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WTF Is Going On In Russia?


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In 1988, my wife, son and I were in St Petersburg (then still called Leningrad).  We were on  Nevsky Prospekt which is a major shopping street. There was a water dispensing vending machine outside of a store..  There was a metal cup attached by a chain to the machine and EVERYONE drank from that same cup.  That's simply hard to imagine in a first world country.

An interesting thing happened when we arrived at the airport.  One guy in our group had a beard when he took his passport picture but had shaved it off.  The clerk inspecting our passport didn't have the authority to let him enter Russia.  We had a long delay until they could find someone who could make that decision.

I was in the jewelry business and brought along lots of costume jewelry to swap for things.  We were able to get all the nesting dolls and fur hats we wanted but my son wanted a Moscow University sweatshirt.  No one was able to come up with one, but as we were getting ready to leave one of our traders came up with a Russian officer's cap.  It felt like it was still warm and we were afraid to try and take it out of the country.  In fact they were more careful examining our luggage when leaving than when arriving.

My Reebok sneakers when in great demand, but no one cam up with anything I was willing to give them up for. 


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