City of Billionaires

By Bryan • surp, urban planning • 27 Oct 2008

Moscow the most expensive city in the world?  Absolutely!

The cheapest hostel I could find in Moscow back in August set me back 40USD for a bed in some dude’s 3 bedroom converted Soviet-era apartment.  Moscow was also where I discovered the terms “face-blocking” and “auto-blocking”.  Both are methods that are apparently used extensively at clubs, bars and lounges – if you don’t have the face, the car or both…tough luck comrade – you are not getting in.

Moscow is home to 74 billionaires, the most of any city in the world. Its three wealthiest citizens ( Oleg Deripaska, Vladimir Lisin and Roman Abramovich) each possess fortunes in excess of $25 billion. And Russia’s super-wealthy are just getting started: 13 of the country’s
billionaires are under the age of 40.

I didn’t eat in a single restaurant (given the prices) while in Moscow and my travel partner and I were left wondering where exactly (barring street food) does the common Russian guy go when he wants to eat out?  Apparently it’s MccDonalds – we were looking for something affordable to drink and inadvertently walked into the very first McD’s in Russia – home of the Commie  Mac.  The place was massive – utterly massive…they must have had at least 100 staff members there and it was packed.

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5 Responses

  1. I don’t like going to McDonald’s when I travel. I feel it’s something that I should avoid. Avoid at all cost! Even when I go hungry. :P

    Why not ask the locals themselves or follow one and see where they go? :)

    The guidebooks will obviously tell you the more expensive ones. Hehehehehehe…

  2. I don’t generally either, but I’ve discovered that McD avoidance is largely a western phenomenon as the places seem to bursting at the seem all around Asia.

    The locals eat at home, and even self-catering was financially vicious in Moscow.

    I generally travel rather cheaply (although I have moved slightly up-market in recent years) and I couldn’t believe how much money I was spending in Russia. It was beginning to get rather ridiculous actually

  3. Interesting–western phenomenon?

    My reason is that there’s so much McDonald’s at home already. I’d rather have something which is very local. :D

    Self-catering–so they like having parties? That’s cute. Must be really nice in Russia. :D

  4. Poorly worded perhaps – I’ve noticed that recently (probably beginning in the late 80’s) there has been a strong backlash against fast-food culture in North America (which is a good thing). I’ll compare that to China (or even Russia) where there is an understanding of the ill effects of such a diet, but the restaurants fill other purposes, larely social. Many of my local friends on the Mainland would tell me about the hours spent studying, drinking coffee, tea, juice and just hangin’ out in a KFC or McDonalds. A McD’ coffee would go for about 6RMB (?) – compare that to coffee at a tea house (upwards of 30RMB) or even Starbucks (starting at around 15RMB).

    heh heh heh – self catering is a term I picked up from Lonely Planet – basically means eating at home.

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