The first int convention I went on was to Russia in 1993.
Overall, it was a good trip. One advantage of the trip (despite the overpricing) is that you are traveling with fellow witnesses, some of whom I knew so you were traveling with friends.
One fiasco that happened was with the accommodation. We were supposed to have paid for “first class” accommodation, although we knew that, considering it was only a few years since the Wall fell, “first class” may not mean the same as it does in the First World. Well, in Moscow the accommodation was fine. Maybe not the Ritz, but it was good.
However, at Novrogod, an ancient town halfway between Moscow and St Petersburg, we were accommodated at…… a brothel. Yes, we found out the next morning that the shabby little hotel we were staying at was really a brothel. I suppose that explained the skanky girls and middle aged men hanging around the hotel’s bar.
Then, we arrived at St Petersburg to find that our accommodation was CANCELLED. The story was that the Orthodox church leaders had found out that a bunch of JWs were staying at the hotel and weren’t happy, so our accommodation was cancelled. I’ll never forget the poor Russian guide (non JW) we had – she burst into tears when she told us the news!!
Somehow, we found another hotel and stayed there.
Afterwards, once we were back in Australia, we received a letter apologizing for the stuff-ups. They admitted that we hadn’t stayed in true “first class” accommodation and as a refund for the premium we had paid for the accommodation, we received a cheque for…
One hundred dollars !!!!
Umm, thanks WT Society…. I’m sure we paid more than that for the upgrade, but don’t worry, I’m sure you out our money to good use (/sarcasm)