Monday, November 20, 2006

Easy Go, Easy Come

Man, as if further proof was needed that life is no longer going my way here in Vodkaberg:

Last night I had a quick fast-food dinner with some of my friends and then walked out onto the street afterwards, taking my plastic cup of draft beer with me to finish on the bus. This is pretty much standard operational procedure in Vodkaberg; as I've mentioned numerous times, people constantly drink beer on the streets.

And damned if three cops didn't come up to me and tell me I had to pay a 590 ruble fine for drinking on the street.

They were reasonably pleasant about it, anyway; polite and non-threatening and all. That they didn't beat my up can only be considered a plus.

The cops love to stop people and extort money from them for real and imaginary violations in Moscow and St. Petersberg; here in Vodkaberg, however, they don't usually stop people on the streets unless they're obviously from the Caucuses. (The traffic police are the major extorters here; I think the cops figure that if you don't even have a car, you're probably not worth bothering with.)

The let me go for 300 after I explained I was an English teacher, and they saw that all my money was mostly in the form of crumpled ten-ruble notes in my front pocket.

Anyway, after that happened, another couple of guys I know called, and we set about getting drunk until three o' clock in the morning; in the toilet of the bar we were at, I found 500 rubles lying in one of the stalls.

So I guess I'm still ahead of the game. For now.

The actual fact of whether it actually IS illegal to drink on the street is kind of sketchy; a law was apparently passed two years ago, but I never saw any evidence it was actually being enforced.

BBC news article on the subject

Another article about the subject of Beer drinking and advertising


etm2 said...

"n 1996, Russians drank 14.6 litres of beer per head per year, but they now gulp down about 40 litres each, according to the Russian Beer Brewers Union, and Aton's data. In St Petersburg and Moscow, this rises to 75 litres."

Crikey! That's more than 6 liters per person per month. the kiosks must make some serious cash--well, for russian standards anyway--from all that.

X you should move to can drink in public (even in the sbuway, where the kiosks also sell beer and liquor) with no problem. don't know if it's formally allowed or just tolerated cos germans are (oddly, given their usual angst-ridden psyches) relaxed about it.

English Teacher X said...

Man, the number of hours I've spent here wandering the street with a bottle of beer in my hand are COUNTLESS. And like I said, in the summer, practically EVERYBODY has a beer in their hands -- little old ladies, pregnant women, little kids. This is a new and unprecedented thing.