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Sunday, 16 June 2013

With two weeks gone is this the end of my #Kyiv #Kiev #Ukraine honeymoon?

 This will be a scattering of random observations accumulated over the past fourteen days, since my arrival in Kyiv/Kiev.


  • When did you last kick a dandelion seed head and watch the parachutes disperse on the breeze? I childishly took great delight in this activity as I walked along a road, with an overgrown grass verge, I was transported back to my childhood, definitely not the sort of feeling I had planned to revive in Kyiv.    
  • The location of my apartment is marked on my city map as being a grey industrial zone, the map copyrighted dates are 2008 and 2012, however the roads are lined with trees, there are a few derelict factory buildings, but the activity is becoming very residential, with apartment blocks sprouting skywards.
  • The pace of development is slower than my erstwhile home, #UAE, however Kyiv is regenerating itself.
  • The citizens of Kyiv are a friendly bunch, when in a one to one situation, but like city dwellers the world over, eye to eye contact on public transport is “verboten”, and I must apologise to anybody I have offended by my English mutterings as I comment on sights which for me are new.
  • Ukrainians with rather harsh winters seem to revel in the heat of summer, and dress accordingly and most appropriately, the flesh displayed is not to titillate it is a welcome feeling of liberation for the individual and community. I do not think I will succumb and will continue with my uniform of jacket, with shirt and trousers!
  • With this dress-style the female complexions, in the main, are the well-scrubbed type, not a reliance on the artifice of a daily re-paint with expensive make-up, after all human flesh is best admired  in its natural state, the perfect canvas.
  • Also I should comment on the smartness of dress, both female and male, it is good to see such pride in appearance, makes my appearance stand out like a sore thumb!
  • Where else on this earth could I stand, by the road-side of some railings, and enjoy for ten minutes the actions of a man scything meadow like growth, even though they were the grounds of an office complex?
  • I am astonished at the capacity for beer consumption 24/7, along with the kilometres of supermarket shelving given over to what many view as being a soft-drink, let alone the vodka!
  • One exceptionally noticeable aspect is my complete lack of ever sensing intimidation towards me and dislike for my well-being, which I contrast to the times I have been in Moscow, a truly intimidating city. In Kyiv my walking passes without incident, and my photography is accepted as the action of an inquisitive visitor.
  • I posted about my firstshopping expedition, which included the delights of a working model train set in Roshen, well the love of children is so apparent and everywhere there are playgrounds for them, along with keep-fit facilities.
  • As a non-5****** traveller I am enjoying the ease of accessibility to public transport, the pedestrian tunnels leading to the station entrances are alive with the tumult of commerce, I imagine similar in style to the #Shambles of merry #England.
  • As always when I venture off the beaten track people question my intentions and I am coming across a few #SovietStyle attitudes to my rather breezy commercial approaches, indeed somebody told me to formally write to her requesting a meeting with their Director, which I interpreted as do a #Google search for the email address, which duly appeared!
  • The spontaneity and welcoming of new ideas which is so prevalent in United Arab Emirates, certainly has not put in any appearances so far here in Ukraine, this reminds me of the initial attitudes towards my approaches in Azerbaijan, over a decade ago, and business was good enough, later, to justify my six month residency in Baku! It is all about constancy and effective communication from my side.
  • From what I have observed I deduce that the educational standards remain of a high quality in Ukraine, the number of book readers on the metro is astounding and yesterday on my train home I watched a pianist ghost play from sheet music!
  • As somebody kindly pointed out to me Kyiv was first mentioned in 5th Century AD, whereas I have only had a web-presence since 2009, so I must exercise patience in all my dealings with this new and wondrous location, and as they said about #Rome, the same must surely apply to my activities in Kyiv!
  • In the United Arab Emirates I fear the population has become a bit too blasé about the superb infrastructure that has been created for them, especially with regards telecoms, I have noticed weakness of signals repeatedly in Kyiv, and upgrades are certainly required to match the #GCC coverage.
  • On the other hand access to telecoms in Ukraine, seemingly a free and open market, is very straight-forward and non-bureaucratic, with exceptionally easy subscription and payment machines dotted everywhere, which balances out the dearth of the simple processes in United Arab Emirates, a duopolistic telecom scenario!
  • One final commercial aspect, and this applies worldwide, why, oh why do organisations regard the payment on time of freelancers a secondary issue, whereas they ensure their salaries are paid irrespective of whether it is vacation time or not? And as for those clients who renege on agreed payments, well please do remember that what goes around, will surely come around!
  • Domestically life is fairly straight-forward, with me enjoying the sight of a washing machine cycle, do bear in mind that formerly all my clothes went to a laundry, choosing detergent yesterday was a dilemna; my only grouse is about the maintenance of my apartment block central hot water system, which will now be restored in July, by which time my kettle will have been replaced. Take a look at the water, definitely not potable!
  • Yesterday I gazed longingly at water heaters in an electrical store!
  • As part of my new health regime I am trying to walk a lot more than my sedentary life-style in United Arab Emirates, this is paying back, benefits including the opportunity to just stand and gaze, which is rather marvellous.
  • Next up in health regime must be kicking tobacco out of my life, not too sure how this will go, but fingers crossed, without a burning cigarette!

So to answer the rhetorical question which opens this post, I know the honeymoon has not ended, have I even got as far as the wedding reception yet, let alone the Bridal Suite?