Saturday, August 14, 2010


Moscow is treating me well. The air is clear, but the temperature remains high. I see there could be rain in the next couple of days, which would cool things down. Anyhow, I'll be in London on Wednesday evening. London is where my next potential hassle awaits. A strike ballot among workers at the British Airports Authority threatens to disrupt my Heathrow-Zurich flight later this month, and potentially my transit through London to Buenos Aires in September. Talks are scheduled, so I hope to hear that the pay dispute is settled.

Oh, remember my missing padlock after the flight from Madrid to Helsinki, transiting Budapest ? I have concluded that the lock was deliberately broken or cut off in Hungary (where I'd read about thefts from luggage in transit at the airport). Initially I had thought that nothing was missing. Now I realise that £20 in cash has gone. It's fortunate that I'd decided to carry the Euros cash on my person, which I'd put aside for my accommodation here in Russia. I guess the thieves work on the premise that if they just take a small amount of cash it could take a while for passenger to realise what's happened. Even then, there's no point making an insurance claim because of the excess. Cash in a checked in bag probably isn't covered anyway !

On the subject of cash, I come back to Rubbles. Rubles are pronounced (by Russians who speak English) as Rubbles. Like Barney Rubble from the Flintstones. I'm not spending huge quantities of them, although foreigners' prices for entry to tourist sites are higher than for Russian citizens. However, it will cost 700 to get into the Kremlin armoury. That's £14, or $28 New Zealand dollars. Visiting Lenin's waxy body is free, but you have to queue and can't take a camera in. I'll either do that today or tomorrow.

People don't seem to take much notice of tourists. I've had no-one approach me on the street looking to change money, or sell me services or other things. The only people who have come up to me have been looking for directions to somewhere, and I've been unable to help. My Russian is limited to a very few words.

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