Ukraine is a wonderful country. It is filled with Soviet-style concrete buildings in a particularly dusty version of grey. Do not forget to check out the internationally renowned collection of potholes in the road.
Oh, and never ever go anywhere without a passport, you will need it. Wonder about all of the security guards? Feel assured, you will understand why as gentle hands liberate you of your wallet and your watch. The money you think? Forget about them, you will not have any quickly.
A wise man get a Russian speaking translator from Russia, have him or hear rent some guys from the Militia (cost is about 500 dollars for a week) and you will be travelling in your own private motorcade and feel like the President of Depresneyville.
You should though be prepared for the Highway Patrol trying to rob your motorcade. So, whatever you do, rent a highly armored car of Teutonic origin. Mercedes are good cars to armor. The “Dong” in the side of the car is just the Ukrainian way of greeting tourists.
As you get tired of running around in your Motorcade feeling like the President of Depresneyville you might want to sneak away on your own. Then you will notice that what you thought are police is in fact a modern version of highwaymen. Expect to be arrested once a day. So whatever you do, carry your passport. A friendly hint, when arrested, put on your most unintelligent tourist expression, just talk a lot in a friendly manner in any language except Russian, after a while they understand that they you will not give them you hard earned cash. They might though beat you up and just take it, but that rarely happens unless you go into the suburbs.
What is then good in Ukraine? Well, the official travel brochure goes into great detail about the beautiful women, and how easy it is to find one for hire… But for a rather prim Swede, that is not it, more like yet another sad detail.
For me it is that it is so ugly and horrible that it has its own weird sense of beauty. Also, the people are really friendly, and behind their sad and depressed eyes often live a poet.
P.S. I will be back in the end of the week and the posting will resume to more normal amounts. D.S.