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International Women's Club
The International Women's Club General Meeting and Annual Picnic will take place on Thursday June 8th from 10.30 am to 1pm. A boat trip from the mooring closest to the Ukraina hotel on Naberzhnaya Tarasa Shevchenko, a stop called ‘Hotel Ukraina’. Closest metro is Kievskaya (15min walk). Bring your own food and beverage. Guests are welcome. To book please call the IWC’s Mob phone: 8 916 849 6860.
You can sign up also at the general meeting on Wednesday May 31st at the Czech embassy from 10am to noon.
June newcomers’ coffee will take place on Friday June 2nd from 10am to noon. To make a reservation and for venue details please call Joy Harris at: (495) 255 49 15, email: email@example.com or contact Anke Grossman on: (495) 616 3751, email: firstname.lastname@example.org For more information visit our website: www.iwc-moscow.com
July 1st Celebrations!
On July 1, over 10,000 expats and Muscovites are expected to converge on Kuskovo Estate for the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia’s 12th annual star-spangled celebration of USA Independence Day – the largest celebration of its kind outside America.
As part of the festivities, guests will take part in sporting competitions and sample tantalizing treats from dozens of outdoor vendors. General Spon- sor Coca-Cola will present musical entertainment by Moralny Kodeks, while TV personality Vasily Strelnikov oversees ceremonies. A drawing will be held for prizes, including two roundtrip tickets from Delta Air Lines to the USA. Festivities will culminate with one of Moscow's most extravagant fireworks displays.
All Women’s Car Rally
On June 24, for the 1st time in Europe, there will be a ladies rally with old time cars/retro- Bentleys, Jaguars etc-about 30-40 cars.
Start from Poklonaya Gora- Fininsh at the Blue Elephant restaurant, with dinner.
International Crisis Line
The ICL help line is a free confidential professional counseling service available by phone.
This service is provided by an international team of psychologists and psychotherapists who are experienced in counseling on different relational and personal issues, handling difficult emotional experiences, career counseling and psychotherapy. Counseling is available in English, Russian, French, and Polish.
Tel: 8 926 113 33 73. Daily 8.00-23.00 Email: ICL@list.ru. Supported by the International Women’s Club of Moscow
British Women’s Club
British Passport holders and partners of British passport holders are welcome. Regular coffee mornings for members and newcomers on the 2nd Tuesday of every month. For more information please visit: email@example.com
St Andrew's Anglican Church - June 2006 Schedule
8.30 BCP Holy Communion. 11.00 Sung Eucharist with Sunday School and CrÏche. 18:30 Evening Prayer
8.30 Morning prayer. 18.30 Evening prayer 19.00 (Wednesdays only) Holy Communion and Bible study
Every Thursday at 19.30 is Concert Night with classical vocal and instrumental music! (Tickets at the door.)
St Andrew's Anglican Church Voznesensky Pereulok 8, Moscow www.standrewsmoscow.org (Metro Okhotny Ryad or Pushkinskaya)
Moscow Congregation for Progressive Judaism
Friday night service (Hebrew/Russian) on the 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th of June at 7pm. Vsevolozshky per., 2, entrance B. Tel: (495) 201 37 11
Sahaja Yoga Meditation
Free meditation classes, workshop and seminars in English every Saturday 11.00 am at Leninsky Prospect 45. Sahaja yoga is a gentle and yet powerful method of achieving balance, peace and stability. Why not drop in, experience for yourself, and enjoy the fruits of inner awakening. Please visit our website at: www.sahajayoga.ru. If you would like to join please contact us at: 135 1176 [after 5pm] or 8 903 7645149.
Moscow 7th of June – Business Networking Evening for RBCC Members 8th of June – Branding and Intellectual Property Rights Business Seminar – Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow 14th of June – Moscow Arbitration Roadshows – Marriott Aurora
London 21-22nd of June – RBCC London Business Summit – Grange City Hotel, London
British Business Club
The next meeting of the BBC will be on Thursday June 29. The venue was not confirmed as of going to press. All members will be notified by email as normal before the event. The new web-site should also be up and running in June, please make a visit to www.britishclub.ru and check it out.
Exhibition and Conferences
Adam Smith Conferences’ 4th Annual Russian Real Estate Summit
6 June 2006 – Special Focus day: ‘The Latest Trends in Financing Real Estate and Construction Projects in Russia’ 7-9 June, Main Summit Days. Marriott Grand Hotel, Moscow For more information, please contact Irina Norris on: + 44 20 7490 3774 or: Irina@adamsmithconferences.com
Adam Smith Conferences’ 4th Annual Russian Retail Banking Forum
Investing in the Consumer – Strategies for Success 13-15 June. Marriott Grand Hotel, Moscow For additional information please contact Natalia Millman on: +44 20 7490 3774 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Exhibitions held at EXPOCENTR, Moscow
14 Krasnopresnenskaya Nab., 123100, Moscow, Russia. Tel.: (495) 255-37-99, (495) 255-39-46 Email: email@example.com
11th international exhibition; new technology, materials and lighting for small and large buildings. June 3-6. Organizer: Mr Roman A. Sarkisov, tel.: (494) 255 3754, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Oil & Gas 2006
11th International Exhibition of Equipment and Technologies for Oil and Gas Industries
June 19-23. Contact: Mrs. Galina Yu. Kalinina. Tel: (495) 255 3761, email: email@example.com
Exhibitions held at CROCUS EXPO, Moscow
Crocus City Trade and exhibition Complex, Krasnogorsk-4, Krasnogorsk, Moscow Region (495) 727 2424, www.crocus-expo.ru
Seafood Russia 2006
3-8 June Tel: (495) 514-1370
“Sorry, sorry,” the Audi A6 driver had cried on March 1, mobile phone still held firmly to his ear after ramming our pomegranate pretty from behind, pushing it into a BMW 745. Now, 60 days after this bumper bender, our zhiguli is still at the repair shop, and “sorry” doesn’t cut it, not at all. In last month’s “Insurance Scam” piece, you followed our lesson in the insurance maze Russia’s industry has concocted. I had been hoping to be back in the driver’s seat on April 20 after 50 days of metro hopping. No such luck – when I called to check on April 17, I was told that the front had been repaired, but damage uncovered by insurance had been found in the back, so the adjuster was to return on April 25. On April 26, we learned that the repair was covered and our little prize would be ready in two weeks, just 70 days after “sorry.”
Environmental pressure forces evolutionary steps. It was time for us to become the Jetsons – Wilma and I walked over to the nearby Inomark dealer. But the environment also crushes the unfit, and we walked straight into the result of a society that has struggled to change, but not yet emerged from its dark past. First, face control. Would they let us in to buy a car? Every customer gets the once over – from the security at the door, the in-house insurance agents, and finally the “order takers.” “Order takers,” not salespeople, because cars in Russia are not sold, they are bought. This if fortunate for the dealer – they don’t have to worry about niceties such as customer service, courtesy, and sales skills. The finish on the dealer’s showroom looks real, but just check under the hood. We step up to our order taker and ask sheepishly, “Would you please permit us to buy a car from you?”
“We don’t have any!” she responds. “Let’s look at the computer.” She scans the screen and tells us the car we want will arrive from the Japanese factory in about 3 weeks. “If you want one from the plant in Turkey you can get it sooner, but the resale value will be less.”
“We’ll take the one from Japan; this will give us time to arrange the bank loan,” we say enthusiastically. Her face darkens. Did we make a mistake? Will she have security escort us out? Had we made an incorrect assumption that the rep desk of one of Moscow’s prominent foreign banks meant that credit was available? We sighed with relief when she said, “I’ll write up the contract – you put up a 10% deposit. Come back on a weekday to talk to the bank clerk.”
Admittedly, our situation is complicated. Since I am a foreigner, we decided to put the car in Wilma’s name. But she is a teacher and wouldn’t qualify, so we would rely on my income. “No problem,” said the somewhat grusnaya bank clerk on Monday. We delivered full copies of our passports, employment contracts, and a spravka from our employers showing income.
A week later we went in because the clerk had not called as promised. “We can’t do it. Wilma doesn't qualify. Fred will have to apply in his name.” This was of course information she could have known before we spent the time applying. The dealer's order taker backed her up, “you can register it, no problem.” More forms. We call, again after no call back. “Your visa is expiring – we can't take the application now!” A few days later I find out on the Expat list that the car registration will expire each time my visa registration does, every six months.
Pick up the next issue of Passport; maybe by then we will know (maybe) whether we will be back in our pomegranate pet or a shiny new import.
Photo by Tania Teschke
Are your welcome mats out? It’s the season for visits from family and friends from home! And when the weather is nice and warm with no snowstorms, why not? Then reality sets in. Suddenly things can get complicated very quickly. Entrance visas – rather expensive and long and hard to acquire, especially for a family of four who then want to save money by staying in your apartment after they shell out the $400 for the visas – “no group discounts?” they ask?
Next, we begin to plan the itinerary for the visit. How much does the average family member or friend really know about Moscow? About a teaspoonful of information it seems. The Kremlin, St Basils and Lenin’s Tomb. OK, that will take maybe a day to see – less if Lenin gets consigned to a less public resting place. It seems that the average visit by relatives or friends is usually 10 days. Since another day is spent recovering from the airline trek, I have 8 more days to fill with the interesting and fabulous sights of Moscow. You want them to feel that they haven’t come “all this way” and not absorbed some of the other sights that make us love this city.
And so I start to plan the “Lippner Death March of Moscow” as it is known among the veterans of visits to Linda. I arrange tours for my guests with reliable Englishspeaking guides who meet them at my house at 8am to start the day. Means of transport – the Metro of course! I instruct the guide to divide the city into 4 quadrants and to not leave any historical sight unseen in each section. I expect them back at my apartment no later than 6pm while I have had a relaxing day at the office. If I am really compassionate, I arrange a day trip to Sergiev Posad, Tula or Borodino, knowing the folks will sleep in the van both ways. Evenings? Opera and ballet since the Bolshoi is also on most visitors’ wish list. After a day of touring and champagne and caviar before the show, I always wonder if they remember much of what they see as they sit dozing as the lights go down. I also note if they notice that they are walking past the ‘real’ Bolshoi Theater and entering the ‘new’ Bolshoi.
Lastly, the train trip to St. Petersburg. To save time, they travel overnight and arrive at dawn for sightseeing. This is the city visitors think they know the most about – Catherine’s Palace, Peterhof, and the Hermitage, instead of Victory Park, Novodevichy Convent or The Cat Circus of Moscow. I usually stay in Moscow, while they tour the smaller, more ‘European’ Petersburg. When my visitors return, I usually feed them a home-cooked meal, and tuck them into bed for their last night. Or I suggest we eat out near the Kremlin and wait for the sun to go down and view the fantastic illumination of the most famous sight of Moscow – the Kremlin. After all, that is what they really came to see and what they will really remember.
Paradise was never lost
Have you ever been on vacation and said to yourself, “Wow, this is Paradise”. You know that feeling that you get when you are on a silver sandy beach on the edge of an azure blue sea that reflects the deep blue of the sky. Coconut palms yielding their refreshing nuts and baskets full of exotic and even unusual fruits added to exquisite and unusual cuisine. Yes, Paradise! And that’s without talking about the climate. I get that feeling every time I visit Phuket, Thailand.
On my last visit (the second this year, so far) I decided to investigate the possibility of buying a home in Paradise. There are some great deals and there are plenty of real estate agents. Yes, it is possible for a foreigner to own property in Thailand, but it is best to take independent legal advice.
I looked at several apartments in Patong – the hubbub of the island – but my preference was found one kilometre from Mission Hills Golf Club at Lalana Court. The 2/3 bedroom villas with their own mini-pool start at $145k; to very large 3 bed with pool for a little under $260k. The way property prices are rising in the area is a very good omen and makes this a great time to buy.
The location of Lalana Court is not beach-side, but it is 2 minutes drive from Mission Hills Golf Club and10 minutes to the famous and outstanding Blue Canyon Country Club that has two 18 hole championship courses. It has won many awards and is one of the top rated in Asia. Lalana is also only 10 or 15 minutes from wonderful, full service, yacht marinas. The prices are not beach-side either!
The pleasant shock about house buying in Thailand is that Bangkok Bank, through its Singapore Branch, makes house loans of up to 60% available to foreigners who qualify. All of the details are available on their web site.
While house buying in Paradise might be your dream too, it is wonderful to do it in an area that is showing great capital gains. A little bit of forward planning can ensure that those gains go straight into your funds when, and if, you ever decide to sell.
Time in Phuket, when not being spent shopping, on the beach, having a massage, sailing, playing golf, is spend eating the most magnificent Thai food. There are many guide books but the best restaurants are always found by word-of-mouth or by searching for new experiences. There is no such thing as bad Thai food. And best of all you can be doing all that as you property appreciates in value.
Here are some useful links:
www.phuketgazette.com for information on real estate and local news: www.bluecanyonclub.com
Tiger Woods loves it: www.bangkokbank.com or call: +65 64100-400 their web site is a bit of a maze.
www.lalanacourt.com choice buy in the famous Phuket Hills
www.phuket.com/dining/index.htm Some suggestions where to dine
How to say: I’ll call you…
ß âàì ïîçâîíþ…
How you make yourself understood on the phone is another issue, but for the moment you may just want to let someone know that you’ll be calling them:
At some point in the future:
ß âàì ïîçâîíþ…
…÷åðåç ÷àñ – in an hour
…ïîñëåçàâòðà – the day after tomorrow
…óòðîì – in the morning
…êàê ìîæíî ñêîðåå – as soon as possible
When something else is over:
ß âàì ïîçâîíþ…
…ïîñëå îêîí÷àíèÿ ôèëüìà – after the film
…êîãäà ïðèåäó äîìîé –when I get home
…êîãäà ïðèåäó îáðàòíî â Ìîñêâó – when I get back to Moscow
Where are you calling to:
ß âàì ïîçâîíþ…
…äîìîé – at home
…â îôèñ – at the office
…íà ìîáèëüíûé – on your mobile
…íà ãîðîäñêîé – on a landline
But only if you have to:
ß âàì ïîçâîíþ…
…åñëè ïîíàäîáèòñÿ – if I need to
…åñëè âû ìíå áóäåòå íóæíû – if I need you
…åñëè íå áóäó âàì ìåøàòü – if I won’t be disturbing you