The Top 10 Reasons Why Eddie Izzard Should Have Lunch with Me:

February 4, 2010

My mother has a Ph.D. in Neuro-Linguistics and will give him a 50% discount on Educational Therapy guaranteed to cure Dyslexia and reduce his heavy reliance on the words jam, badger, and biscuit.
I have the only 8 year-old on the planet who does spot-on Eddie Izzard impersonations, including the parts in French.
We’re the same height [...]

Read the full article →

Dining and Dozing in Ukraine

January 31, 2010

After a pleasant day on foot in downtown Kiev we set our sights on a Georgian restaurant for dinner.  In both Russia and Ukraine dining out in the evening bears little resemblance to American restaurant meals.  Dinner, even at less expensive restaurants, takes hours to complete.  In the U.S., in many ways we’ve moved too [...]

Read the full article →

Notes from Kiev: Avoid Underground Food Halls

January 26, 2010

Lunch on Day One in Ukraine involved our dreadful guide instructing our minivan driver to pull over near the entrance to an underground shopping mall.  The food hall portion of this mall had FOOD POISONING written all over it in both Cyrillic and English so that even I could read the signage.  My gastro-intestinal system [...]

Read the full article →

Ukraine: Ready or Not, Here We Come

January 25, 2010

It was Tuesday and time for another internal transfer, this time from Russia to Ukraine.  Just days before our departure, a Russian plane from Moscow to Siberia had crashed on the runway, 127 dead.  It was all we could do to march ourselves off to our flight.  The Moscow airport was far more comfortable than [...]

Read the full article →

Ah, the Kremlin

January 25, 2010

As a former National Security Policy junky, going inside the Kremlin in post-Soviet Russia is a bit bizarre.  I came of age in the early 1980s when the Iron Curtain was made of iron, the Cold War brought shivers to every warm-blooded American and when all bright international policy and political science students (me) stayed [...]

Read the full article →

Seeing the Moscow Sights

November 22, 2009

Our Moscow guide, Svetlana, initially seemed uptight and perilously soft-spoken but she quickly warmed to us and was in fact bright, well informed and even just an eency-teency bit funny.  Safely ensconced in yet another minibus we drove all over the vast city marveling at the massive monuments, gawking at the gorgeous renovated churches and [...]

Read the full article →

Red Square

November 18, 2009

Getting into the city of Moscow took far less time than in St. Petersburg because there was no need to stand in the endless passport line (and I use the word “line” loosely) and our bags (and this time we were quite sure to double check that they were in fact OUR bags) appeared quite [...]

Read the full article →

Can You Get There from Here? St. Petersburg to Russia

November 12, 2009

One week into our three weeks in Russia the seven of us sat in the lobby of our hotel filled with trepidation about the plane transfer from St. Petersburg to Moscow. I had gone back and forth multiple times with my U.S. travel agent about our options for this part of the voyage. [...]

Read the full article →

East Meets West

November 9, 2009

I’m going to take a break from my travel diaries today and talk for a moment about why we went to Russia. We made the long trip between Los Angeles and Russia for three primary reasons. First, it was a trip home to the land from whence my father’s parents had fled. [...]

Read the full article →

Peterhof, Monplaisir and The Great Cascade

November 6, 2009

Our last day in St. Petersburg found us in the hotel lobby meeting “Anton,” the least capable of our ever-changing Russian guides. We were off to a hydrofoil that would carry us from St. Petersburg to Peterhof, a 35-minute ride across a portion of the Gulf of Finland. The views were grand but the boat [...]

Read the full article →