Visiting Ukraine

So you have got to the next stage and are convinced it is time to go to Ukraine to visit your hearts desire. Try and do it within 3 months of first meeting. She has a life and wont wait forever and there are probably other men knocking on her door. Keep the relationship fresh and moving forward, not bogged down in internet chat. If you cant travel then dont use the sites and stop supporting the corruption.

Its easy getting to Kiev, Lviv, Odessa and the other cities that accept international flights. At the airport you will be met by armed military uniformed guards at passport control. It is easy to assume from their dour military attitude none of them have been abroad and seen how it is done in a courteous and respectful way. You might be right but it can depend on the day. I have had one easy journey through passport control.

Next up is the taxi. Like many places the charges are exorbitant if using a taxi off the stand at the airport. Prices asked at the beginning of 2018 were between 400-750uah to the center of Odessa. They all work together reassuring you that 400uah is a cheap deal and there was even a female ‘manager’ who came along and said how cheap it is. Leaving from the city centre, Deribasovskaya Street, Odessa, to the airport is about 70-100uah, depending on time and traffic. See if your accommodation has a transfer service or book an Uber before or on arrival.

I suggest getting yourself familiar with the city you are in and shake off as much of the jet lag as you can before meeting. I was a wreck the first couple of times because I was too anxous to get on with it. Better to be in a refreshed frame of mind.

The next thing to be wary of is her setting up meetings at restaurants that charge excessive amounts and give the interpreter and her a kick back for bringing you to their restaurant.

In Odessa, Ceasars, Selieri, Di More Fish, Selfie Cafe, Casanova, Karmasutra, Chornay Slav are some of these restaurants. Please use the ‘Contact Us’ if you have a restaurant to add to this list.

If a girl insists on one of these eating places you can be pretty sure she isnt genuine. The interpreter and her will go to the front of the restaurant at the end of the meal or return the next day to collect up to 50% of the price of the meal. As an example of what is happening these are 3 situations of over charging I know of personally and there will be many thousands more: one estimated bill for 3 people was about 850uah for the meal but was charged 4500uah and another 5500uah. A story from Kiev had the 2 women arriving 2 hours early and starting consumption, including somehow 2 boxes of cigarettes. The total bill came to over 9700uah or about $370US. On advise from someone the guy did a runner. The look on the faces of the women is unknown). Part of the problem is the bill is in Russian, we are disoriented in a new city and we don’t initially understand the value of the Hryvnia or want to make a fuss in front of our lady. A main course is usually between 150-300uah. The rest is fiction.

The first meeting doesnt need to be at an expensive restaurant. Meet at a cafe for coffee only. In Ukrainian culture men are expected to pay for the meal, interpreter and our dates taxi home. This can go well over $100US per meeting in restaurants. You dont have to pay for an interpreters meal but at the least ask her to ask you first if she can order. It is after all manners on her part not to just assume she can order as she pleases, which many do. Also consider your date is watching not only to see how you manage money, but also how generous you are and how that might reflect in family life. Be courteous with whatever you choose to assert.

Interpreters and their necessity or not; This is a subject with some debate. Some suggest an interpreter is completely unnecessary as everyone in the Ukraine school system gets about 6 years of English and supplemented by phone apps or a laptop connected to the net at a cafe is sufficient. I agree to a point but we all come in different personality mixes and in my experience few have have conversational English. And for some it just doesn’t work well, so figure it out as soon as possible and suggest a meeting without an interpreter later when you have got to know each other better and have covered the basics and developed a connection. If she is adamant there must be one every time then it is a very high chance she is sharing the interpreters fee and may not be genuine in her interest with you. Look for other signs too. Did they order expensive dishes and wine to increase the bill or did she drink just water and didn’t ask for taxi fares. Evaluate it fairly. Its not an easy discovery after traveling the world to hopefully meet your potential wife, but the earlier we figure out what is really going on the quicker the heart will heal and the less your wallet gets unnecessarily emptied, and consequently, the quicker you are available to someone else.

Taxi fares for your date;  Ask her early in the conversation how long it took to get to the cafe. How did she get there eg bus, tram, trolley or taxi. If she traveled by tram, bus, or trolley for next to nothing, that 100-400uah taxi fare goes in her pocket. Public transport in Odessa is very good, even if much of it is archaic. A Mashutka, or smaller bus (usually yellow) is 7uah and a tram or trolley bus is 3uah to go anywhere. $1US equals about 27uah, so 11c and 25cUS.

Before beginning a conversation online check a map and see which city the women you are interested in lives. If you don’t speak Russian traveling can be a very difficult experience and many in the industry are blunt and rude in ways we are not used to. Knowing where to depart a train is made easier by the guard alerting you to the correct station. Smaller buses are not so easy. The bigger bus companies like Autolux or Skybus are easier to deal with but recently Autolux’s English web page was taken down so if you stay at a hotel get them to book your ticket and a taxi to where the bus leaves from.

CAUTION: if you visit Crimea, Donetsk, or Luhansk, Ukraine will most likely ban you from entering Ukraine for 3 years for entering occupied territorities. As of August 2018 over 740 foriegners have been banned in violation of Article 332-1 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code and Article 204-1 and Article 204-2 of Ukraine’s Code of Administrative Offenses.

If your lady lives in one of these areas get her to travel at her own expense to a city in Ukraine. You can then reimburse her those costs but forwarding her those costs prior to her travel risks being scammed. For her getting out of Luhansk and Donetsk means long queues and a quota system which doesnt mean she can travel on her preferred day.  I have heard of 10 hour waits at border control on the Crimea border. You can only fly to Crimea through Russia because of international sanctions.

Safety; generally Ukraine is safe for visitors. I have personally never had any problems and travel with thousands of dollars of camera equipment which I carry openly. I have always felt safe but common sense applies as it does anywhere.

Kiev doesn’t have the relaxed culture of Odessa, or the beaches and is more business orientated. It is more expensive and scamming is rife there too.

Also be aware diseases like HIV, TB, and Polio are common. Check your governments travel warnings site.