For a map...
For a map of how to get there: Map Of Moscow
You can see where some of the scenes from The Master and Margarita were set. Having read Bulgakov's The Master & Margarita, when I was living in Cyprus and had it lying around the flat over there, my Russian friend knew of my love of this novel. He took me to the places featured in the book and brought them to life.
the changing face of Moscow
There is no doubt about it, the look and feel of Moscow is changing quickly, mostly because of a lot of redevelopment of older buildings, which are being torn (or burnt) down to make room for newer, and bigger ones.
Part of this trend is being driven by city hall and their family members that also own the biggest construction firm in Moscow. Technically, most of the land is not owned, but leased from the City of Moscow. However, this land trades on a murkish market, where present tenants suddenly find they have very few rights. For example, if a building is declared by city inspectors to be unsound, it may be torn down and a new one built. Of course, the current tenants have no right to live in the new building, and are instead resettled to outlying areas. There is a mini-industry of workers that go around doing structural inspections and repairs, but many suspect they are deliberately undermining sound foundations and roofs to make them uninhabitable and therefore subject to redevelopment. The local politicians and their cronies can then benefit handsomely from this construction.
Also in Moscow, bribes can account for up to two thirds of the price of a new building. The building code is so labryntine that it is basically impossible to follow all the regulations. Therefore, in order to complete a building on time and on budget, certain public figures are bribed. This can have disasterous consequences if the building is unsound because corners had to be cut in order to pay for the bribes and still remain competitive. This is suspected in the collapse of the water park last year killing hundreds and injuring more. No one yet, except the Turkish construction company has been charged. Whatever their role, they certainly were not the only ones who are to blame for this accident.
8 Get rid of your roubles when...
8 Get rid of your roubles when leaving. There is no market for this currency outise Russia. Give your spare cash to some Homeless maybe. There are so many - especially old people. Really sad. Makes you appreciate your own life.
Clothing and Fitting In
Clothing and Fitting In
If you want to blend into the crowd in Russia or the Ukraine pack nice clothing, especially if you are a women. See-through clothes would be even better.
Russian women dress to kill every day. We looked out of place in our scruffy travel clothes and that is how many people identified us as tourists.
Taco Bell in Moscow...a movaeable feast.
Moscow is full of enterprising people, At the top level of the Arbatskaya Metro stop I couldnt believe my eyes!!! A beautifull dark eyed Russian girl (OK,,her too) and pushcart with TACO BELL on it...red umbrella and all! I ordered one taco( TOCHNO!..the only thing on the menu LOL) as a 'test' and IT WAS THE REAL THING! They cost about 25 cents each in $USD and I flipped the girl a $10,,,she made 40 soft beef tacos(just like home) and I not only bought her out...but I had some unbelievably tasty souveniers to pass out along the way home to my flat on Gogolefskaya. I gave them to complete strangers on two occaisions and Peter and I ate like (Mexican Reyes)Mexican Kings that day..15 tacos apiece. But in true Russian fashion, though I looked daily I was never to see the TACO BELL pushcart again my entire trip! Did the Russ/Mex experiment flop?? Oh well I slept well knowing I did my best for international relations...
Aye carrumba comrad! Wheres my chalupa!!?