Russia I

As my astute readers may have guessed, I am currently in Russia, as a tourist. I must say, I am somewhat disappointed. I haven’t had any run-ins with thieves, I didn’t have to bribe any police officers to let me do what I am allowed to do anyway, the apartments I’ve been to are rather large and comfortable, and the Russians are sober most of the time. The only thing that is really annoying is that money transfers are rather difficult and/or expensive. I couldn’t withdraw money from my bank account, due to the new VPay standard, which only works in the EU, so I had to have m dad wire me some cash via Western Union, which takes only minutes no matter where the sender and the recipient are. Also the roads in the provincial towns are as bad as I expected, and riding on a Russian автобус still has the romantically wobbly, bumpy, socialist flair, spewing black smoke and soot whenever they shift gears. Food prices are all in all comparable to the EU, and once you get used to the local cuisine (борщ, плов and каша, and lots of квас to drink), the quality of the food in the supermarket is considerably better than in Germany (being the country of nutritional cheapskates), unless you are buying nerd food (microwave pizza, which is shitty in every part of the world). This country hardly lives up to the tropes we have in Europe and the US (nothing lives up to the tropes of Americans), which I think is a good thing. On friday, I am going to St. Petersburg by (Russian) plane, I’ll tell you about it once I get there


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