The smell of gasoline and cigarette smoke awakens me long before my first sip of coffee. I never knew it was possible for a city to actually take on that scent at certain times of the day. Then again, I can recall even more pronounced cigarette smoke suffocating me in Parisian cafes and the diesel infused smog visibly hovering over Barcelona each morning. I can even remember a man lighting next to me at a booth at a diner in St. Louis, just a few years ago.
Cigarette smoking in Russia is a favorite pastime. In Moscow, most residents find themselves helplessly immobile without a white bit of tobacco rolled in bleached paper. They are even less functional without their morning dose of crack-caffeine. The coffee here is comparable to the jolting cups you can find in Europe. The menu lists dozens of caffeinated drink, most without milk or sugar. The average American is no match for a coffee shop around here. Sip it too fast and your brain will be throbbing well into the afternoon, too often and you’ll be making best friends with your dentist.
I won’t event get into the beer drinking that starts after breakfast.
See $9 cappuccino below: