International Drinking Rules

Dateline: Moscow, Day 1

Moscow, Russian Federation
3 June 2009

When I last left off, I had finally arrived at the hostel. I got a bunk, then went out to find some food and get some more money from the ATM, although not necessarily in that order.

I walked back down to the Metro station and then wondered about. I eventually came across a Банкомат1 provided by CitiBank. I figured that would probably be a safe bet.

Money in hand, I set out to find food. Not feeling the best, I decided that the local KFC would fit the bill. Of course, the next tricky part was figuring out how to order. Looking at the menu, I had no idea what was what. So I was more or less relegated to ordering whatever they happened to be advertising on menu board (with pictures). So my plan was thus: figure out what I wanted to eat, then go stand in the line beneath the image. As it turned out, what I wanted to order was also on paper tray insert. So when I got to the front, I just pointed to the chicken wrap thingy (there’s no American equivalent as far as I know) and the Coke. It worked.

18.0 mm || 1/60 || f/8.0 || ISO640 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

I went back to the hostel, which is where I met my first set of hostel friends: Eric and Casper. Eric is from the UK and Casper is from Germany. They both study at university in the UK. They both came into Moscow today and are leaving on the Trans-Siberian railway on Monday.

Shortly thereafter, I met Kate, Lizzy, Tom, Gary, and Ryan. All five of them attend university at Edinburgh. They (minus Ryan) had just come from St. Petersburgs and Tallinn, Estonia, the exact reverse of what I’m doing! They’re traveling to Mongolia via the Trans-Siberian, leaving on Saturday.

According to Eric, the one must get pissed2 on the first night anytime one is in a new city. Furthermore, since there were several different nationalities represented, International Drinking Rules applied. I had no idea such rules existed, but they do:

  • The word ‘Drink’, or any word with ‘Drink’ inside it, must not be spoken during the game.
  • There is to be no use of players real names during the game. Uncommon nicknames and “Oy, you!” may be used. Kate was know as “red shirt.”
  • There is to be no pointing during the game. Elbows are acceptable.
    Ungentlemanly conduct is prohibited (i.e. No swearing, openly belching, etc).
  • Alcoholic beverages must be kept at least one thumbs-length away from the edge of the table. This is known as the safety area.
    Beverages must only be consumed with one’s left hand, if you are right handed, and vice-versa.

These were the rules listed at, which is basically what we were playing.

So, after several drinking games involving cards, dice, beer, and Russian Смирнов3, the group decides that we should go find a bar. And 2am would be a good time to do this.4

So we head out, in search for a bar that’s open. After wondering about for 10 minutes, and being accosted by lots of taxi’s again, about half the group decided we wanted to go back. So we did.

What I didn’t know until the next morning is that while 8 people went out, only 7 people returned.

  1. ATM 

  2. drunk 

  3. Smirnoff 

  4. In retrospect, this was a stupid idea.