This shop in the cruise-port of Kazan is a good example for the way that many shop-owners are still running their business : In the morning we arrived very early and the shop was still closed !
OK, I could see it will be open, when we come back from the tour. I had a look into their window and was surprised by the variety of drinks including Beers, Kvas ( a refreshing russian drink that tastes a bit like caramel, KBAC is the russian spelling) and mineral water in all sizes, with and without gas.
BUT when we came back the shop did NOT sell anything out of this great choice, all they sold was Coca-Cola, Fanta and similar drinks in small bottles, that they had on display in a refigerator in front of the shop.
So you would have to open the fridge outside of the shop,take the bottle, show it to the lady at the counter, pay and go.
There was absolutely no way to convice the lady to sell me one of the bottles of mineral water without gas (unfortunately the ship had run out of it and I was hoping to get some of it here).
B.t.w. dont expect to have all of the choice of goods, fruits and products of everyday life in every place in Russia like you might find it in Moscow and St.Petersburg nowadays !! The cruisedirector told us that it is absolutely impossible to get enough food and drinks for such a ship outside of these 2 cities. And so after a few days they had totally run out of "Mineralnaja woda bez gas"
The stewardess gave to all foreigners this small paper in the plane just before landing. It is a small piece of paper consists of two parts. One is for arrival, the other is for departure. You have to fill this form with your personal information like name, date of birth, passport number, visa number, duration of stay, location of stay, etc. These parts are taken by the officer at the passport control at your arrival and departure. If you don’t have your copy, you cannot pass the control!
There is another thing about the passport controls in Kazan. After I checked in to my hotel, the receptionist took my passport. They said they have to register it. I've never experienced something like that, and I was a little bit anxious. It was disturbing not to have your passport by yourself. First thing in the morning, I went to the reception and took my passport back. I think there is too much control in Kazan.
I traveled to Kazan with Tatar Airlines. Even the stewardess didn’t speak English. When I realized that, I understood that I’ll have a communication problem. Luckily Tatar is a Turkic language. It helped me a lot when English was not helpful. We have a lot of words in common and the rest can be understood with senses.
People –even young people- doesn’t speak English. I communicated by using body language in National Museum and Kazan Hermitage. For my chance all the people around was so helpful. They all tried hard to understand me and make me understand them.
I visited Kazan in December. There was already a snow layer on the ground for weeks. The weather is generally so cold in winter, so the snow always stays after first snow fall. All the streams and lakes were frozen. The temperature was -15ºC during my stay. At my first day outside, I took some photos and I run out off battery. I changed the battery and it finished after a few photos, too. I thought I had forgotten to charge them and gave up. I returned to my hotel and I tried to open my camera. Surprise! The battery was full! It was just because of the temperature!
This was my first experience with this much cold. So I was really excited about the consequences. The second day, I put the spare battery to my inner pocket to keep it warm and I kept the camera inside my other pocket. I entered some museums several times and I warmed up the battery in my hands many times. This way I could take some photos of Kazan.
I’m a little bit concerned about my camera and batteries. I hope cold didn’t harm them.
I have been several times in Kazan. Beleive me there is no danger at all for a tourist. As problem, the only problem is : you have to speak russian or you have no chance to communication with people. As photographer I loved the streets and lovely people who trys to help you in any condition. As I have long hairs, some peoples warned me to be carefull at night times because some youngs hates long hair men... Well I did lot of long walks (becouse there is no taxi that we know. You have to stop a normal car and barging-if you speak russian)day and night time and takes lot of pictures. If you respect rules drivers respets you also.
The road traffic in Kazan is dangerous both drivers and pedestrians. The reason of this is ignorance of road laws by them.
Kazan drivers never let pass pedestrians on pedestrian crossings, always exceed speed limit and never look rear-view mirrors when they are going to change a traffic lane. Crossing over at the traffic lights is not safe for pedestrians.
On the other hand, pedestrians are danger for drivers too. They cross roads on prohibited parts, run out in front of driving car.
Take care on the Kazan roads even through you keep all the traffic laws.
These boys play for keeps. Just when you thought it was safe to put the pedal to the metal and race down the ulitsa, vroooom, out steps a DPS officer who waves you to the side of the road. Now you're in hot water! I hope your Russian language skills are up to par, because you're going to need them. The road police hide themselves very well up until the last moment. Like spiders hunting flies; just be careful where you buzz.
There are few designated pedestrian crossings in Kazan. Moreover, those underpasses they have in Moscow to get you through those busy intersections - yeah, they don't have those either. No, in Kazan you'd better bring your best jaywalking skills because waiting for a light or someone to wave you across won't happen. Just wade into traffic and be prepared to run, jump, juke and jive and if necessary do a stuntman roll over the hood of a car.
If you're coming from Moscow you might be expecting to eat good street food in Kazan as well. You'll want to forget that notion. Mostly available around the train station, it consists mainly of Russian hot dogs (you'll only ever have one of those in your life, if that many) and stale pastries stuffed with miscellaneous blandness. The prices are too low to be true and there's a reason for that. Other areas - the market has nothing and the Baumana ul. area has way overpriced shashlik. Too bad - this is one area where Russia usually does quite well for itself.
Don't let them get your French fries when you sit in front of McDonalds. They are a bit picture shy but there is close to a dozen at the time ;))
Don't be disappointed by all the construction going on. It is very noisy and dusty but it will look great once finished. The museum for instance is closed until 2005 for major renovation.