The right priorities

September 30 2004

Dobray ootra... Thanks to all who pinged "hi" overnight ... A few early tidbits from Moscow...

  • The Russians have the right priorities.  Here is a picture of the refrigerated part of the hotel minibar:

    Image:The right priorities

Yes, the biggest bottle in the joint is a half-litre bottle of vodka right upfront.  US$15.  Not really unreasonable, when you consider that the little bottle of Evian is US$5.40. (I should note that there are several other small bottles of vodka of varying brands in there, too!).
  • They also have the right priorities in that there are apparently 770 customers and business partners registered for today's Lotus Forum.  Should make for an interesting day.
  • The hotel prioritizes the safety and security of its guests.  As such, like the WDW Dolphin and Swan that many of us have experienced, they exclusively provide the services of their favorite taxi mafia.  Dinner last night was at a nondescript restaurant down the street... maybe a five minute drive. The hotel-provided taxi was 600 roubles -- almost US$21.  An "official" taxi, could we have obtained one, would have been 500.  And if we were allowed to do as the locals do and simply flag down a passing car, my host said it would have been about 100 roubles (US$3.30).  Such is the tourist markup.
  • On the topic of safety...of course, I'm very aware of the current situation in Russia. After the trio of terrorist incidents a few weeks ago, there was a subsequent story that a bombing in Moscow had been prevented. Well, I read the local English paper yesterday, and it seems that the locals are quite skeptical of the whole story.  Fascinating.

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