I had gone to Russia in late October 1997, to do a banking consultation. My primary memories from that trip are: darkness, cigarette smoke, and excellent dumplings.
It seemed much different this time. Perhaps it was the wonderful light, bright "Kremlin view" room, overlooking St. Basil's cathedral (for which I paid a whopping $3 extra). Perhaps it was the incredible Georgian food I had one night, or the walk through Red Square at midnight during a light snow. Perhaps it was the fact that it was both warmer and less snowy than Philadelphia was that week, and/or that none of my colleagues smoked. Whatever it was, I had a blast. Now I'm back, and I need to do my homework--develop some proposals that will turn into projects that will allow me to return.