How to blend easier with Russian in St. Petersburg
Having plan to go on vacation? Want to visit one of the best architectural and historical cities in Russia? Have you ever experienced a quite breathtaking and attractive tourist destination which is also belong to World Heritage site of UNESCO? Yes, that is well described about St. Petersburg.
Located in the northern part of Russia, the second largest city in Russia after Moscow, it is inhabited by around 5 million of local people. The city is well known as the “Venice of the North” as it is well surrounded by canals, worth it to admire numerous bridges by a boat package or just walk around. Not only that, you must visit a great museum of Hermitage. It is the iconic heritage of St. Petersburg, one of the world’s great museums, displaying many valuable and priceless artwork of Rembrandt, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Rubens and more. Besides, there are also unique churches and, temples spread around. If you are already full of cultural place, complete your journey by coming and seeing the famous opera or ballet performance at the closest theatre in the City.
So, are you ready to explore St. Petersburg, Russia? Don’t be afraid of meeting new people there, as the 6 tips below would help you to blend easier with Russian in St. Petersburg.
1. Don’t wear anything flashy
Although St. Petersburg is well known for its modern city, fashion is just a different matter. The Russian style isn’t about gaudy and flashy outfit, especially in everyday casual look. It is about long classy and just simple outfit. When you really want to blend in, try to match with their style. The best and the safest colour is neutral shade, it fits every weather well and looks simply sophisticated. Trust me, white, gray, black, beige will work best. For instance; wear black jeans, jumpers, hoodies, that kind of thing. You can also add a knit cap (in a non- descript colour of course).
Besides the choosing of color, the second is about how much is your clothing. Better to wear something cheap but look expensive. It’s such contradictory enough, a fact that 45% of Russians live in poverty, most of them who walks on the streets cannot afford anything and the other sides are wealthy people, they would be likely ride a car and comfortably sit while enjoying their morning newspaper. This is the reason that the safest thing to blend easier with the local majority there is by wearing something neutral. By doing so, you can walk and enjoy the vacation calmly without being afraid of crowd assault in the street, train and attract people attention at rush hour.
2. Watch your gait
This might be simple thing, but don’t think as that simple. As you are foreigner in a different country with its different culture, you must respect and pay attention to their way of life. As for your information, people in Russia are mostly not as tall as the western people like Netherlands or United States. They usually walk in a slouch style. It might be because of their bad posture or just their habit. So, based from that, I suggest you to always be slouched. It also applicable when you enter the Metro train. Try to blend in well, whether they might find you as one gaze that you are foreigner by just your gait. But at least you don’t look that strange.
3. Do everything in a hasty manner
It is such a big cities culture, not only in St. Petersburg. People tend to walk faster, eat faster and shop faster. Like a nonstop cities, 24 hours will never enough for doing their activities. Russian people also apply the same thing. Rather than walk slowly and sightseeing around or even hang out, they would rather walk real fast and catch their appointment. This rule is important, applicable not only in the walking pace, but also in your eating habit, paying your supermarket fee and so on.
4. Hide your excitement
Being in a brand new place is likely make you feel hype and excited. But if you really want to blend in this Russian culture, you have to control your glee. Why you have to do so? Russian is known for its cold gaze, they rarely smile, especially to the strangers. It would be drawing much attention when they find a strangers walking around, smile joyfully. So instead, it better to try facial expression of people who watch everything but the look of his face seems like nothing particular or special. Hard to do but try to practice.
5. Don’t be too polite
A “sorry” (Russian: izvinitie) is reserved for cases of severe inconvenience to others. Whether your background really valued warm tradition, like custom rules to be friendly, polite, help others, say thanks, sorry and so on, I emphasized once more that Russian people has the well-known tradition, that they are not smile much on public. They also don’t take seriously a simple matter like being polite. For example in a crowded public transport, when you accidentally touch someone else elbow, don’t say sorry every time you did this, it’s really not your fault. Then when you should say your apologize, let me give an example ; when you hardly fall on someone and both of you hit the floor, you should get up and bravely say your sorry.
6. Don’t worry, be happy
After long preparation, whether physically, mentally, knowledge about culture, hospitality and living cost, it’s time to get ready and be happy. After long research, you must be prepared with everything possible there, in case you get lost, you should have equipped with modern apps. Don’t be so worry, in this digital world, all you can find in Google, no need to stand round looking at giant map, or get confused with all street sign written in Russian, or even get overly priced taxi because of non-native Russian. Its time for you to be happy, because you’ve already installed all the map, Uber taxi, and online guide you need.
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