kralion asked: Question if you don't mind. How did you get inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone? Did you go on a tour planned tour or something like that?
Yes, to enter Chernobyl you have to go through a tour agency, and in general, you need to make the arrangements 2 weeks in advance as it takes up to 10 business days to push all the permits through. At the moment, there seem to be several companies that offer group and private tours. Group tours are running around $150 for the day and private tours are close to double that. I’d recommend the private tours though, as the groups seemed rather large. With a private guide, there is a lot higher chance you’ll get to bend the rules and enter some of the buildings/go further afield.
Last night, as I sat in a Ukrainian McDonalds, waiting on a late night bus, I was reminded of one of the more interesting discoveries I made on my trip to Argentina. You see, in general, McDonalds is not a good value in Argentina. I bought an Angus Burger Meal one day in Mendoza and was disappointed to learn that it cost more than the large steak, fries, and half bottle of wine I’d had for lunch the previous day.
Not everything was expensive though. While the average meal costs between 45 and 65 pesos, the Big Mac clocked in at a mere 29 pesos. Why you ask? Well in 1986 the Economist Magazine created the Big Mac Index as a way of measuring purchasing power parity between currencies. It continues to be a popular, if humorous way to rank countries using the price of a Big Mac meal relative to the rate that the national currency is exchanged at. Now, as I explained in a previous blog, the Argentine government has artificially inflated the rate at which the peso trades. Naturally, this would result in a poor standing on the Big Mac Index. That’s why the government struck a deal with McDonalds to keep the price of that single item artificially low. I have no idea what McDonalds gets in return, but suffice it to say, the Big Mac appeared to be a good seller, despite the fact that it wasn’t advertised and didn’t appear on the overhead menu.