09 November 2006

Still want to drive?

Some of our friends still insist on buying a car (maybe after seeing that the prices and taxes are actually a third of what they have to pay in Turkey) but there are two problems that a prospective car owner will face in Russia.

1. Theft: Moscow, with millions of expensive and luxury cars, is a heaven for a car thief. The soviet city planners have left some space for parking (exceeding their contemporary turkish colleagues) and they must have thought that nobody would steal a lada (who would steal a lada? Owning one is also like a punishment itself) and skipped the concept of guarded or closed parking spaces.

So a luxury car enthusiast must rent an improvised tin garage (see photo below) or leave his fortune unguarded in the freezing streets below (i also acknowledge that there are new housings with closed and guarded garages; but who could afford that?). So the thieves enjoy themselves in the moscow streets just as the pirates who have found chests of gold. There are some monthly rankings about which brand or model of cars are stolen more (This month it was Volkswagen Passats on the lead) and this affects the amount of insurance you pay and it even regulates the demand for that cars. I have heard from my russian friends that Porsche Cayennes are so on demand by thieves that, they don't even wait until you leave the car. Some have witnessed Cayennes being stolen with the driver in it in the traffic lights.

2. Roads: We have been told for years that France had the worst roads in Europe; but actually i have seen that the french roads would match some german autobahns. (This has been a lie of the engineers of Renaults produced in Turkey with faulty suspensions ; and they told that these dangling suspensions are tuned for French roads...nice) and here in Moscow, I thought that I have busted another myth about Russian roads...but I was wrong this time. The moment I left the borders of Moscow (aka the borders of a civilized world) I witnessed what kind of a torture transportation can become (9 hours from Ivanovo to Moscow...i still have an aching back for a month). Not attended for years, the roads have become suitable for any rally event (My dear friend Sebastian would bring his Corona here next year maybe) . Filled with holes, bumps and many other remainders of a shady past, the russian roads welcome any modern machinery to test the limits of endurance.

The tin garages and the lada "car wash" for the neighborhood

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