Shop Shop Til I Drop.....

Trip Start Oct 13, 2012
Trip End Nov 19, 2012

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Where I stayed
Maria's House

Flag of Russia  , Central Russia,
Sunday, November 4, 2012

I've been roaming the streets of Russia for several weeks now stopping in stores and restaurants to see what they have, and how much things cost. And I just can not figure out how the average citizen can afford to live here in Moscow! It's really unbelievable! Prices are way higher than even in New York, yet the average salary here is around $2,500 a month. So imaging yourself trying to get by living in New York on a $30K/year salary. I am considered to by rich by Russian standards and I can't even afford to live here!

Prices in restaurants are just outrageous! I already bitched about the unbelievable price of coffee in previous blog entries. You can't get a glass of water. They won't even serve tap water if you ask. You have to buy insanely priced bottled water. You have to be rich to even order anything containing meat. Hamburgers start, start at $25. Basic steaks $40 with T-Bones and Fillet Mignons going for $60+. Same with vegetables. Salad are very pricey too.

And the choices of products are very different as well. In the grocery stores you won't find many of the normal every day products we Americans take for granted. I wanted to make tuna fish sandwiches for lunch one day but I couldn't find any celery! And mayonnaise comes in these expensive little tubes almost like toothpaste! Not to mention that tuna is $2/can. Then one day I decided to make dinner, but since shopping the grocery store is so hard when you can't read or find anything I decided to keep it simple and attempt to make spaghetti and meatballs. First of all, there is no ground beef. Can't find it, doesn't exist. They did have a small selection of a kind of ground pork/beef mixture so I bought that. Pasta was easy enough to find, but pasta sauce as we know it is nowhere to be found. I finally managed to find on small jar of really basic pasta sauce made by heinz, but it was nothing special and the price was outrageous. And finally I roamed the grocery store for almost 20 minutes looking for grated parmesan cheese. But you can forget about that. Doesn't exist anywhere. Nobody's ever heard of it. I did find one piece of parmesan cheese in the ultra exclusive top shelf cheese section, and it was $15!!!! In the U.S. I can make spaghetti and meatballs for 4 people for under $10, but here this same meal costs almost $25!!!! And I consider that a very basic meal. If you were trying to raise and feed a family here? I don't see how they do it.

And it's not just groceries. Basic pair of Reebok tennis shoes, $150. You want an extension cord? $10! Oh you need a dryer to dry your clothes. Doesn't exist. Literally! There are no dryers! People don't use them. They just hang their clothes all over the house or on the freezing cold balconies and hope they dry at some point by the time you need to wear them. It's crazy!
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