London Vs Moscow

After my visa misadventures, I eventually got my ass down to London for a week of work and, naturally, I decided to compare the two.

Contrary to what a lot of Russians I meet think, not every British person is from London and I'm one of them. Fortunately in the UK, there are plenty of decent cities that you can live in and earn a normal wage. In Russia, your earning options are quite a bit more limited (to say the least) which is why so many people flock to Moscow for the almighty rouble.
                                                                    hail before its powerful exchange rate

Sure, some people say Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world, but trust me, it's got nothing on London.
Moscow does overpriced hotels and real estate, but other than that, cost of living, food, transport etc are reasonable. It's a good thing too because the real wage here is a lot, lot lower than in England's capital.

As for London, from the minute I touched down, pound coins started disappearing from my precious bank account.

London - The bad

I'll start with the tube (I hate that thing so much I could probably write a book on it).
My main gripe (and there sure are a lot) with the tube is that it is very expensive and still manages to be shite. Delays are common and the whole layout is insane.

If you live there, travel costs will set you back at least 100 pounds per month.
As an added bonus, multiple tube lines close on the weekends for repairs making life that extra bit less convenient.

                                                                      The new tube map for 2012

As my bad luck would have it, I arrived late sunday to find most of the line I needed shut, forcing me on a massive detour, then an overground bus service with my wheely bag and laptop case - not the best start to a week.
Of course  if you feel like getting behind the wheel, you have the congestion charges and high petrol costs.

The other main cost, at least to me, was living. Sure, you can live in a shitty hostel with 16 other people in a room and pay peanuts, but at a soul-crushing almost 30 years old, I'm done with that shit.

                                                                                        Ballin', hostel style

Unsurprisingly, London rent is insane. Of course the pay is higher and you could, to save some cash, live far away from the centre. Sadly, all the rent money you save will get spent on the increased travel costs.

London - The Good

It wasn't all tube rage of course. I found food costs were pretty decent and sushi was, to my surprise, very affordable.
I stopped by one place, a Japanese kind of supermarket, bought enough sushi to feel full, and it was a mere 5 pounds!
To boot, there were actual real Japanese people working there, unlike the fake Uzbek-style 'Japanese' you get working in Moscow sushi restaurants.

There is also an abundance of what I call normal cafes – small places you can drop in, get a cup of tea or whatever and be done, no sitting around waiting to be served bullshit. I would stop in one for breakfast that was run by Portuguese people and they had the weirdest shit on their TV every day (Portuguese TV is pretty whacky apparently).

                                                                                    dining at its, er, finest

In Moscow you have plenty of cafes, but they’re all the same - like shokoladnitsa, coffee bean, starbucks etc where you pay out the balls for a small cup of coffee and a micro portion of food. In a lot of them you have to wait for a waitress too which is a pain if you are on the go.

I also like the international feel that London has to it. You can literally meet people from all over the world there, so living in London, you'd never have to fear forgetting your crazy-mad Russian skilz.

London - The curious

The total lack of Babushka. 
I saw hardly any old people on the tube. In Moscow, on a daily basis I see probably close to 50-100 babushkas per day.  They;re out with their pensioner trolley things taking on all manner of public transport. whether bus,  trams or street, they’re there, getting shit done.

                                              not the sleek, mobile pensioners of the West, but still. 

Coming back to the Tube though, instead of old ladies it was full of people drinking coffee on the go and reading newspapers - every seat was free for guilt-free sitting! I  was surprised at how surprised I was. Do old people not use the tube in London? Do they use other transport?

The final impression 

Granted, my comparison isn't totally equal, but I got a feel for the working vibe there.

I like London for a visit, but I don't think I'd like to live there. Perhaps I've just been in Moscow too long and been irreparably corrupted. I'm like the guy in prison moves that has been in prison   for too long and can't adapt to the outside world any more. Sure, he knows it's good, but he just doesn't understand it anymore.

Regardless of all the fucked up political shit that goes on here, Moscow's still home for the moment which is just as well for blog!

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Anonymous said...

i like moscow too

Anonymous said...

me too

Anna on October 15, 2013 at 12:30 AM said...

The tube prices were the most shocking experience of going to England. I expect cabs to be expensive in Europe, but municipal public transport? OBNOXIOUS.

Lt. Columbo on October 15, 2013 at 10:56 AM said...

Oh the London Tube and transport, I hate them both so much. It's like my worst rant area!

Anna on October 18, 2013 at 11:01 PM said...

Ohhh, I'd love to hear it. I traveled to London with an ex-boyfriend who had spent quite a bit of time there before, so I was spared having to navigate the transport system myself. I do remember not really 'following' the tube structure and transfers, but I was fond of the buses and the tableaux at the bus stops showing the wait time. Tho for some reason my ex wouldnt let me go sit on the top floor of the bus (my dream!) bc 'the wrong kind of ppl sit there.' Please tell me he was being paranoid?

PS - I looooove Moscow metro. I can survive NYC's - if the rats dont kill me.

Lt. Columbo on October 22, 2013 at 8:16 PM said...

Tube navigation is really quite difficult, need a freaking compass down there. and it breaks down all the time. the list goes on!

Weird about the buses tho. Maybe im just out of touch with bus life :p

Unknown on June 23, 2016 at 3:56 PM said...

I'm native Moscovite and hate Moscow

abid on November 10, 2017 at 2:50 PM said...

sometimes dodgy people sit on top but in the back seats so yes especially in night time when less rush

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