Travel | Iconic Russia: Contemporary art, White Nights and grey areas

urban iconic

The ATM in Red Square gave me the option of USD or Russian rubles. I thought, “How convenient, a foreign ATM that will allow me to withdraw according to the equivalent US currency- very useful so I won’t have a surprise later on how the exchange rate affects my account balance.” I selected the middle option of “400 USD” and four, very crisp, US one hundred dollar bills shot out of the ATM, almost as if they were freshly minted. I quickly shoved the bills deep into my pocket and withdrew another equivalent in Russian rubles because I needed the local currency to buy food. Stunned and scared to be carrying large amounts of cash and US currency on the Moscow street, I quickly walked away and decided I should return to the hotel to lock up the extra cash along with my passport. This ATM experience was very suspicious…

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