This week’s Where on Earth proved rather easy for reader John Samuelson who correctly identified the above McDonald’s location as Moscow (and congrats to Jim for second place).
Back in 1991 when I took this photo, Moscow was still a part of the Soviet Union and this was the only McDonald’s in the entire country. It had opened a year and half earlier and the lines still stretched around the block by the summer of 1991.
It took me and my friends 45 minutes to get through the front doors–a substantially less amount of time than the first year the restaurant was open. Once inside, 70 cash registers manned by pimply Slavic teens took our orders in a clean, friendly, efficient manner that simply didn’t exist anywhere else in the USSR at the time.
I personally make it a rule to never visit a McDonald’s while traveling (in fact, I don’t eat there when I’m home either), but this was one exception well worth taking–especially after two weeks of eating pickled tongue and other horrific Intourist food. I was starving by the time we got to Moscow and ended up wolfing down two Big Macs, a double cheeseburger, fries, 2 Cokes, a chocolate shake and a hot apple pie. The entire pig fest cost just $1.50.
I haven’t eaten at a McDonald’s since, nor will I ever again. But for that one afternoon, it was well worth it.