Money, Shops, and Restaurants
All cash operations in Russia are maintained in rubles. One can always find the current exchange rate at the main page of our website. Practically every bank provides the service of exchanging foreign currency to rubles and vice versa. However, one should be prepared to show the passport and the customs declaration when exchanging one currency for another. The exchange rate can be usually found on the display near the entrance of the bank. Many shops as well as the overwhelming majority of restaurants accept Visa and Mastercard cards, whereas American Express cards and those of a local bank card association Zolotaya Korona (The Golden Crown) are accepted less frequently. A sticker at the entrance door serves as a widespread means of informing the customers about the possible ways of payment. In case one wants to pay in cash one may go and find ATM’s in virtually any building in the downtown. In other city districts ATM’s are usually located in shopping centers, large grocery stores, banks, public offices, and at subway stations. Banks often indicate the location of the nearest ATM with the help of pointing signs depicting acceptance marks. The majority of ATM’s operating with international bank card associations falls to the share of Sberbank and Alfabank.
A sticker at the entrance door serves as a widespread means of informing the customers about the possible ways of payment.
Shops and Pharmacies
In contrast to many European cities, there is a relatively large twenty-four-hour grocery shop in every block of Novosibirsk. Apart from food, one may purchase personal-care products, household chemistry, crockery, the printed press, and some minor household goods such as bulbs and electric batteries. Moreover, large malls found in the distant city areas provide a wide choice of goods and products for cheaper prices. Wherever one lives, there is always a day-and-night pharmacy nearby. It can be easily recognized by red (or green) cross symbol (like in any European country). In Russian pharmacies all widespread medicines are in sale. Moreover, everyone can buy without any problems a lot of medicines, that in Europe could be bought only with recipes (for example, antibiotics).
The exchange rate can be usually found on the display near the entrance of the bank.
Alcoholic beverages are sold in all the shops. However, one should take into consideration that stiff drinks are not for sale from 10 pm till 9 am in the Novosibirsk region. Here is a short list of prices which can help one to become more familiar with the cost of spirits in Novosibirsk: a bottle of such beer as Carlsberg, Holstein or Efes costs, on the average, about 40-50 rubles; the price of a bottle of a good wine is approximately 300 rubles and higher. Bars and cafes usually sell the same items two or three times more expensive.
Tobacco is very cheap in Russia. For instance, a pack of Winston costs 30 rubles, Marlboro can be bought for 40 rubles, whereas the price of a pack of Dunhill is 60 rubles. A law restricting the maximum retail price of a pack of cigarettes has been passed recently, so that various shops sell tobacco for the same price. Antismoking reforms have not yet become the issue of wide discussion, so smoking is allowed in the majority of bars and restaurants.
Natural fruit and vegetables grown without the help of genetic engineering are for sale at cheap prices since many people sell the products from their own market gardens. The citizens of Novosibirsk prefer to buy vegetables and fruit from these very people because of favorable prices.
One liter of ordinary gasoline costs 22 rubles, super-gasoline is sold at the price of 24 rubles.
Prices given for July 2009.
Almost all restaurants offer the so-called business lunches on workdays at the time when Russians have lunch, which is approximately from 1 pm to 4 pm. Basically, it means that one can order a substantial meal for the price of one hundred and fifty up to two hundred rubles. Any other time, an ordinary dinner without alcoholic beverages costs from two or three hundred rubles per person, but the prices may vary significantly in different places. There is also an economical option of eating at canteens at the approximate price of one hundred rubles. The local citizens prefer to cook food at home.
It is customary to leave the sum of money equal to five to fifteen percent of the bill in bars, cafes and restaurants. Nevertheless, tips are not perceived as something that goes without saying. So, sparing a waiter a tip is not regarded as something extraordinary or offensive, especially when the quality of his or her work does not seem to be satisfactory. Thanking a waiter after paying the bill is a common way of letting him or her keep the change as tips. Though, this rule is not a universally acknowledged one. Taxi passengers are not expected to tip.