Kurgan, Russia
Date: Lodging: Distance: Total:
20/08/1999 Hotel Slavyanskaya 636 KM 35420 KM

Jim arrived a moment too late for this Tatar bride, but at least managed a good time at the wedding party.

The Red Army removed the entire BMW motorcycle factory from Germany to Russia after WWII. Since then, Russia has been producing basically the same 1938 motorcycle and sidecar. These are common in Russia because they are cheap (US$300-$400) and reliable.

We crossed 200 kilometers driving from Omsk to Ufa. Horsemen have been riding these steppes for centuries.

20 August 1999 – Arrived in Kurgan around 5:30 p.m. and a local led us to the foreign-owned Hotel Slavyonskaya, which also owns part of a plant in town. We have found several cities where companies have built their own hotels for visitors and business associates, since the local ones are in such poor condition.

After registering, we headed to a nearby restaurant recommended as one of the best in town. Upon arrival, the restaurant sent an attractive young woman downstairs to invite us inside and show us the extensive menu. Then she advised us of the entrance fee: 70 rubles (US$2.80) for women and 50 rubles (US$2) for men. What?! Jim could not believe the fee and I could not believe the price discrimination, so we left on principle.

Then we made our way to another fully booked restaurant with an entrance fee and then to a third restaurant charging 25 rubles (US$1) for entrance. We ended up eating pork shashlyk, bread, pickles, onion and tomatoes at a sidewalk café. Perhaps we gained nothing in our pursuit of a meal without a cover charge, but we felt we did the right thing by boycotting the absurd, new custom.


  Omsk, the Irtysh Hotel, Kazakhstan border (Jim)
  Crossing in and out of Kazakhstan; arrival in Kurgan (Paige)
  Restaurants charging higher entrance fee for women than men (Paige)