What Can Surprise You the First Time You Go to Russia?
There are many surprising things that tourists can experience in modern Russia, especially in winter. It is not only a cold blast of the arctic wind, children eating ice-cream and riding bikes in bitter frost, or Russian people fishing and windsurfing on a river jumping over cracks in the ice that can shock you in Russia the first time you go there. There are more surprises waiting for you during your trip.
Unlike in most Western countries, toilets in modern Russia are not free. It may cost from 30 to 50 cents to use a toilet in a public place. The most surprising thing is that toilet paper is usually not in the toilet cabins. You can get or ask for some when you pay at the entrance. Only major Russian airports have free public toilets.
Some types of Russian apartments do not have any showers. They are usually old shared apartments built during soviet times, where several families live together and share the kitchen. Read more.
Russian people probably drink as much hot tea as the British. They can drink hot tea either in cold winter or in hot summer. The concept of ice-tea doesn't even exist in Russian mentality. Ice-tea for Russians is the kind of a bottled product from Lipton, rather than a common cold drink in summer.
In modern Russia it is common to see on-tab, draught beer being sold on a street corner. Walking around with a bottle and drinking a beer in a public place is legal. Smoking is acceptable in most public places. When you buy bottled beer, you can choose it by its proof. For example: beer Baltika is numbered from 1 to 9. The higher the number is, the higher is the proof.
It may be surprising but buying cheap vodka in Russia is not safe, as there is a large amount of fake vodka, which is the cause of numerous cases of food poisonings.
Eating in Public
Russian people are used to eating in a hectic situation running in the streets. It is a part of the Russian students' life, which is later inherited by many professionals.
In Russia a policeman can stop anyone and ask to show their documents. Since there is a great number of illegal immigrants from the south of Russia, people with dark swarthy appearance are often required to carry their passports and proof of registration with them. If you do not have proper documentation, you may be arrested and required to pay a fine.