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Entries in Sochi (50)

Monday
Oct212013

Abkhazia Tourism

 

 

We are providing trips to Abkhazia from Sochi.  If you would like guided tours, travel information and reservations please contact us.  Abkhazia, is the Black Sea's undeveloped Pearl for tourism.   Abkhazia boasts beautiful mountains, alpine lakes, inviting beaches, interesting cuisine, some of the world's deepest caves and interesting cities such as Sukhum and Gagra.  See it now, before it becomes a "destination" for adventure travel.

For tours/travel into Abkhazia, contact:   pavel@destinationsochi.com

 

 

 

Friday
Jan252013

Q & A Service- Sochi

I have a new Q & A service for those with interest in Sochi.  Please follow the link and join to ask questions directly online.

Questions will be answered promptly and if we can provide additional on-the-ground services to companies and organizations in Sochi, we will be glad for the opportunity and contact.

 

Monday
Nov192012

Sochi's First English Language Magazine

SochiMagazine.com, Sochi's first and only English language is now online.  The magazine features articles, hotel and restaurant reviews, a map of Sochi, photos and videos.  Also, the site has a social network for expats and others to join.  They can then offer reviews, comments and answer or ask questions and interact with the growing expat community in Sochi.

Please take a few moments, look at the site and join the community!

 

SochiMagazine.com

Saturday
Jun232012

Andrei Ponamarenko 

I recently wrote an article about Larisa Alexnodrova that was published by the Ski Channel.  The article has been picked up by several other websites in the United States, including one devoted to surfing.

Yesterday, I noticed that Sochi.com is carrying the article with a Russian translation. However, for unknown reasons the poster had removed my name as the author. This is unusual.  Andrei Ponamanreko, the owner of an English language school, had posted the link to Sochi.com on Facebook.  So, I wrote to Andrei, politely telling him that it was fine to use my article, but to please ask the administrator of the site to credit me as the author.  He agreed.

This morning, I looked at the site again to see if I had been credited as the author. I saw this had not happened.  I also saw that the article had been altered.  The final line of my article had been changed.  The original version:

 

"If you want to catch up to Larisa, she can often be found at the Sochi Expats Club parties, telling us about her latest travels."

The new version:

"If you are interested in meeting with Larissa and talk in English about her recent travels, come to the English Club (www. inyaz-sochi.ru, st. Park 19, ie 239-44-49)."


Only when I read this did I realize that Andrei Ponamarenko had posted the article himself as advertising for his school.

I wrote to Mr Ponamarenko and explained to him that the article was the intellectual property of the Ski Channel and Bruce Talley and that he did not have permission to alter the article and use if for his commerical purposes.  I explained that the law is clear on this subject and that what he had done was intellectual piracy.  I asked him to change the aritcle to its original form or remove it.

A short time later, I was forwarded a link to a video about Mr. Ponamarenko's school.  A few weeks ago, i went to his school, which I have done occasionally over the last 7 months, to speak English and to talk about American culture.  When I got there, Mr. Ponamarenko said that they would lke to interview me for an advertisement.  I had little time to think about it or ask what the content would be. They interviewed me for a few minutes. Today, I saw the video clip.  The viewer is told that I am at the school constantly teaching students.  This is false. I have been there twice in the last 3 1/2 months.  I have never been paid and I am there not as a teacher (I am not a teacher, nor have I ever been).  

So, Mr. Ponamarenko is purpusefully using my image to mislead people.  I believe in truth in adversiing. Also, I have carefully built my image over a number of years.  I have appeared at the World Russia Forum in Washington D.C.  I have been interviewed by the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, Delovaya Gazeta Yug and Real Business.  I have developed an English language tourist application for Sochi. I have a video channel on Sochi in English.  I write this blog and a private newsletter about Sochi that is read by many Olympic organization officials, media company executives and journalists the world over.  My information is positive, accurate and helpful for the many foreigners coming to Sochi.  For many westerners, I am Mr. Sochi.  

I hope readers will entreat Mr. Ponamarenko to desist.

 

Sunday
Jun102012

Mandarin Cafe and Nanuli Bigvava

 

 

 

Recently, I was invited by Nanuli Bigvava, the owner of the Mandarin Cafe in Sochi for a visit.  Her place is in on busy, central Vinogradnaya Street.  Despite its very good local reputation, I had never eaten there.   Nanuli, who is originally from Sukhum, Abkhazia, sets the gold standard for charming hostesses in Sochi.  Her warm and inviting presence alone makes Mandarin Cafe worth a visit.  

 

 

Nanuli invited me and several friends to sample the menu on her dime. That is pretty unusual here, anyway. Then we tried the food and I was surprised by the diversity and sophistication.  We had several salads, including one of fresh greens, avocado, tomato, shrimp and strawberry and, also, a seafood salad that really stood out.  I also tried the rib eye, which exceeded my expectations, with a surprisingly dry Russian red wine, Grand Vostok, from Krasnodar Region's wine producing district.  My companion had a simple, but very good warm spinach soup and enjoyed trying several of Nanuli's kitchen's deserts.  Given her heritage, I expected Nanuli's menu to be dominated by food of the Caucasus.  When I asked her about this, she quickly pointed out that in addition to her regular menu, her kitchen was ready to prepare the distinctive fare of Abkhazia.   

 

 

Nanuli has always been interested in food; she loved preparing dishes for her family growing up in her native Abkhazia. So there was no question in  her mind about the direction her life should take after she finished high school.  She came to Sochi to study at a culinary school.  (At that time, Abkhazia and Russia were both parts of the Soviet Union, so there was no border.  Now, the border between the two sits just past the Olympic Park.) Nanuli got married, had a son and opened a cafe in Sochi.  However, with conflict in Abkhazia in 1992, she sold her holdings to help out family displaced there.  

Eventually in 2010, Nanuli reopened in Sochi, this time the fashionable Mandarin Cafe.  Her menu is eclectic for Sochi, but she clearly is imaginative and likes to challenge herself and her staff to show something to diners that they don't regularly see in Sochi.  Nanuli eventually divorced, but wanted her son,  Slava,  to have an American education, so at the age of 19, he went to the United States and studied, later receiving his university degree there. He now works as an auditor for an oil company in Houston, Texas.  Slava, who is her biggest cheerleader and advisor, helps her with ideas that he sees in restaurants in the United States.  Indeed, it was Slava who reached out to me across 9 time zones and suggested that I meet with his mother.  

Nanuli is already thinking about the thousands of international diners who will come to Sochi.  There are plans for new international dishes on the menu and she openly solicited ideas from me about what American and western travelers might like to experience in the Mandarin Cafe.  This is not a one-size-fits-all, take-it-or-leave-it restaurant owner.  She has also begun the planning to get involved in catering for the Olympic period.