So there’s a Versace store a few blocks from my hotel in Vladivostok. This may go along way towards explaining my experiences thus far. Apparently, I’m in the ritzy part of town, which is why restaurants have been unimpressive and overpriced. I guess the coat-check at the Italian place should’ve clued me in, but Madonna videos and a mulleted bartender tricked me.
There’s really no absolute way to tell what part of town you’re in. Here, the nice area has crumbing sidewalks and port-a-potties. When I went to Zurich last year, I thought I was in the nice part of town until I walked past a brothel. Unless you know the whole city, it’s hard to judge an area.
So if I consider the fact that I’m a sloppy looking foreigner (who probably smells a bit) waltzing into high-end restaurants, I can understand the cold reception. If only I knew enough Russian to ask where the working-class part of town was. Then I could go hang out w/ my own kind and not accidently insult all the people who want to shop at Versace and eat in nice restaurants w/o having a dirty traveler spoil their illusions. If only there were a country w/o all these status symbols and class distinctions.