My Insights & Tips on Moscow
Posted by: Myk Likhov
Some of you know how much time I spend in Russia (I’m actually here now). I got to thinking, I never really talk about these trips, probably because I’m so used to them–but it might be cool for you to hear my random thoughts on the place.
Because Moscow really is a different world. People think differently and act differently. They live differently. The cultural divide with the US is striking.
I’ve decided to share some unorthodox and possibly controversial intel on Moscow, with some useful tips thrown in for good measure. These are my personal insights into Moscovite culture, and I’m trying to articulate some big ideas in few words. If you think I’m crazy, let me know–but they’re interesting points, no?
- #1 Moscovites are unexpectedly knowledgable about what they buy and consume. In restaurants, your local friends ask specific questions about what goes into their food and how it’s prepared. It reminds me of the “farm to table” movement and I think comes from both a cultural appreciation for knowledge and an opportunity to socially engage with other people.
- #2 Wealthy Russians are more interested in health and wellness than wealthy Americans. Whether it’s a new technology, process, or work-out–they go crazy over anything related to beauty and longevity. You can see this in Moscow by the number of (excellent) healthy organic food delivery and vegetarian food options that are springing up in Moscow.
- #3 I noticed it 10 years ago, and again now, but gender roles are significantly more pronounced here than in the US, at least to me. Men are men. Women are women. There are expectations of each, and everyone knows the drill. Note: I sometimes/often don’t. Which is why I’m thinking about this one a lot.
- #4 Moscow is not cheap. The magic number for everything I like to do here is $100. Taking my girl to a cafe for some tea and dessert? $100. Bottle of wine at a resto? $100. Want to stop in the supermarket for a few bags of groceries? $100. Western-style cappuccinos are $8-11. Expect price shock, even coming out of NYC.
- #5 Winner of the most random insight is…Big Red Gum. Seriously, I don’t know why. But they love it here.
- Traffic is worse in Moscow than anywhere you’ve been except for maybe Mexico City. Give yourself 20-30 extra minutes to get anywhere if you’re traveling by car.
- There is no gratuity line if you use a credit card restaurants. Don’t forget to leave 5-10% in cash.
- For many years, it used to be ok to flag down “gypsy cabs,” random drivers, rather than official cabs. That’s shady now. Don’t do it.
- Cops will shake you down if you give them a reason. Bribery is totally normal here, done tactfully.
- You can get away with saying things in English with a Russian accent–30% chance the other person will understand you. Ex: SORRI (roll the “r”) means sorry, and so on.
- Privet –> hi
- Ess-eshhh-a –> USA
- Shutka –> a joke
- Poka –> goodbye
This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013 at 11:05 am and is filed under What I read today.