A Room with a View
Certain Moscow photographic studios are bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase “making yourself at home” with their new blow-up photo service. Missing your garden? Transport it to your Moscow living room. A picture of your favorite view can be enlarged to the size of your wall and used to decorate your home, bringing the art of tromp l’oeil to a whole new level as you stand back to admire anything from a beautiful sunrise to a panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline. Of course, you don’t have to stop at landscapes: you could have life-size pictures of your children, the family pet that had to be left behind or, what every girl really wants, George Clooney on the bedroom ceiling. The service is offered by several photo studios in Moscow, including:
AVA-BEST (http://www.ava-best.ru) offers printed “wallpaper” at 12 Ulitsa Krasnokasarmennaya, Tel. 361 9765/9079. Prices from $25 per square meter but more if you need cut-outs (e.g. for windows). It can be applied just like wallpaper. Fotopress (www.fotopress.ru) he service at 12 Bolshaya Novodmitrovskaya, Tel. 778 7888 or 995 1895. Prices from $50 per square meter on self-adhesive paper similar to that used on billboards.
You are Here
One of the joys of living in Moscow is the fact that, any time, day or night, wherever you find yourself, you can flag down a car and negotiate a cheap ride. However, it takes the edge off a bit when you get in and find that your driver is asking you for directions. Sound familiar? It’s all very well if you know your way around Moscow’s complex system of one-way streets and no-left-turn intersections, but let’s be honest, do you? Well, if you buy the latest pocket PC software technology – you do. Forget trying to decipher an inadequately labelled map; now you can not only find your location to within 10 meters, you can also set a navigation program that will guide you smoothly from point A to point B. With PocketGPS Pro Moscow you can have information sent to you either in pictures, with an outline of your route on a map, or verbally. You even get to choose between hearing your directions in Russian or English – so you can simply hand the gadget over to your driver if your Russian isn’t up to snuff. (Just make sure he gives it back.)
You can buy PocketGPS Pro Moscow online from Palmstore.ru. Alternatively, there are a number of outlets around the city, including Electronica na Presne at 4 Zvenigorodskoe Shosse, Tel. 504 1840 and Gallery Versal at 3 Leninsky Prospect, Tel. 778 8027. Prices are in the region of $120. It works with GPS-friendly Pocket PC models.
Jet, set, go!
For those of you who do not find simply driving around Moscow enough of an adventure, strap yourselves in and prepare for take-off…the ultimate adrenalin rush has arrived. You can now experience the ride of your life with an exhilarating flight in an authentic L 39 training jet, the likes of which was previously only available to astronauts and fighter pilots. Located 230 kilometers west of Moscow, the Vyazma Aeroclub – training ground of Russia’s second female cosmonaut, Svetlana Savitskaya – offers you the chance to co-pilot a demonstration flight on an L-39 jet or MI-2 helicopter. The Czech-built L-39 jet trainer, used in the opening scenes of “Tomorrow Never Dies,” is known for its fantastic agility and for providing spectacular views from the cockpit. For a really good view, the jet can climb up to 36,000 feet and is apparently perfect for performing a variety of aerobatic maneuvers. The cockpit even features air-conditioning and the windscreen is anti-iced for those chilly winter mornings. Enjoy the ride, but whatever you do, don’t upset your pilot or he may employ a cunning Bond maneuver and make use of the handy rocket-assisted rear ejector seat – specially designed for eliminating those pesky backseat drivers.
A thirty minute flight in the L-39 will set you back $390, including transport, insurance, medical examination, pre-flight preparation and dinner. Each additional thirty minutes costs $320 and flights on the Mi-2 helicopter are charged at $130 per minute. For bookings call Aeroproyekt Rus on 777 3490.