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Thread: 2005 Moscow Reports

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  1. #150

    Help

    Still striking out for a monger frienly place to stay during my trip. CAT? Where are you when I desparatly need your services of old. Got on to Stella on the the other WSG board. Seems like she offers a good service but seems to be a lot of carping but real undefined as to the problem. Need some help soon, Moscow rick doesn't answer emails.

  2. #149
    HM2,

    Well, since you put it that way... ;-)

    I think NYM and I were simply concerned that others might read your post and think that your experience was just SOP for American tourists in Moscow.

    I ask the question about the electronic translator simply because I never cease to be amazed at how we Americans expect the rest of the world to cater to us, and assume that every problem must have an electronic (or pharmacological) solution.

    I've been trying to think of where your Russian friends might have taken you. The only space-needle-type structure that I can think of in Moscow would be Ostankino. It was the primary broadcast center for the SU and now, probably, for the Russian Federation. Which would account for all the communications equipment. It's actually a tourist attraction. They have a restaurant and an observation deck up on top. So basically, the guard was just allowing you an unscheduled after-hours tour.

    счастливо,

    Stravinsky

  3. #148

    taking care of oneself...

    Handyman2:

    Personally I laud your courage on going on nightly escapades with a couple of strangers. Who dares wins. I often end up in great situations by taking such chances. Just as often I end up asking myself what in the hell I was thinking and how in the hell am I going to get back home. It is asking for trouble… but fuck it.

    But still I doubt I would have done the same in the same situation you were in simply because I know that nightly escapades with Russian guys usually mean a lot of drinking and when Russian men start drinking it is very difficult to get them to stop drinking. After a huge fill of alcohol they become very moody and unpredictable. Usually it is harmless and could even be a lot of fun, but the potential for going sour is there, especially with strangers. With friends or at least acquaintances you can steer this a bit...at worst they will just become sullen or gloomy... but with strangers it is more difficult, at worst they may suddenly interpret your lacking Russian language skills as an insult or view you as a threat of some kind. In any case the situation could go from jovial to cold and dangerous very quickly. I also havent had too many experiences where drinking binges in mixed company have ended in sex with the girl of your choice. You have to get the girl(s) alone somehow. Your whole evening plan should have this as its goal.... if that really is what you are most interested in.

    As for being able to take care of oneself… I am also confident in this regard, but you can be sure that if you get into any kind of altercation in Russia the chances of you losing one way or another are very very high. Russians are not only fearless when drunk, but also oblivious to pain, can be very violent and they are seldom without friends. Anybody with a bit of experience in Russia has seen whacky stuff like guys breaking bottles over their own heads and laughing, banging their heads against walls and other bizarre shit. So it is best to avoid any physical confrontation of that kind period. Save your energy for the ladies.

    Also any contact with the militia/government should be avoided. As you experienced yourself they are nearly impossible to deal with and certainly impossible to reason with. Don’t expect the government officials you deal with on a business level to have any morals, scruples or follow any rules. They didn’t get to their position by being Mr.Nice Guy.

    As for Russians getting into situations that could mean trouble with the militia, Muscovites in particular tend not to fear the militia nearly as much as foreigners do, viewing them more of as a nuisance than as a threat or danger. So they may lead you into situations they can easily get out of but in which their new foreign friend will have serious problems with. Less can happen to them than can happen to you. A lot can happen to you, depending on your level of connections.

  4. #147

    Come On Now!

    Mangus Man;

    Come on now, I have never claimed to be a superman, a James Bond or a Steven Stegal wanabe! But my demeaner, tells people that are not too drunk, that I can take care of my self and that I am not easy pickin's! If things do get nasty, a quick broken in-step makes it hard for someone to chase me.

    I just believe that most people are good and if they feel the same about you that you will have a great time with them. While cons are plentiful, they are usually easily gotten around and seen thorough unless you are too drunk.

    Take Care and Happy Hunting!

    Handyman #2

  5. #146

    That's Why They Call Him Handy

    Strav- must be that he's one of those
    Steven Seagal/touch-of-death types
    that can kill you with a hand shake.

    Hell, I hooked up with 2 Syrian guys
    that got me laid with a few phone calls,
    but they thought I was KGB since my English
    was so good. They wanted to see my flat,
    so as they followed me up 5 flights of stairs,
    I kept thinking they were going to stick a knife
    in my back, but they didn't. They ended up
    robbing me by charging me $100 for my
    intro to the mamachka, but it was my first
    trip and I didn't know anyone, and after that,
    she only asked for $25 for each intro.

    So sometimes doing something very stupid
    ain't so bad, but if they had wanted to jack me,
    I'd be bleeding out, another corpse that
    deserved what he got up to no good in a strange
    land. What a country!

  6. #145
    Stefano I have a friend in Moscow who can help you., I did try to send you a PM but I couldn't, my friend will be back from Germany to Moscow next week when are you planing to go to Russia?

    Send me a PM to give you the info.

    Ciao

  7. #144

    Answer to Stravinsky;

    Stravinsky;

    Since I have already answered NY Monger at the same time you were posting yours, I hope that it also answered yours questions.

    The part not answered about the electronic translator. I would be happy! Trying to answer their questions using a guide book of phrases is a pain! And I know that from experience, since we had to go to NY for meetings before the trip began, I was asked for directions by several nationalities. (Why is it that an out of towner is always asked for directions? I don't know the answer to that one!) If I could, I would always answer or stop someone local and ask them and then try to explain it to them.

    Wouldn't you do this? If not, why not?

    Thank You for the telephone translation. Maybe, I mislead people a little, I understand spoken Russian (from my military days), but my mid-western accent keeps me from speaking it very well. In Moscow, especially, they just seemed not to understand me. Novgorad and Saint Petersberg, I didn't have near as much trouble being understood. And my written Russian is non-existent. The ablity to understand what is being said, while the other parties thinks that you have very very limited Russian, leads to an ability to just know when to get out of a situation.

    By the way, It turns out Nina is a good girl! We have been in email contact and I am getting to know her a little better. But who knows! The first time she asks me to send her money for anything will be the last email.

    Be careful and happy hunting

    Handyman #2

  8. #143

    Business Visa

    CA Traveller;

    You are right about registering business visa. We did rigister them in Saint Petersberg with a detailed itinerary of where we were going (see Saint Petersberg report). We were told that unless we changed it, that we weren't required to register in each city on the itinerary. Although most hotels took the passport the first night and registered them locally any how. Was this incorrect information? Our local guide didn't correct us, if that is wrong.

    NY Monger;

    Yes, I made mistakes and my instrincts were well lubricated with vodka, physically I can take care of my self so will go where others won't but that is not an excuse either.

    Sasha and Nikoli were not Moscow citizens although they worked there through the week. They took a train home on Friday and came back Sunday night almost every week. They brought up the problems of Moscow and then spent at least an hour of where I shouldn't go alone and what not to do. I think to make me comfortable, Sasha even showed me his local passport and explained it to me. He told me that if they were allowed to travel outside of Russia, they were issued a different one. So I wasn't just getting in a car with a stranger. The girls were their long time girl friends which was very obvious being around them for a little while. Absolutely no "alarm bells" were going off in my head because it was too natural to be staged. If they had been touching unappropriately that would have set off my warning system. In public girl-guy touching in very subdued from my observations.

    The $20.00 American, they didn't have any American money, I gave him a $20 and he gave me back rubles. So no "alarm bells" here either. I found out several times that a "gift" in dollars or euro's was more welcome than rubles. So it was natural to me that a guard would want "hard currency".

    That space needle doesn't look like a communications facility from the outside or from the tourist area where you look out either. The plexiglass or glass panels in the floor are diffinitely tourist items and not a military style item. So again no "alarm bells". It wasn't until, the guard came and ushered us through a locked door and up some steps that the "alarm bells" went off big time. I don't think that the other five knows what the equipment was, but I did and my mind went into overdrive on how to get out of it a smoothly as I could. But it wasn't necessary. It was a real experience and my instincts were working after all! Although I have to admit, I was not comfortable inside the communications room and was naturally worried.

    No, I would not recommend that others did what I did, but would I meet others in a bar and then get in a car with them? That would depend on the naturalness of it and the time element invoved. Any, repeat any, warning would have sent me out of there in a hurry. It also helped that I understand spoken Russian (but they didn't know this until much later) and knew what they were saying amongst themselves. They were just good old boys and girls that would like to show their first American a better time than he was having up till then!

    I know it sounds stupid, but sometimes you have to just trust your instincts and go with the flow! But if you do not have the instincts, stay with a group and go to tourist places. My self I love to explore and meet people especially in places like open-aire markets, local bars, etc., which sometimes leads to a little risk.

    And it wasn't my first trip to Moscow, just my first since I retired from the military. And It was the first time I was actually allowed to explore the city and go where I wanted. Before, I would get off the plane, be taken to the Embassy, slept in the embassy and if I could talk a couple of marines into it, go to a local bar with them. Then straight back to the embassy. So although I was there before, I don't count it, since I wasn't free to explore.

    Hope this gives everyone a little better understanding of my type of exploring. While I would be the first to tell you to be careful, sometimes you just have to try new things and experiences, but only if you are an experienced traveler with the right kind of instincts.

    Be careful and happy hunting.

    Handyman #2

  9. #142

    ... where Angels fear to tread

    HM2,

    I agree with NY Monger, you certainly lead a charmed life! You were very fortunate to have met up with some sincere Russians. They can be hard to come by, particularly at a bar in Moscow, late at night.

    You should have been almost as suspicious of them as any Russian dyev who tells you she is a "good girl". The next time you want the phone number of that sweet young thing squirming in your lap, the correct form would be " tyelefon yest?"

    I have just one question. When you are back here in the States, if some Russian were to walk up to you and attempt to initiate a conversation with nothing more than an electronic translator.... what would your reaction be?

    Ira,

    The answer is... both. Depends on the dyev. They do have a special section for " досуг ", which is for professional girls. The text you are seeing is telling you to click on the telephone number. When you do, the system will perform a search on that number and present you with a couple new windows that contain information about that phone number and dyev associated with it.

    Stravinsky

  10. #141

    CF/registration

    - CA_T

    Was told by Martin that CF will not move to another location before September.

    - Everybody who is staying in a apartment

    Make sure that you write in your emigration card in the field of "host organisation" some street name, no., plus private apartment. And never a company name.
    Police will turn any company name into a hotel like host and then you have to register within 1 day.
    Further this guys count different then we, starting from the day of arrival. Means you arrive 10 p.m. and you leave CF after midnigth you are in deep shit because in there opinon first day is gone.

    Back from paradise......

    Shos
    Last edited by Shostakovich; 04-05-05 at 21:19. Reason: spelling

  11. #140
    HM2-

    Dude, some story. But why would a guy with 20+ years intel experience tell two strangers in a bar that their city is a disappointment, then when these guys produce some women, get into a car, pay to bribe a guard WITH YOUR CASH, etc etc

    Didnt anything from your 20+ years tell you, this was an absurdly high risk to take? I think the only major mistake you didnt make was to change money with someone in a back alley. I think you need to buy lottery tickets, you're one lucky dude. You may well be that statistical probability of <.001% we hear about who all this happens to on ONE trip and escapes to tell about it.

    No American, by himself, should NEVER, repeat NEVER, do what you did. Even if you're the friendly jello salesman on your Eastern European sales route.

  12. #139
    HM2... Sorry you didn't enjoy Moscow. I guess it isn't for everyone, but I agree that a group of 9 has to make it a little more difficult. I was confused by one comment that you had. You indicated that because you had a biz visa you were not required to register... Where did you get this info? Just so there is no confusion by others, this information is incorrect. Everyone from the USA and Europe and most other places MUST register within 24 hours if in a hotel and within 72 hours if you stay in an apartment. A new law was recently passed that includes heavy fines for those not register after 5 days, i.e. 50,000 rubles. I have not heard if they are enforcing the new law, but I imagine it will mean heavier "fines" paid directly to the militicia on the spot.

    UPDATE ON CF... Word now on the street is that CF will continue to operate through the end of the year.

  13. #138

    need info on omen.ru

    Hi guys,

    I'd like to ask your help regarding omen.ru. Is this an escort or a dating site?

    Further, can someone translate the text below? Thanks in advance.
    Ira

    При нажатии на номер телефона Вы получите 2 новых окна - с результатами поиска других анкет этого телефона и с отзывами об этой девушке.

  14. #137

    More Comments on My Russia Trip

    Zizz Bang;

    I have to admit that hotels rooms and transportation was very difficult for 9 people, but since I was in the military I can deal with those difficulities and take them in stride. I was more turned off by the elitest attitude we encountered there as compared with Saint Petersberg and Novogard. We received very very little cooperation from the government officials we had to deal with although we all were gentleman with professional attitudes (read this as not showing our discust with them).

    As an example: We got lost in Saint Petersberg walking around one evening and three students volunteered directions (without us asking), then even got us to the bus stop, and accompanied us to our location. In Moscow, when we got lost, we couldn't get either directions or help from anyone I tried talking to or using my electronic translator. They just seemed to ignore us.

    Plus compared to the other two cities, the costs for everything was at least 50% higher (with Saint Petersberg prices) and 100% higher for Novogard.

    If I get the contract, I will have to do in-depth research to find out how to deal with the city and the officials or it will be one long ordeal.

    CONTINUATION:

    I will admit to one major mistake in preparing for my Moscow trip. For all other locations, I downloaded all the information from WSG and other sites and made a CD with this information. This came in extremely handy every where else I went. I just ran out of preparation time (and couldn't stay on line long enough because of the prior problems with the server) before the trip and didn't do that for Moscow, which I greatly regret. In other locations, I got good information on hotels, cafes and other necessary information (wink). So I take responsibility for some of my failures and will learn from my mistake. For any one going to a location that is has good coverage on WSG, I highly recommend you take your laptop with disks for each location (although it is a hassle taking your computer and software out of Russia).

    One night while exploring the city on my own, I met two Russian guys in a local bar and we got to talking (they could acually understand me - my Russian gets better with a few drinks). When they heard that I was disappointed in Moscow, they decided to take me on a tour of their city. First they called a couple of their girl friends (and one for me by the name of Nina). We crammed all six of us into a small car (which was interesting with Nina on my lap and me trying to be a gentleman). We proceeded to a space tower type of structure, but when we tried to get in we were told it was not open to the public that late. We went back to the car, and one of the guys, Sasha, asked me for $20 American. He went back to the guard on duty and they talked a little while, then he signaled for us to come in. I was told not to speak, since anyone could tell I was not Russian if I opened my mouth. We went up in the elevator and wow what a view! Moscow was beautiful at night and the space tower even had glass panels in the floor to look straight down. Then the guard came running up and said his officer was coming up on a surprise visit and we had to hide up a flight of stairs, which turned into an area with communications equipment. As soon as I saw the equipment, I knew this was not an area, that we should be in! There was all sorts of crypto (communications security items) gear, so they processed classified information here. This really got me nervous, I had been in Military Intellegience for 24 years and thought that if I was caught in this area, that I would have a very hard time explaining this, especially if the produced any files that the KGB are famous for. But we were not discovered, and the officer went away. As soon as he left, we were hussled out of there by the guard.

    We then proceeded to several other tourist sites and several other bars and nightclubs. Which was nice and since I was with locals, I was also accepted by who ever we met. Nina and I had a good time although she couldn't speak English and we had a hard time, understanding each other, although she was 22 years younger than I was, it didn't seem to bother her at all. She would teach me a Russian word and I would teach her the English word for it. She loved to dance and we had a very good time. About 4 am, everyone was getting pretty drunk and it was time to call it a night (morning) since I had to be at my best at 9am (at least I tried to be!). We piled back into the car and it was either my wishful thinking or maybe reality, Nina really started squirming around on my lap and this produced a reaction from me. When we got back to my hotel, I was hugged and kissed on the check by the girls and shook hands with the guys. Then they were gone, and dumb old me had forgot to get a phone number from Nina! But I did have one for Sasha.

    The next day was long and tiring and I was looking forward to a hot shower (hopefully) a good meal and early to bed. But when we got to the hotel, I had a message (in Russian). Since I don't read Russian I had to use the electronic translator to figure it out. It was from Nina! I called and we made a dinner date, she would come to the hotel at 8 pm and then go to the cafe so I wouldn't get lost. We had a great dinner at a local place that was reasonable priced for the quality. Then we went for a walk around town even though it was very cold and she was wearing a short dress. When we got too cold, we went to a bar, talked and drank until 4 am again. Since I was leaving the next day for Kiev, I thought it was now or never, but she informed me she was a good girl and staying at my hotel was out of the question. We exchanged emails and promised to keep in touch. One note: She told me she was only visiting her cousin who was Sasha's girl friend and would be returning home to a small town near Novograd the Great on the weekend.

    She was the only Nina I met on my trip, so many Sasha, Sevta, Eleana's I couldn't keep track, but Nina wasn't a common name there. She keep her promise and we are in contact. So hopefully, I will have a contact in Russia when I go back.

    Take Care and Happy Hunting!

  15. #136

    Moscow

    Handyman:

    Many of your complaints about Moscow seem to stem from the fact that it was a hassle to manage 9 people at once. I think anyone who's even read about Moscow's shortage of good hotels could've predicted that. Go back solo or just two or three in a group and you *will* change your mind. Don't get me wrong, Russia is kind of a hassle all around, but it is so worth it, especially if you interact with just a few of the million hotties running around the capital.

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