there. But I have to be in Amsterdam that evening.

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