Home > Uncategorized > the ambassador will see you now

the ambassador will see you now

After what was a tumultuous journey home from Germany I have since got back in to the swing of things here in Russia.

On the first of February I attended an Australia Day dinner at a posh hotel hosted by the Australian Embassy here in Saint Petersburg. The main problem with this was that I didn’t have any good clothes to wear. The day before the dinner I called up the Consulate to ask about the dress code for the night. They told me that the dinner wasn’t the next day, as I’d thought, but instead it was that night at 6:30pm. That gave me about two hours to find a suit, get home and head off to a dinner with the ambassador???

Aus Day

I eventually found some clothes to wear in record time and was only about 10 minutes late to the do. I arrived, slightly sweaty under the pits, and got my named ticked off by the reception girls. Then I walked up some impressive stairs, past a random honour guard of Russian army personnel, to a brass band playing Waltzing Matilda and other Aussie folk songs. I then lined up to meet the Australian Ambassador and the Consular before entering the function hall.

Inside there was free booze, seafood and other things for the guests to have. The room was huge, had a large chandelier hanging from the ceiling and gold leaf on the walls. There were about 150 people there, all wearing suits and all considerably older than me. It was then that I asked myself what on earth I was doing there.

I looked around the room and saw no one I knew so I ended up meeting this Belgian businessman named Roman and had a chat to him for a while about chocolate and the French. Then I saw Tim, an Australian civil engineer working for a large Russian mining company, knocking back beers in the corner. I went and joined him and worked out we were two of about 10 Australians in the room, the rest being foreign diplomats or Russian businessmen.

Next the Ambassador and Consular, Sebastian – who speaks really good Russian – jumped on stage and started speaking about Australia’s incredible relationship with Russia. The Australian National Anthem played, of which I was only one who appeared to actually know the words, followed by the Russian Anthem.

While the event itself was nothing like the normal Aus Day celebrations at home – that usually involve getting pissed with your friends around a barbie -it was interesting to be involved in the whole thing.

The canal just outside my house last night

This week I went back to teaching. I now have a fresh group of students all with the same questions about me and my country. The number of times I’ve been asked what language we speak in Australia and if kangaroos really do hop down the street just goes to show how little the rest of the world knows about down under. And most of these questions aren’t only asked by Russians. The weather’s also been pretty warm for this time of year which makes watching people walking on icy footpaths with 5cm high heels on hilarious. I’ll try and get some video of some of the dramatic tumbles for next time for your enjoyment.

I found my camera, it was stashed in my backpack in a hidden pocket, so I’ll add the rest of the Germany pictures on the extras page.

Hopefully everyone’s managed to stay dry from the crazy weather back at home.

Matt

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  1. Kim
    February 6, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    5cm? Try 13cm ha

  2. Wayne G Walker
    February 7, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Great to hear that you mix it with the rich and more famous. How many carried guns? Did you actually know that kangaroos stuffed up the Australia Day race event at Hanging Rock. They bounced down the track during the first race, they couldnt get rid of them so they called it off.

  1. June 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm

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