MOSCOW: The atmosphere at Starbucks in Moscow differs from that in New York: the crowd in Moscow tends to be students or people in their 20s; they are generally quite fashionable, they seem to prefer lattes or other sweet drinks to filter coffee and they tend to sit for a long time rather than take their coffee to go. Starbucks is a meeting point for many of the customers. Rustam, 18, was leaving Starbucks with his girlfriend Yulia. It was there first visit ever to a Starbucks and I asked him about his impression. ''Very positive, you can enjoy your time there with pleasure by yourself or with friends.'' A chef student, Rustam already works part-time at an Italian restaurant while he finishes his studies. He enjoys cooking pasta and meat and is inspired by Scottish cook Gordan James Ramsay. Rustam and Yulia met two years ago at their college. He says they have similar character and taste for fashion. They do happen to be wearing the same sneakers.
MOSCOW: Old Arbat is one of the most popular streets in Moscow, with tens of thousands - if not more - strolling down the pedestrian street on any sunny weekend. Artists and street performers bid for the crowds attention - and free change. At any time, as many as 10 musicians may be playing on this street at any one time and more than a dozen portrait drawers. Dmitry, a teenager, is among the street musicians playing occasionally on Arbat. For the past year, he has been playing with two other people - both much older - that he met on Arbat. He said the most memorable moment over that period was when well-known Russian musician NoiseMC stopped as he walked along Arbat to play music with him.
Zhanna was taking her dog for a walk along Old Arbat. She said her husband, a lawyer for one of the Russian ministries, died six months ago. She now spends her time with her dog when not selling antiques. ''My husband was very smart and I used to tell him, 'Honey, you know everything!' And he would respond, 'It is impossible to know everything.'''
Ksusha (left) and Kristina, two Moscow high school students, were sitting in a packed Starbucks on Old Arbat street on a Sunday evening, snapping selfies in between drinking their hot chocolate. Ksushu said they haven’t seen each other in a while and decided to take a walk along Arbat. They stopped in to Starbucks to warm up with a hot drink.