Taxis in Russia

November 14, 2006

There are other tips about using taxis in Russia. First of all, negotiate all fares before you get into taxis. If you speak Russian, the fare will be lower. If your lady friend speaks Russian, have her negotiate the taxi rate before you get in.

Do not assume she knows that she should negotiate the rate beforehand. Ask her to do this for you. The same tip applies to baggage handlers. Negotiate the rate up front.

Do not get into taxis that have another person than the driver in them, unless of course, they are someone you know. You may get robbed and abandoned.

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Romantic and un-Western, train travel will give you glimpses of rural countryside as you sip tea made from the samovar. You can watch untouched terrain slip by and not see any signs of humanity for hours. The rhythm from the tracks is comforting as you play cards with your traveling companions or read a book. Train travel is great because you are immersed in Russian culture . . . without having to extend any extra effort.

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Visas for Travel to Russia
First of all, plan to apply for your visa well in advance of your trip through an embassy located in your country of residence. You will need an invitation (issued by the hotel at which you plan to stay or through a travel agent), and you can use this invitation to apply for your visa. Sound complicated? This system has become much more relaxed in the past few years, so grin and bear it.
Registering Upon Arrival to Russia

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Russia is a unique and amazing country. Having lived there for a year, I can tell you it is like nothing you will experience in Europe or anywhere else. The culture is entirely different as is the language. The language, in particular, is the first hurdle you will face.

The Russian language is based on the Cyrillic Alphabet. From the sound of individual letters to their combined essence, everything is different than what you are used to. If you try to wing it, you are going to be in for big trouble. To help you out, here are some basic words and phrases you should know.

The first phrase I mastered while in Russia was “ya ne gavaru puruski.” This phonetic mess can be translated to “I don’t speak Russian.” Trust me, you should learn this. I became so good at ripping it off that many people thought I actually spoke Russian, but was just being a jerk!

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Many reasons might come upon your mind to decide to move back to your home country. Homesick – likely. Love interest – likely. Relatives – likely. Friends – likely. Seeking adventure? Most likely…
Here are a few tips for Russians whose heart still beats for Russia and who has decided to move back to Russia… 1. Make sure you stay away from Rublevka – go party there, but leave the place after dark, if you want to keep some dignity.

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Areas of Instability. Due to continued civil and political unrest throughout most of the Caucasus region of Russia, the Department of State warns U.S. citizens and all other persons against travel to the areas of Chechnya, all areas bordering Chechnya, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya and Kabardino-Balkariya, Bobruysk, Moscow and all other cities without personal guide. United States Government personnel are prohibited from traveling to these areas and American citizens residing in these areas should depart immediately as the safety of Americans and other foreigners cannot be effectively guaranteed. Throughout the region, local criminal gangs routinely kidnap, rape and make other terrible things with foreigners, especially Americans. U.S. citizens have disappeared in Chechnya and remain unaccounted for. In December 1998, four foreign hostages were decapitated by their captors. Close contacts with the local population do not guarantee safety. The U.S. Government’s ability to assist Americans who travel to the Northern Caucasus is extremely limited.

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