St. Petersburg, Day 2: White nights, Big City

Russia White Nights

Photo from my iPhone - 10:45 p.m.

One of the more interesting things about St. Petersburg is that during the months of June and July, the days are so long that it appears that the sun doesn’t even set!  The picture to the right was taken at 10:45 p.m. as I headed out to meet up with some classmates who were watching the World Cup match at the Tinkoff Brew Pub.

The 10:45 picture doesn’t even really do the scene justice; even though the foreground is pretty dark, I purposely left the picture as-is to give the feel of the skyline.  Around the Philadelphia area of the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., I would estimate that an 8- 8:30 p.m. sky would be equivalent.

As the game progressed around me (I couldn’t care less about soccer!), it was extremely difficult to keep track of time.  The brew pub was relatively dark  due to having the windows blocked off.  It wasn’t quite a movie theater level of darkness… when you looked at the windows, you could still see small cracks of the light filtering through.  Imagine my surprise when the crew decided to leave at 1:30 and it still wasn’t dark outside!

Russia White Nights early morning

Photo from my iPhone - 1:30 a.m.

As we walked back to the hotel, I snapped the picture on the left.  While you can see the sky has gotten darker, at the horizon it still appears that the sun hasn’t set.  From talking with a few people, this occurs because St. Petersburg (as well as Oslo Norway and Alaska) is so far North that the sun doesn’t get far enough below the horizon to show a full darkness.  It’s amazing that anyone sleeps at all here during June and July!  From my few days here, the streets have plenty of people walking around well into the night, enjoying the cool air and atmosphere.  There’s also a ceremony/tradition of sorts, where you can go to the river around 1 a.m. and watch the drawbridges go up for the night.  Now that my video camera is charged, I might have to check that out before I leave…

If you’ve read this far, obviously I haven’t mentioned school yet!  The first class for Managerial Accounting started the day, and I must say that I’m going to enjoy Managerial Accounting WAY MORE than Financial Accounting.  Whereas Financial Accounting is a series of rules that don’t necessarily have any logical reasoning, Managerial Accounting focuses on how to obtain information that is useful for on-going business operations.  Fantastic!  I’ll leave the bookkeeping to others (and/or software programs!)

Day 2 also marked the last class EVER for Global Markets and Institutions.  Having completed this class so unceremoniously (no final or assignments, just listened to lectures for the past few semesters), I’m sure what to really think of the format or usefulness of this course. Perhaps my prior economics background skews my viewpoint, but I’m inclined to say that it wasn’t very useful.  While the foundation of the class makes sense, the choppy nature of the delivery (in-between semesters, a few hours at each residency) kept the class from talking about anything in-depth.  Maybe others found the topical nature to be useful, but I would’ve preferred a lot more rigor; reading the WSJ every day or watching CNBC would’ve provided the same information at a much lower cost.

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