Dr. Neumann's Sept. 28 article on the advisability of drinking bottled water in certain areas of the world was good advice, but is difficult to follow in the U.S.S.R. I spent two weeks in Russia in June, and the bottled water available at table and in stores bore no resemblance to waters used in the West, nor did the sodas. The bottled water at the Rossiya Hotel in Moscow tasted like brine. The water at the Pulkovskaya in Leningrad was so foul-smelling that it was almost impossible to use it for brushing teeth. A bar cart sold Vichy water from Finland for 50 cents U.S. per small bottle.
Our group became obsessed with the problem of getting an adequate supply of liquid. We learned to drink beer and the delicious hot tea. At our prepaid official breakfast we were served a half cup of coffee. We supplemented this meager ration by buying tea in the hotel buffets, which are like small coffee shops.
A wise precaution for the traveler to the U.S.S.R. is to carry his own supply of canned club soda, juices and fruits.