“Is Russia sketchy?”
Typically speaking, no. I like Russian people and culture. They are strong and confident. If you want to get taken advantage of, please re-enact the tired and dumb American tourist character I so vividly portrayed upon exiting the arrivals section at the airport. A taxi driver beelined it straight to me while I was looking for an ATM to take out some rubbles. Long story short, I got fleeced and paid around 10 times more than I should have to get to the hotel. Use Uber and use it often.
“Is the food good?”
The best food I had was the fish. Had some salmon, cod and grilled calamari. I would recommend Torro Grill (http://www.torrogrill.ru/) as being one of the best spots to visit. I ate about 3 lbs of chicken wings and washed them down with a Mexican burger wrap. The gentleman next to me was appalled at the amount of food I was able to consume. Little did he know I didn’t eat anything all day!
“Cheesy tourist spot?”
As cliché as it is, seeing the Red Square will never get old. This was my second time visiting and seeing it glistening in the snow made it that much better. Skating on the outdoor rink was something I will never forget. Although I was alone, the power of social media helped make the experience a bit less lonely and more rewarding/memorable as it sparked conversations with friends.
The first trip I had to Moscow and St. Petersburg was vodka-fuelled. It is custom with Russian businessmen to grow comfortable with one another through consumption of vodka. I drank way too much last time and was expecting to have to do this again. Fortunately, we created a strong enough human connection in our last visit that I was able to abstain from the same intensity of drinking. We sipped one vodka shot and that was all—thank God!
The highlight of the trip came from a conversation with a client where he explained how important the value of a human relationship is. He said that although he deals with other companies, he feels the strongest connection to our firm due to the people we have and our approach. While certain outfits can offer the best deals or the deepest profit margins, without the human element, the experience isn’t as valuable. People do business with people.