Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Bankomats and Pizzas
As in the UK the main way to access, withdraw and check up on your money to use your bank card and a bankomat. Over this weekend I had problems with my bank cards, an experience I don't ever want to repeat as it is unbelievably scary to be 1000s of miles from home and only have 1000p in your pocket! However as with most of my problems in life there is an amusing story to go with it! In this case two!
On Saturday my rent was due and had to be paid in cash in Reubles, so on Friday I went to the bankomat to take money out and managed to take most of what I needed, knowing that I had a daily limit I knew that I would have to wait until Saturday to take out my money and paid my rent.
As it was Friday night I decided that it should be pizza night, so in broken Russian I asked my Khozayka to light the oven (I am not allowed as it's too 'dangerous' for me to do it) we then had a debate in Russian as to whether I needed a tray or not. I said that it was not needed and showed her the insturctions, which were in Russian and she insisted that it was needed and that I was wrong. After much talk I won and put it on the rack rather than the tray. All was good until some of the cheese started to drip off the pizza onto the bottom of the overn and started to smoke. I then panicked slightly and tried to amend my error, this however was a very bad idea and led to the pizza falling onto the bottom of the oven but also sticking to the rack. Just before it nearly caught fire and started smoking I ran to find my Khozayka shouting 'На помочь! Пицца упала!' (Help me! The Pizza fell!) to which she just looked at me and when 'Что?' (what?). Luckily for me she sorted it and didn't, as I had expected, yell at me for nearly setting fire to her oven but yelled at me for not going away when she was cleaning the oven. At that point I felt to best to go hide in my room and watch Russian kids TV.
Saturday dawned and I spent the day sight seeing in the Kremlin museum and then listening to a classical music concert. It was not until evening that I remembered that I needed to get money out to pay my rent. So at about 11pm with two of my Russian friends I tried to find a bankomat to take out money. The first couple were broken, then we came to an enclosed one with a lock system. I had never seen it before and my friends explained that to open the door I needed to swipe my bank card in the lock bit and the door would open. I had no clue how to do it so I let me friend show me. This however turned out to be a very bad idea, first time my card didn't work so my friend tried again, this time however my card got stuck and refused to come out. This is the conversaion that ensued between me and my friend Vladimir:
Vladmir: You must swipe your card like this *card gets stuck*
Me: Vladimir, that's my bank card...
V: Yes, ok I know, Minute, all will be ok *fiddles with my card trying to pull it out*
me: Vladimir that is my bank card... that is the only way I can get money out in Russia...
V: Yes I know I just need small coins to pull it out
(after about 5 minutes of some rather colourful language and fiddling with my card)
me: (now somewhat panicked) Seriously Vladimir that is my bank card it will take about 3 weeks for me to get a new one sent from England!
V: yes.....ok.... everything will be fine
me: Is there not someone we can call for help?
V: No Lorik this is Russia!
I think that just about somes it up 'No Lorik this is Russia', after about10 minutes we got my card out and it was still in tact and works, but my friend's answer made me release just how different things over here are from the UK. In the UK there would have been a helpline to call and someone to come and help us, but not in Russia.
There was some more trouble with my cards but that was because the bank thought I was a criminal who was trying to use them illegally and then an internal system failure, which was sorted after several panicked calls to my parents. So all in all it was a very eventful weekend and I have now learned not to trust bankomats or cook Pizzas in Russian ovens.