Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m., Yaroslavl.
It was bound to happen eventually. I’d get ripped off by somebody.
Welcome to Real Russia.
As I arrived at the train station in the city of the Lokomotiv team, which will honour the one-year anniversary of the plane crash tomorrow, I had to get a cab to my hotel.
I couldn’t see one anywhere as I walked around the station, which was weird after being in Moscow where you’re mobbed with offers of a cab.
Finally, a guy in his early 20s wearing a track suit with “Russia” on the chest and a hat celebrating the 2008 NHL all-star game in Atlanta, a city without a NHL team any longer, saw me and said, “Taksee”.
Yep, I said, as he eyed the sucker I am.
I was smart enough to ask the price, which was 400 roubles, and got into the cab.
A buddy of his said something and they both laughed, and I knew I was in for it.
Fortunately he took me straight to my hotel — seriously, I was starting to wonder whether I was heading somewhere I’d need Liam Neeson to save me — and then I gave him 500 roubles.
Of course, he didn’t have change.
Oh well, I figured, just give him the money, get my bag and get to my room.
The worst part of it, other than the fact I probably could have walked from the train station to my hotel in about a half hour or less, was knowing that all was going to happen.
So, a cab ride which probably should have cost less than $10, the naive man I am negotiated a price worth about $12.50 based on today’s exchange rate, and ended up paying a little more than $15.
Fortunately, he did give me a receipt with a smile.
Anyone want to guess what amount he figures I’ll write on it?