Wednesday, 14 January 2009

hit and run

So, I sat this morning in my car waiting for a college in front of his hotel.
Motor running, warning lights on, in the parking area.

When all a sudden another car scratches my one. He thought he could overtake another car on the right and miscalculated.

I was honking like crazy, but of course he didn't mind and keep on going. As I will go to the police.

Crazy behavior, and so short minded. The mind of this driver went like this

- "where will I be better off in the next 5 seconds, when I drive behind the car or overtake him right"

==> overtaking

- "ups, I crashed somebody... where will I be better off in the 5 seconds. When I stop or when I drive away"

==> drive away

what I realy like about Russia is the fact, that is is never boring ;)

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Crisis.. police

wow, came back from NY holiday and in really seems to be the crisis here.
OK, the rubel crased by 30%, oilprice and stock by more than 70%.
But now I feel the upcoming storm.

Two days in a row police stopped & checked me. Usually this happens once a month and they don't find anything to fine.
This time the started digging till they found something (outdated(!) translation of my driving license.

Now it's funny with official persons in Russia. They usually want to pay you the penalty upfront without any official paper or receipe. (A western minded person may call this bribery, but here it's just one of the twisted way the russian soul goes we Europeans anyway never understand ).

I always refuse to pay. (I don't refuse to pay any offical fine, just the unofficial one. Of course it would be easier. But how can I become part of the system I complain so much about?).

The (1st) time the police didn't just let me go. He started to lecture me, how much more a german police men earns than him. I answered him, that this he may discuss with the city administration, not with me.

When it happened the next day a 2nd time it was right in front of the Kremel. I sat in the police car, front windows showing the illuminted Kreml 50 m from us.
The lights in the police car was out (doesn't help to write reports, but helps to pass the money unnoticed). It was quite romantic, russian police and me in the shine of the Kreml lights.
I started wto discuss where their college stopped the day before.

So I pointed out, that I am fine with paying any official fine, but... pointing to the Kreml, that they should discuss their finances with some other people.
The answer was quite surprisingly and I assume honest.

I told me, when he get an decent salary he will stop to make differences if the suspect he catches if a Russian, German or "on of them" (pointing to the Kremel).
And "they" don't want to be the same.

I kept thinking about this
We speak here about the country with the 3rd highest foreign currency reserves in the world, which is not able to pay their police (doctors, nurses, teachers) a decent salary in the most expensive city in the world.
Then I remembered how two years ago some Oligarch in the French alps was arrested for orgies during his skiing holiday where prositution was forbidden.
The public outcry in Russia was immense. And it always came down to "the European envy our money". No radio commentator or talk show stated the simple fact that the broke the law.

I guess this is it. They miss totally the concept that everybody is equal in front of the law. Considering that this was properous years I start to wonder what will happens now.

crisis :) Rolex

Back in Moscow, So I went out in the evening and had a beer with a friends.
It wasn't one of the cheap places, but last year still ok.
Now for two Heineken 840 rbls = 22 Euro is even in Moscow a lot. Seems the increases pricing a bit.

Then a girl at the counter started to speak with me.
I realized that she has a nice wristwatch and asked here If a I can take a look. Turned out to be a rolex. I am not far from an expert, but it didn't look like one of the cheap Rolex. (a cheap Rolex is the one your friends dream of buying on day and you don't understand what is special about it. This watch was definitely shiny)

So, I told her: "Wow, nice... from your husband?"
She (pissed): "What the hell, do you think I need a husband for this?!"
I: "Listen, how old are you? 24, 25 years?"
She: "25"
I: "Ok, husband or parents, nobody can earn with 25 enough cash to buy himself such a rolex."
She (subdued": "parents"


A real crisis can only help this society to come back to earth and then build up some real values!

About this blog

This blog is a close up on Russia and the CIS. I am not giving you the big picture.
I would anyway fail. I am too long here. So beauty & decay,
education & corruption, high culture & kafka-style administration are meanwhile normal for me.
So this blog is like a painting from from Roy Lichtenstein... when you are with your nose on it :) You will just see the dots, not gaining any understanding of the whole.

Most things will look strange in this blog. But you can be sure, I would not live here, if there would not be a lot of great things here. Unfortunately, the weired stories are more interesting to tell & read.
Don’t judge Russia on this blog, if you want to know the country, come over and take a look by your own.