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Played remote mechanic today

Got distressed call at 8am on Sunday from a driver whose car was held by a mysterious force while the client was about to land in Domodedovo.  Sunday morning is not the time where finding a suitable substitute is easy, so a call to be was entirely excusable. Turned out it was frozen brake drum on the shaft. Yesterday it was knee deep slurry all over. Then the temperature dropped, and the drum froze. Total time loss: 15 minutes of aimless panic, 15 minutes of pouring water of wheels which brought no relief, 10 min. of running around the vehicle, 5 min. on the phone with me, 5 min. of my thinking till I realized that if these are not the wheels, then there must be another brake somewhere till I remembered my old UAZ van with a drum brake right on the shaft, 5 min. of getting more hot water, 10 min. of splashing it on the offending mechanism, 10 min. of cleaning up after a crawl under the jeep. The driver still made it to the job.  LET ME ONCE AGAIN REMIND BOTH DRIVERS AND CLIENTS THAT MOSCOW IS FULL OF SURPRISES OF EVERY KIND. ALWAYS BUILD AT LEAST AN EXTRA HOUR INTO YOUR PLANS ESPECIALLY IF THESE INCLUDE TIME-CRITICAL THINGS LIKE IMPORTANT MEETINGS OR MAKING IT TO THE AIRPORT!

The famous Winston Wu’s overview of typical scam and crimes against foreigners

Rediscovered while sifting through old pages:

Please remember that the stories are from the 90s. Now, in 2013, crime against foreigners is not quite as common as back them.

It turned out that Winston’s is still alive and active. Recommended to travellers to Russia. Especially to Russian wife seekers.

Igor with his pricing tricks

Reproduced verbatim. Note the “plus”. Parking is $5, occasionally $10 if there is a lineup at the customs. Average waiting time is 30-40 min. Adds up to $70-90. Why not just say $80?! Make it simple for yourself and others! Also your “good English” sounds machine translated. Except for “Deer Pasha”, which is obviously your creation. Sorry Igor, I can only add you to the Beware category.

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Gloom against scam

A businessman on his way to Domodedovo offering to sell dirt cheap goods he is leaving behind

A few days ago, Prospekt Mira, the railroad overpass by the Riga Station.

A motorist waved me to stop, which I did. The fellow was charm incarnate. Presented himself as Mario, an Italian businessman on his way to the airport. The story was that he was where for a trade show, now heading to the airport, and is  leaving behind a load of leather coats that he is willing to sell extra cheap. Just a few roubles from me and I can head to VDNKh to claim his goods.

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Scam & Tricks

As I’m reorganizing my old I see lots of stories of scam and tricks involving Moscow taxi, both licensed and “Gypsy cabs”.  These stories will be piled up here, in the Beware category.

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