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Russia, August 1, 1997

I Go Far for Nike's in Moscow

What I do for a new pair of shoes

Last week, as I felt the pebbles on the street through my old Nikes I deiced it was time to buy a new pair. Yes, I know I should have bought a pair of shoes before I left, but I didn't know if they would walk off without me here. Now that I am living with a Russian host family that is richer that I ever was in the States, I'm feeling kinda foolish.

So Saturday I went into Moscow to grab a new pair, and get an overview of the Russian shopping experience. I went with my friend, Hannah, who lived in Moscow last year. She and I went to a Doc Martin store first. Yes, they have Doc's here, and the prices were only about $20 more than in the states. Now the selection was lacking a bit, only about 15 styles of the hundred possible were represented. Don't get me wrong, I was surprised they had Doc's here, much less at such a reasonable price!

On to the Nike store we went. Now the Nike store is in GUM, the largest, and pretty much the only mall in Russia. It is literally across the street from the Kremlin. I walked in and the Swoosh(tm) called to me. The store looked just like any Nike store in the states, except for the small mob in front of the selection. Maybe it was the sale, maybe its the only Nike store in a land of 200 million people, maybe because you could pay in dollars, rubbles, and credit cards, or maybe simply because both doors to the store were open!

GUM, a shopping and structural marvel!

I enjoyed the experience. A salesperson appeared at my side and asked which shoe I wanted. Unfortunately, they were out of my size in the first two picks, but the third they had. I tried them on, and for only $107.40, on my credit card of course, I walked out of the store in spanking new shoes!

On my way out of GUM, I saw an empty Levi store. Empty.. hmm. It wasn't closed for lunch, even though it was getting near that time, and there were helpful sales people all around. Maybe it was the sticker shock. I burned my hand when I looked at the price. 587,000 rubbles! Yes, if ya know the exchange rate of 5870 rubbles to the dollar that works out to an even $100. No it wasn't a two-for-one special. Now I know what to ask for this Xmas!

I actually enjoyed my experience. Strange though, that there is only one place in this entire country you can do it. I bet people from the distant parts make pilgrimages here and go home with train cars of stuff! Wow!

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