Wednesday, August 26, 2009


In yesterday's post I failed to tell everyone of our flight over.

We left Salt Lake City at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday August 18 and flew into Denver. We left Denver around 6 p.m. to Frankfurt, Germany. That was an extremely loooong flight! We arrived in Frankfurt Wednesday afternoon. We flew on Luftsana Airlines. It was a comfortable flight for the most part. Each seat had their own headset with personal tv screen that they could choose from several different movies to watch. Joe was able to watch educational movies most of the way over, however, I could not watch movies so close because it caused me to feel dizzy. I tried to sleep most the way to keep my stomach calm. When it became dark outside it was easier to sleep. I think we both got about 2 hours good sleep and then we had flown into a new time zone and the sun was out in all its glory. We flew through several time zones. We are just now feeling like we are on normal sleep patterns again.

We had a 2 hour lay over in Frankfurt then boarded a bus from the terminal and it took us out where the planes were parked. They don't park them like Bellingham or Seattle at a terminal, they're sitting out on the tarmack. the bus followed a line on the cement while other vehicles seemed to have their own lines to follow. We departed off the bus and walked up a flight of stairs into the plane. Joe and I don't even remember leaving the ground, we were both fast asleep as soon as we were buckled in our seats.

We arrived in St. Petersburg a couple of hours later. We had to fill out a swine flu form to turn in to the airline personnel before departing the plane. We also had custom papers to fill out as well as immigration information. Once we entered the terminal (much smaller than we expected) our luggage was already on the conveyor belt. We loaded up a cart and had to go through immigration and get a special orange stamp that is part of our very important papers we have to keep on us at all times.

When we came out of the terminal onto the sidewalk there were 4 young elders there to greet us. We were soooo happy to see other Americans. We greeted them with, "Family!" They laughed and happily greeted us. Elder Holm had been temporarily handling the finances and was soooo happy to see Joe! We loaded into a van and our driver, Igor, sped through the streets to the church building so fast I had to hold on to a handle. There seems to be only one speed - as fast as you can go. We've seen many cars drive on the sidewalks to get through traffic jams. So we watch before we cross a street - and - walking on the sidewalks.

The Neva River runs directly in front of our building. Our apartment building is next to the church building. Each building is very tall. (Again, pictures to come).

Joe and I have spent each day walking about 5 - 10 miles to get food and/or money from the ATM to cover expenses. Our first Saturday here when we went downtown to see a bit of St. Petersburg, we had walked 10 miles. (I miss my chiropractor!!!) We both feel better otherwise by all the walking we are doing.

There is a large bridge going over the Neva river that most of the times we've crossed over a newly married couple are in the middle of it being photographed while cars are speeding by. I guess its a popular wedding ceremonial thing.

Joe and I discovering more and more of our responsibilities in the office and our minds are spinning a bit more today. It's coming along though.

Please email us if anyone has questions that we're not including in our blog. I'm sure we're not covering everyone's curiosity, so please let us know.

We send our love to family and friends.

1 comment:

  1. Great photos Elder and Sister Luna, Thanks for that account about the traffic and driving habits of the local residents. Are you SURE you're not in Guatemala City??? That's how we lived for those challenging 18 months there. I got to be very good at dodging the oncoming "cattle stampede" that were all trying to see how many pedestrians they could take out that were walking across the crosswalk. It's all in the timing. Red means stop, green means go but yellow means...floor-board it and race through everything. The sidewalks were "extra lanes" for the motorcycles and very small cars that figured they had a clear shot. The 45 km/hr speed limit was perceived as 120 miles/hr. Speed laws were not enforced so the "sky was the limit". In Guatemala, the definition of an "instant" was: The amount of time it took between when the first car at the head of the lane started to go through the green signal light and the amount of time that every vehicle around and in back of the lead car started continually blasting their car horn (we called it the Guatemala Symphony)