Subject: Re: Good For A Laugh
Dear Jane and Ziners,

Your Aeroflot story reminded me of when we took a 4 day cruise from Helsinki to St. Petersburg on the Russian Baltic Lines in 1994. The trip was organized by convenors of a conference we were attending in Turku, Finland and we were supposed to tour St. Petersurg by day and sleep on board the ship at night. When we first arrived at the ship, a porter grabbed our suitcases which were quite large and heavy and followed us up the plank and to our cabin with a suitcase under each arm. We were quite impressed by his physical strength. Our cabin unfortunately was far less impressive. It was a tiny room with a set of bunk beds. The electricity didn't work and there was no running water in the sink. When we complained about the room we were told to wait for the Passenger Relations Director who would come to our room to inspect it. About a half hour later a rather heavy set, dour Russian lady showed up at our door and after trying the switches and faucets, told us in a brusque, somewhat clipped way that she could offer us another cabin but it didn't have a porthole. At that point we just wanted a room that had electricity and readily agreed to switch rooms. The second cabin turned out to be much better, slightly larger with twin beds and everything worked. That evening as we sailed to St. Petersburg, we decided to catch the only entertainment offered aboard ship. A crowd had gathered around a woman who was singing arias from several operas. As we approached closer, I thought the woman looked vaguely familiar. She was dressed in a long gown and full makeup. And then it hit me - the opera singer was our Passenger Relations Director and next to her playing the accordian was our super strong porter! The next morning our porter was also serving breakfast in the dining room.

Talk about multi-tasking.

Etta in Toronto