A recent report named Moscow the second most expensive city in the world (Tokyo being #1). What??? Even though the dollar continues to weaken against the ruble, Moscow shouldn’t be that expensive. In comparison to St. Pete, yes, Moscow was a bit more expensive, but not by much (at least from my trip last summer). A bottle of coke that cost 15 rubles at the kiosk outside IMOP would cost 18-20 rubles from a vendor in Red Square. Not too bad. I did notice that there was an insane markup on the price of ice cream from vendors in Moscow, which was unfortunate. As long as I can get some blini and borscht for a few bucks, I’ll be happy. I’ll also be sure to avoid the overpriced restaurant at Hotel Rossiya while I’m at it. Moscow does have Izmaylovo Park, though, which definitely beats St. Pete in square footage of vendor stalls stuffed chock full of military surplus, stacking dolls, and leftover communist flags (they go for miles and miles…I never did make it to the end). Last year Kate and I had devised a plan that we had considered to be brilliant, and it was rather successful. When she would find something she wanted to buy, we would ask the guy how much it was. After he told us the price, I’d say “Ah, they were selling that in St. Pete for at least $5 cheaper. Just wait till we get back there to buy it.” This wasn’t what the salesman wanted to hear, of course, so he would say “Well, I give it to you for less than Petersburg! $7 off original price!” Alright, sold…this worked very well all over Izmaylovo…apparently the Muscovites didn’t want to be outdone by the rival Petersburgers. Unfortunately our tactics did not work very well when we tried them back in St. Petersburg. When we would say “Ah, in Moscow we can get this for less,” the vendors would reply “Well that is in Moscow! This is Petersburg! Take it or leave it!” Oh well…we still cleaned house. I purchased enough visor hats to outfit my very own personal military.