Disclaimer: This will be a feature that will continue throughout the length of my stays in places. Since literally every place as a walking tour/tourist guide, I am morphing that idea into things about the city that you really want to see. I figure that since I’m a pretty good gauge on what people are into and whatnot, this would be a good way to do an unbiased infomercial on a city that perhaps you haven’t seen and would like to know about. I will not pull punches, if I liked a place — I’ll sing its praises. If I hated, I’ll tear it the biggest asshole on the planet. Because I know assholes: I am one.
Take these as you will because I’m speaking only from my perspective. And remember: opinions are like assholes, everybody has one and only mine matters.
One-word definition: Sextacular
Cleanliness of the city: Eh, Eastern-bloc-y?
Quality of Girls: 11 out of 10 — To state the absolute obvious, Ukrainian girls are just better looking than other girls. It’s not an opinion, its science. Whatever was in found in the Russian Federation waters, in the 1970s-2000s is just the perfect concoction for having women that completely reverse the Medusa effect. In fact, they are so stunning that you just can’t help but look and stare at them. You fall in love here. Early and often. I counted 167 times.
It was so ridiculous that I actually started to count the ugly ones. That was the game in Kiev. Every single freaking girl had a certain quality that you were just enamored with. Eyes, face, lips, hair, body, breasts, butt, whatever… I bet they even had attractive toes. And it had every kind of girl you could ever want to sink your dipstick into. Blondes, brunettes, petite, buxom, cute, exotic, beauty queens, models, uptight and bitchy, or angelic sweeties. I understand that leaves out Nubian goddesses and a whole bunch of other races, but like I said, every kind of girl you could ever want to sink your dipstick into…
Likeliness of Hooking Up: INCOMPLETE out of 10 — This is something that is completely subjective. It is largely determined by where you are and what you are doing, but in my situation it was fairly impossible to land a chick in Kiev. Not because it isn’t possible — in fact, I’m American — it is 100% possible. It is all but assured here, judging by the sights and sounds. But, it wasn’t going to happen for me on this trip.
You see, I was staying at a hostel and there are definitive rules about bringing people back to the hostel and having sex in general. As in, it wasn’t happening – even with a private room. The only chance I would have had would have been to go clubbing and work my way around to going home with girls. Or shitting where I ate (which would’ve been fine, but it is a dodgy subject and kind of taboo in hostel circles).
Now I have a strict policy that I adhere to all of the time – no clubbing. Not out of safety or anything like that – but 31 year old people of any sex, color, race or creed should be retired from the club scene. Like going on six years retired. Clubbing is for 16-20 year olds that aren’t allowed to drink legally and the 21-25 year olds that are just there trying to creep on them. AKA — everybody that does not know shit about shit.
It’s like the college fresh meat orientation.
And, in Ukraine, since it is too difficult to differentiate what clubs are safe, I just stuck to the hostel and going out with people from there. So yeah, no chance of hooking up for me — despite having Dutch and Ukrainian girls in tow. Simply because, well, the Dutch were weird and ginger, and the Ukrainians worked there and are forbidden to mattress dance with occupants.
However, I met an Australian male at the airport waiting for a plane that did not even try to hide the fact that he was visiting for sex tourism (which is huge in Ukraine). He showed me pictures of 18-24 year olds that he was chatting with in the club (dude might have been on the other side of 50). That’s Creepy McCreeperson and shows that girls definitely just want a ticket out of Ukraine — but for every one of those girls, there are about 10 that are really genuine and sincere. And, fortunately, still smokin’ hot.
Hooking up here can be a simple formality — its just that you have to be in the right situation. Having a vacation apartment could be the best play. AirBNB or Wimdu would be my suggestions. Hotels would work too.
Language Barrier Level: 8 out of 10 — Although many people speak a “viddle” English – I wouldn’t come back to Ukraine unless I had at least a conversational level of Russian. Kiev and Odessa are different because they are still very much within the shadow of Mother Russia. So although they are an independent nation and Ukrainian is the national language – the majority of people here speak Russian. When I inquired about which I should learn (Russian or Ukrainian), the girls at the hostel both said, pretty emphatically in fact, that “If you come to Kiev or go to Odessa, or just the Eastern part of Ukraine, learn Russian. If you want to go to Western Ukraine like Lviv, learn Ukrainian. However, Russian get you much farther in life.”
And they are right – despite their relative independence from the former regime, many former Soviet republics are Russian-speaking countries with small pockets speaking “the National Language.” I would say that it is like Canada with the Eskimos or the USA with the Indians. They have their own language but the rest of respective countries speak English (except Miami– because that place sucks).
I will return to this part of the world someday – and I will be armed with Russian in my back pocket when I do. It helps in all aspects but it especially so when cleaning the window to the world of beautiful people. So goals for the future – learn Czech, German and Russian – become fluent in them. And then start a modeling company.
Receptiveness of Foreigners: 6 out of 10 — Thus far, Ukraine was the most difficult entry at customs. It also was the most difficult to navigate because of the lack of English signs. And, locals will definitely try to screw you over and make a quick buck (which will be explained further in safety and security). However, girls are very receptive of foreigners. Guys? Not so much. But with several small tips, you can fit right in. Knowing some Russian helps — but mainly it is the way you dress that can make you less likely to stand out as a foreigner. Sticking to a steady regime of single toned attire without brand names strewn across the front, or your college hooded sweatshirts, etc. make you seem like you are localized. But if somebody gets a bead on you, especially if that somebody is a guy, he will try to fuck with you to make a quick buck.
Cost-effectiveness: 11 out of 10 — It was like being at the Dollar Store, with a whole bunch of dollars… 8 UAH for every dollar. And the prices were low. The most I spent on anything was 220 UAH and that was the personal cab fare back to the airport. Nothing else, including a huge buffet, was more than 75 UAH. And if escorting is your thing — 600-1200 UAH gets a top-shelf one for an hour. Good luck finding any top shelf hooker in America for $75-150 an hour. It’s more like 10 times that price — for half the time (for educational purposes only — engaging in hooker sex makes you susceptible to the clap… which isn’t a round of applause from the gallery).
Safety and security: 5 out of 10 — For the record, I think Kiev is amazing. It is awesome to see what they have done moving out of Communism. The juxtaposition of the city architecture between Soviet rule and the more cosmopolitan designs of recent times is impressive. However, Kiev is still very much a corrupt city. You see this the minute you are first confronted with locals. While waiting to exchange money, the taxi driver crooks were in full force at the airport. It wasn’t at the level of the Budapest Romany Gypsies grabbing you directly off of the train, but it was still uncomfortable. After exchanging money and getting on the correct bus and going to the train station to transfer into the Metro, fifteen different taxi drivers were full-on charging at me to give taxi rides. Yeah, no thanks fellas, I’d actually like to see the sun tomorrow.
The people are friendly but you must go after girls if you want any kind of help (directions, tips, etc.). Many people speak English but they act like they don’t. Men want money to help you – girls and women don’t. I asked a guy directions and he said 100 Grivna (UAH). Now that isn’t expensive at all – but still, that is fucking lame. Men just want money. But when you ask the girls/women, they physically take you places. But you have to catch them by themselves. And go after the ones that look innocent. Because they are.
But be proactive in your search. Don’t let them catch you, because they will — basically with your pants down. That’s the difference. Scams are prevalent in Kiev, and men and women will prey on you if you let them. However, you can suss out the situation and go after genuine people. Those that possess a vagina is the first step that you should be looking for in this quest.
And don’t engage with the cops as they are the biggest scamming culprits next to the “taxis”. You can easily get taken to the cleaners if you don’t have your passport on you at all times and are ready to flash it. And when I say flash it — I mean it. You don’t ever give your passport to a person on the street. You have to give your passport when exchanging money — but not anywhere else. If a cop asks for “documents” you flip your passport so they can see it — but you don’t hand it over. Cops in Ukraine have been known to take your passport and not give it back. I had to trick the one cop that took mine in giving it back to me when he tried to say it was invalid. After that I didn’t let any cop hold my passport, even on the day I was stopped four times going to get lunch — which was about a 5-minute walk from my hostel.
Cops will try to fine you for things like “walking on grass,” “crossing intersection when green man flash, not solid,” or just being a foreigner. They are crooked if you aren’t on your toes. The biggest and best advice I can give is don’t ever make eye contact. If you don’t engage them – and ignore them – it makes you appear Ukrainian and they don’t fuck with you.
I wouldn’t go out at night alone either. Having it be dark is one thing – as I was walking to the supermarket and feeling completely safe before 10 pm — but as the night lengthens, it could get shady. Problems arise in the early morning when you may or may not be a bit drunk. You are putting yourself in a very problematic situation.
How the Girls Are: 10 out of 10 — Fantastic. Talented. Nice. Engaging. Just mine for gold diggers. They’ll be easy to spot. I made a promise to myself — learn Russian, marry Ukrainian. That basically tells you everything you need to know. (Truth is though, I’d marry Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Ukrainian, Russian and probably Latvian, Estonian, Swedish and English when this is all said and done).
Best Chances of Meeting Girls: Knowing Russian is the link to meeting girls. However, if that isn’t feasible, the universities and cafes during the day are the ways to go. Additionally, being proactive instead of reactive is a great way to engage them in conversation. If clubbing is your thing — that apparently opens up a world of possibilities. However, be safe and only go to places recommended by people that you trust.
Accommodations: 6 out of 10 — For a hostel, it was amazing. I’d give Dream Hostel the 10 out of 10 for hostel ratings… but going up against the other places that I stayed at – it would be hard to get into the upper tier. It positively destroyed the Secret Garden Hostel I had come from in Krakow. There were a lot of young people but I had my own room.
There was a lot of interaction with the rest of the apartment and with the people that worked there. We had shared bathroom facilities but it was always clean and always safe. I never felt as though my belongings were in danger – and the staff was incredibly friendly, helpful and fun.
The location is absolutely perfect. Fixed right on the main street in Kiev, it looked out over the stadium that will host the finals of the 2012 UEFA European Championship. I would love to come back for that – but the likelihood of England making the Finals is less than what I’d say me hooking up with an international Czech supermodel was prior to September 22, 2011.
And I still feel like England has zero shot now — despite the change.
Beer: 9 out of 10 — I had what is called Lvivske beer which is manufactured by Slavutych under the Carlsberg company. Truthfully, it was a cheap beer (10 UAH per bottle) but it was actually quite good for being cheap. I guess you could equate it to $1 bottles of Bud Light or Miller Lite at college bars. However, this wasn’t a light beer and it had way more taste than both Bud Light and Miller Lite combined. It was surprisingly robust in flavor. I wouldn’t say it was up anywhere near my favorite beers — Guinness, Harp, Chimay Blue or anything like that — but for the price and the resulting flavor, it scored high marks.
Getting Your ‘Merica, Fuck Yeah! On — Sade, people. Sade. Smooth Operator in full voice, all over the place. Same with Madonna (Material Girl) and everything that still lives on through B101 and other soft rock stations. But it wasn’t just Sade-masochism… oh no. We had Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer,” Phil Collins “Easy Lover,” and freaking Huey Lewis at one point. I felt like I was thrust into the 1985 MTV Video Music Awards. But it was like it was new music to Ukrainian people. Interwoven with Kanye West, Lady Gaga and Coldplay. Boom, Huey Lewis.
I heard Sade not once, not twice, but 13 times! In various places in and around the city. In three days!
Pros — Amazing architecture, amazing looking women, unattractive dudes, inexpensive, incredible food and Dream Hostel. Oh, and 80’s music nights all the time.
Cons — Corrupt cops, scams, hardly any signs in English so difficult to navigate.
My Kiev Experience
Kiev was an impressive place. It was like a meat-grinder of everything: old and new, ugly and beauty, regimentation and rebellion, good and evil, corruption and sincerity, and anything else that is virtual direct opposite. It was a place that I just found myself mesmerized with. The people were fascinating, the women beautiful and the lifestyle was, in a word, fulfilling.
It was a city that I could learn to love. And you will too.
Kiev is not a city that I would necessarily recommend to a couple because it is not really conducive to that. In fact, the sights and beauty that are all around you would make a significant other possibly jealous. Because, well, the women here would make even the best of the best women in the United States, well, uncomfortable.
However, if you are a single male or traveling with a group of friends, Kiev is absolutely a great time. It’s cheap, its fun and it just yearns for you to come back. If traveling with friends, I’d suggest that you book up the entire Dream Hostel and just have it for yourselves. The staff there is awesome and it is like one big happy family. I would not go anywhere else in the city for accommodations because it is right where you would want to be. However, if you are looking to get laid — book up your own personal apartment. Just make sure you are near the Olympic Stadium — that is where the action is.