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Communication

 
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Saint-Petersburg has a widely developed communication market: here operate both international and local companies providing various services. You can use ordinary mail, e-mail, fax, telephone etc.

Post (Mail)

The are two types of post offices here in Russia: State Post and a big variety of different commercial firms which offer you services to deliver your mail in any place.
Unlike those firms State Post have two nice advantages and one rather unpleasant disadvantage. The first advantage is that sending mail through this post is quite cheap. To send letter in any country costs about 8 roubles. And the post offices are situated in the all districts around the city. But the bad thing with State Post is that it works rather slow (the letter delivery lasts about 2-3 week)
The cheapest commercial courier service is 'Post International' (Nevsky prospect, 20 - tel. 219-44-72)- it provides guaranties that your message will arrive as soon as possible, but the price is of cause higher.

Internet/ E-mail

Besides private and commercial access to the Internet there are some other ways to get to the world net:

free of charge access:
  • Open Society Institute (Konnogvardeisky boulevard, 7; tel.: 325-9652). First you should call there and appoint the exact time. You can have 2 hours of Internet access at one time on the working days only.
  • The American Cultural Center (Millionnaya street, 5; tel.: 311-8905). Besides a good library they provide an hour access to the visitors. It's better to make a call there beforehand as well.
  • American Educational Center (Fontanka embankment,46, 3 floor; tel.: 325-4593). You should visit it first and then fill the schedule of Internet usage.
Internet cafe:

NameAddressPhoneHoursPrice
SofitMira st., 10232 2022
232 0896
232 9360
10:00 to 23:0037 roubles/hour
CitylineKolomenskaya street, 33326 9020  
TetrisChernyakhovskogo st., 33325 4877
164 4877
10:00 to 21:00  

Phone

We have 7 figure phone numbers for usual users. There are some special freeof charge services containing less figures, such as
- emergency fire-service (01),
- police (02),
- medical aid (03),
- exact time service (060),
- general information inquiry service (008 or 060).
If you use the central city communication system at home you pay once a month a fixed sum of money, which doesn't depend on how many hours you have really talked. Calls to another cities and countries are paid separately - you receive a bill to be cleared off in any office of the Central Bank (in Russian - Zentrobank). A small note - the rate of tariff for these calls is much less after 10 p.m. and in the week-ends.Sometimes, but very rare shared lines can be met. This means that when your neighbour has a call you can't use the phone. This is rather annoying, but not very dangerous.

Intercity telephone calls

You can place inter-city calls direct or through the oper-ator (which is more expensive).
To dial direct
- dial 8
- wait for the dial tone
- dial the city code and the local phone number.
If you have problems placing direct calls e.g. you do not know whether the line you have will allow you to dial inter-city, or you are not sure of the city code ask your Reception Officer or Russian friends for assistance.
International calls
To do this you must:
- dial 8
- wait for the dial tone
- dial 10
- dial the country code and then the city code and number.
You can also book an international call by going to the local post office or buy some special cards for this purposes.

Public Payphones

You can find many phones in Saint Petersburg streets now, usually they are grey (in the metro you will also find green ones). There are two types of them. In the streets you will mainly find phones which accept cards (CNM cards). Cards cost 60 - 100 roubles (for 30-60 minutes of local call). Cards are always available in entrance hall of each metro station and also in some newspapers kiosks.
In the metro you'll find another type of phones they work with coins (one rouble per minute) and with Metrokom cards. Those which accepts coins are usually green.
When you use payphones you sometimes should push a button to talk. Similar system exist at the post offices - again you should press a certain button to talk. Look for instructions on the walls.
 
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"Airports n' Stuff

... Changing planes and terminals in Moscow was an experience...good thing I had 4 hours since the terminals were quite far apart, and not being able to read Russian, this seemingly simple task took me a lot longer and cost me much more than any Russian would have paid. As soon as you can get some Rubles:in small notes, prices seemed to vary with how much I pulled out of my pocket.
My plane landed in Novosibirsk airport - approx 5AM local time - and my worst fears of Siberia seemed to be coming true. We landed on this vast expanse of white.... the ground was just a featureless snow covered tundra. Looking out my window the whiteness illuminated by the planes lights just melted into this impenetrable blackness. I quickly looked out the other side of the aircraft and could see this lonely glow through the swirling snow that I really really hoped was the terminal.
The plane slowed to a stop about 1km from the terminal...a pilot error I thought. When the engines turned off and everyone started to collect their things I a confused. Looking out the window I saw this mobile set of stairs approaching the plane and realized we would be getting out outside...the swirling snow and gloom surrounding the plane didn't look appealing! The scary thing was is that I usually check all my bulky things with my luggage when I fly so I don't have to carry much...I figured if it were really cold outside I would put my jacket on before I left the terminal building.
Anyone going to Siberia in winter by plane should carry their winter jacket with them on board the plane....
Standing outside on the runway waiting for the bus that was to take us to the terminal was unremarkable only because it was a balmy -5C outside...if it were -40C like I had expected I think I would have a lot more negative view of Novosibirsk airport.
A bus/truck hybrid drove all the passengers slowly towards the terminal then suddenly stopped 400m short in front of this corrugated iron fence with a little opening. As all the passengers filed through the gate we were surrounded by cab drivers...of course I forgot to remove the word Tourist I had stamped on my forehead (or the cab drivers must have thought me was especially cute) because they seemed to harass me more than the others, the one exception being a pair of business men from Wisconsin.
I retrieved my luggage from this concrete building with an iron cage as it only distinguishing characteristic. Novosibirsk placed very little value on the creature comforts of its airline passengers..."