What I did on my summer vacation part 4: MONEY TRAIN

September is here. Fall is in the air. Also in the air: the fact that I have been putting off this post for too long.

Probably I have been putting it off for two reasons:

Reason #1. No one wants to get in trouble for something they posted on the Internet (unless you are from Azerbaijan, apparently).

Reason #2: It was no big deal – just me, on the train, with several hundred portraits of a US President that I was able to pull out of the Moscow ATMs. What could be such a big deal with that?

Anyway, I travel a lot on the Moscow-Kharkov train, second-class, much like the berth you see in the picture above. It’s “firmenniy” which means it’s better quality than most, and because of this, a little more expensive.

Many of you know how to get through customs on the plane; register, check-in, and then you get checked, poked, prodded, disrobed, xrayed, etc etc etc and still have to make it to the plane on time. With trains, it is the opposite: you get on, even a minute before it leaves, you travel, you make it to the border, and then customs gets on the train and pokes prods checks etc etc etc. And they have to hurry it up, since they have to get off the train before it starts moving again.

In other words, you have plenty of time to hide something if you need to.

Just because you are a foreigner on a Russian train does not make you the most suspicious Jack in the Box. The conductor is usually running the scams, so he/she is checked over the most thoroughly of all. After that, it would be you. Well, not quite, after that it would be you if you are from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan. And then you.

So actually, if you already traveled on the train a few times and don’t look too scary, the customs people tend to be in a rush and just give you a sideways glance and you are on your way.

And with that, I find myself in Kharkov with all the money to buy and apartment. How does a friegner buy an apartment in Kharkov, anyway?

.. to be continued …

Posted via web from Hooray for the bleeding edge

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