Ukraine Survival Guide


This is a short ‘survival guide’ for people who are unfamiliar with Ukraine.

I have been here in Ukraine for over two years, but I still remember what it is like to arrive in an unfamiliar place with a crazy alphabet and an almost non-existent tourist industry. So, while the guide is not 100% serious – I hope you find it useful and/or enjoyable.

Also, if you live here and you have anything to add, or if you disagree with me, please add your comments below. I’m sure there will be lots of things I miss and I hope the comments section will grow to be as useful as the guide itself.

If you have any questions, then please also use the comments section at the bottom. I will add more to the guide as/when I can.

The Ukraine Survival Guide

The water.

Drinking the water in Ukraine won’t kill you, but it might give you unwanted stomach problems and if you drink too much you might spend more time on the toilet than anywhere else.

Most locals happily drink the water once its been boiled (for tea etc) and it doesn’t do them any harm. It is also perfectly fine to wash your teeth and rinse your mouth with the tap water, so don’t panic if you accidentally drink some or swallow some while cleaning your teeth – you’re not going to die.

To be 100% safe buy and drink bottled water which you can buy from almost every Kiosk/shop. Also, if you are unlucky and you do develop a bad stomach you will find pharmacies all over the city. Good luck explaining your symptoms to the cashier ;-)

Toilets and toilet paper.

If you ‘need to go’ while you are in a hotel, bar or restaurant then the toilet will probably look quite familiar and although it might not have a toilet seat, I think you know how to use it.

However, if you are not in a ‘modern’ building (this includes most theatres and public buildings) then you will probably have to use a squat toilet.

Unfortunately, I still haven’t worked out a satisfactory method of using them. So, if you really have to go – good luck.

TP Tip. Wherever you are, you’ll probably have to ‘wipe’ with some cheap, abrasive, and depressingly grey toilet paper. If you are exceptionally fussy about such things I suggest you keep a small supply of tissues in your pocket. If you are totally desperate and there is no paper, then there is always the 1 UAH banknotes. Ten of them only costs you a Euro!

The Police.

The police in Ukraine are unlikely to be anything like the police you have at home. Ukrainians do not trust their police, they do not call the police if they have a problem unless it is absolutely essential, and if they do, they don’t expect much to happen. Here in Ukraine the police are seen as a public nuisance which, where possible, should be avoided.

In my experience, if you speak English (or any other foreign language) anywhere near the police they are likely to stop you and ask questions. The first question will almost always be: Where is your passport?

If you don’t have it, things get complicated.

> If you are with a Ukrainian or you are good at talking your way out of a tricky situation, they might let you go.
> You might get an on-the-spot fine.
> Or, you might get violently thrown into a police van and driven to a suburban police station to be intimidated.

Of course, if you are in Ukraine and you are a victim of a crime you definitely should contact the police, but if you have time I recommend you speak to your Embassy first. They will be able to offer advice and if you need one they will recommend a translator and lawyer. If anything gets stolen while in Ukraine, you will probably need a police report for your insurance company, so this will also require a trip to the local ‘Militia’.

As the US embassy explains “Ukraine lacks reliable services for foreign victims of crime. Transferring funds from the United States, replacing stolen traveler’s checks or airline tickets, or canceling credit cards can be difficult and time consuming. There are few safe low-cost lodgings, such as youth hostels. Public facilities in Ukraine are generally not equipped to accommodate persons with physical disabilities.”

The public.

Ukrainians are often very direct and in public they are very pushy. This ‘me first’ attitude means they rarely queue for anything and there will almost always be a rush to be ‘first’ for everything. This is true whether you’re in a supermarket or getting on/off the metro.

This will probably cause you more problems if you’re English than if you’re German but try to get used to it or it will drive you crazy. Take a deep breath, understand that you need to be assertive and stand your ground.

Finally, while Ukrainians are often pushy, they are very rarely violent. So, don’t get angry if things don’t go your way. Just accept that you’re in Ukraine and these are the rules of the game. Also, there are some nice exceptions to the ‘me first’ rule. If you are an old lady, a woman with children, or a couple (boy + girl) people may offer you their seat. If you are a girl, the guys often open doors for you and carry your bags etc.

Bars and clubs.

Ukraine, well certainly Kiev, doesn’t have a bar culture which is similar to elsewhere in Europe. Of course Ukrainians like to drink (maybe too much) but they either do it on the street or they sit at a table with friends.

Also, most restaurants, bars and pubs will only let you stay if there is space at a table where you can sit. Standing for a beer at the bar is not common and often not allowed.

This isn’t a big deal, but its worth knowing. If you’re English you will also need to remember to take a table and wait to be served. You do NOT need to go to the bar. This is true even in the pubs and ‘Irish Pubs’ that look familiar to those at home.

You need to sit down, wait to be served and then wait for the bill at the end of the night. If you are used to paying upfront, it is easy to leave forgetting to pay the bill. However, if this happens then always go back and apologise and pay.  If you don’t there is every chance that it will be deducted from the poor waitresses salary. Yes, Ukrainian managers are that heartless.

If you want to drink outside with the locals, nobody is going to stop you, but just remember it is actually illegal to drink on the streets. If the police see you they may take your beer and/or make you pay a fine.

Cars and pavements.

Car drivers in Ukraine don’t have many places to park, so they decided to solve the problem by parking on the pavement (sidewalk). This means you share the pavements with a ridiculous number of SUVs and a ridiculous number of bad drivers. Ukraine is a country where you can easily purchase your driving licence and take to the roads without ever taking a driving lesson. Be careful and if you have kids – keep a lookout for them .

Smoking.

In early 2012 the government passed a new law to outlaw cigarette advertising and ban smoking in public. One day this might reduce the cigarette-smoke-smog that will live with you while you’re in Ukraine. For now, however, you will have to live with the smell of cigarettes.

With one of the highest rates of smoking in the world, it sometimes feels like smoking is the ‘default’ here in Ukraine, and while most bars and restaurants offer a non-smoking section, this often means a table without an ashtray next to the 10 tables with an ashtray.

Now, this is good news if you are a smoker and you will probably love Ukraine because you can smoke almost anywhere. This includes the trains. Just go to the end of the carriage (where the two carriages join) and you can smoke the hours away.

English.

English isn’t spoken by everyone in Ukraine (and knowing a few words of Russian/Ukrainian will help you enormously) but you can easily survive here on English. Just look for a friendly person under the age of 30 and don’t be afraid to ask them for help.  Ukrainian’s can appear quite intimidating (especially if they are dressed like 1980s gangsters or 1990s supermodels), but they are actually pretty friendly and almost always helpful to foreign visitors.  This isn’t always true in shops and super-markets but if you are in trouble, its common for someone who does speak English to rescue you. Many Ukrainians studied English at school and they like to practice.

Also, in the run-up to the EURO 2012 football championships a lot has been done to signpost things in English or at least in the Latin alphabet. Of course, its not perfect and the English is often incorrect, but they are at least trying. Just ask yourself how many signs in the UK are translated for Russian speakers?

Elevators.

Lifts, or ‘elevators’ in Eastern Europe are intimidating things. They are small, they don’t look safe and they are usually in a state of stinking decay.   However, don’t be scared by Ukraine’s collection of terror-boxes – I haven’t heard of anyone who’s every been hurt in, or by a lift.

In Romania, I once squeezed into a lift, with my rucksack and another man, that was only big enough for 1.5 Romanians or 0.25% of an American.  The thing was made entirely from wood, it was covered in graffiti and it didn’t have a door or a back wall, but it worked. Basically, if you’re too lazy to walk, don’t expect communist-era machinery to pamper you in luxury while you’re hoisted up or lowered down to the floor.

Where they exist in Ukraine, the lifts don’t always work either, but if they door opens and you can identify the correct number from the cigarette-burnt plastic numbers – you’ll probably be OK.

Just remember that some lifts only deliver to every second floor and, as a compromise, some lifts deliver you mid way between two floors.

What happens if you get stuck?

If you’re extremely unlucky and it stops with you stuck inside, don’t panic. First try prising the door open. This sometimes works and hopefully you’ll be able to squeeze-out.  If that doesn’t work, look for one of these:

The intercom - your lift lifeline
The intercom – your lift lifeline

This is a lift intercom and whilst it might look like something from a WWII museum – most of them actually work.  Press the red button and see what happens.  You’ll probably get an angry sounding woman shouting ‘da’ (yes) or ‘sto?’ (what?) and if your Russian/Ukrainian is good enough you can explain.   You might even find that they speak English, but don’t count on it. They are employed to intimidate and begrudgingly help – not to communicate.

If you don’t know the address and you can’t find a way to communicate with the intercom woman – just kick the door and make some noise. Eventually someone will hear.

Oh, and make sure you ALWAYS carry the mobile phone number of a Ukrainian who can speak English. This simple trick could save your life.

Transport. 

Travel in Ukraine is ridiculously cheap by ‘Western’ standards and its efficient. But, its also quite hectic, usually crowded and often quite scary. However, if you like adventure you are in the right country.

With the exception of taxis, travel is always charged at a ‘flat rate’, so you pay the some price regardless of the distance or the number of stops. This makes life much simpler and often much cheaper.

The Metro. A detailed guide to using the metro/underground/subway is available here

Taxis. One of the most endearing things about Ukraine and other ex-Soviet countries is the fact that every car is a potential taxi. This is free-market economics at its best.

If you hold you arm out indicating a lift, someone will almost always stop and offer you one. The only problem is, you need to tell them where and decide on a price. This is tricky if you don’t know the city or the language. Also, for safety reasons you shouldn’t get in a car with two or three people if you are alone.

A better option is to take a taxi and Ukraine’s taxi business is extremely competitive. Because there are so many taxis (official and unofficial) the prices are low and you can get anywhere in the city centre for less than 50UAH.

Phoning a taxi is the best (and cheapest) option and the operator will usually find someone in the office who can speak English.  You need to provide a mobile phone number because they will take your request and the sms you when they find a car. The SMS will have the car make/model and registration number (licence plate) and the SMS will tell you what time it will arrive and how much you should pay.   This is a really useful service and very useful when you’re standing near 25 Daewoo Lanos’ taxis and trying to work out which is yours.

If you stop a taxi or take one from the street, decide on your maximum price first (remember anywhere in the city centre should be <50UAH …and then prepare for an argument.   If they can see you are foreign (and they will) they will always start with a ridiculously high rate. Just tell them your price and stick to it. If they say no, try walking away towards another taxi, this often works and if it doesn’t, just try your luck with the next taxi – there are hundreds and its better to try three or four than to pay way too much money to the first.

Safety. Your health and safety are not high on your drivers list of priorities and even if it was, many of them distrust safety features such as seatbelts etc.  If there is a seatbelt, drivers will often take offence if you try to wear it, but ignore them and strap-up. The road system, the driving culture and the state of Ukraine’s medical facilities all suggest you should.

Oh, and don’t worry too much if the windscreen is broken, the brake warning light is on and the tires are balder than Duncan Goodhew. These are standard features.

Finally, if you are taking luggage, you will be charged an extra price per bag. I’ve never understood the logic to this, but this isn’t a logical place.

If you don’t want to take a taxi, you have several other reliable, but equally chaotic options.

Minibuses.  Known locally as Marshrutkas, these little yellow boxes are everywhere and they go everywhere. They are difficult to master if you don’t know the city, but if you’re feeling brave, ask someone which Marshrutka number you need and give them a try.

The main things you need you remember are to pay the driver (2.5UAH in Kiev) and to shout when you want to get off. Paying can be done from the back of the bus by passing your money to the person in front of you. They will pass it forward until it reaches the driver. If you need change, wait and it will be passed back to you.

This unique system is actually quite enjoyable, but it does create problems if you don’t speak the language because you need to say how many tickets you want. Also, people will often hand money to you and tell you how many they want. If you don’t understand, it gets quite messy.

How to survive. If you need to take the minibus, the best thing to do is get on the front, pay the driver the exact amount for one person (2.5 UAH) and then walk to the back of the bus. This is the best place to be because nobody will pass you their money. If you’re at the front, you become a ticket conductor and all hell will break loose.

To get off the bus, either wait until someone else gets off (my preferred method) of shout STOP!.  The locals will shout something like ‘at the stop, please’ but the driver will understand you if you stand up and shout stop.

Its customary to let old people and adults with children sit down, and if you forget they will often remind you.  Also, if you’re standing up, hold tight because the driver will most likely be driving, changing money for tickets, drinking a coffee, smoking and talking on his mobile phone all at the same time.

Trolleybuses and trams. The ‘normal’ looking buses on the electric rails are called trolleybuses, and along with the trams, they are probably the safest way to travel. They’re also the cheapest at just 1.5UAH, that is 15 Euro cents.

Whe you get on, look for the ticket conductor (yes they still have them) and wait for him/her to come and give you a ticket. When you buy a ticket, they will often ask if you want them to validate, or stamp it. Say yes.   If they don’t validate your ticket you need to do it yourself by stamping it in the small clamp on the side of the bus/tram. You will see other people stamping their tickets so just copy them.  If you don’t do this your ticket is not valid.

If you get on and there is no conductor, you can buy a ticket from the driver.

Very occasionally, ticket inspectors will ask to see your ticket. This has only happened to me once and they pounced as soon as I walked onto the bus, holding the money to buy a ticket.  Obviously, having just walked onto the bus I had no time to get to the conductor but they weren’t interested – they just wanted to scam me and the two of them pushed me to the front of the bus and demanded payment. Practising his best English, one of them mumbled ‘London is the capital of Great Britain’ and then demanded 30UAH (3 Euros). The second inspector was a fat grumpy guy who was demanding 100 (10 Euros) while indicating that I would go to prison.

I ignored the second guy and paid the 30UAH fine.

Do NOT pay any more than 30 UAH and, since I was stopped, I learn’t that you can actually just get off the bus/tram and walk away.  This sounds like a much better option.

Emergencies. 

A full list of foreign embassies is available here

Medical help is available via the American Medical Centre (call +38 (044) 490 7600)

Emergency services. Each has its own number!

Fire: 101
Police: 102
First Aid/Ambulance Service: 103

More available here: http://kievukraine.info/index.php?page=reference&cat=29

If you’re really stuck, you can call me and maybe I can help. +380 93 887 57 67

If you need a guide/fixer in Ukraine click here

64 thoughts on “Ukraine Survival Guide

  1. “Just go to the end of the carriage (where the two carriages join) and you can smoke the hours away.”

    Actually it is forbidden and train police WILL fine you 30 euro if they see you smoking. Nevertheless a lot of locals disregard that and smoke, looking cautiously through the glass doors at the end of the carriage.

    Also it is forbidden to drink alcohol in the trains, but the train conductor can usully find you some beer for a price.

    • And attached to the underside of every table in every train compartment is a beer bottle opener ;-)

  2. It’s important to note that the “on the spot fine” that you are likely to get from the police if you are not carrying your passport is no such thing. It is in fact a bribe, a backhander, and the police not only readily accept them but even solicit them. The police in Ukraine are not pleasant and they are not here for the good of the people!

    • I did fine, the only time I was asked/demanded for my passport, with a photocopy!
      I explained to them (whether they understood or not..) that there are a lot of pickpockets in Kyiv, so I’ll be better of, carrying a photocopy.

  3. Hi, I’m Ukrainian and I have really enjoyed reading the opinion of the person who is not Ukrainian but has lived here for a while and is able to spot really deep differences. The most funny part is marshrutkas ;)
    Small note, don’t be afraid of being a bit insistent in the situation when the ticket inspector wants you to pay a fine illegally or actually in any other unfair situation that does not lead to violence. Foreign people are easy to spot among the others, so there are a lot of cheaters who try to get money from people who do not feel comfortable.

    • According to the Ukrainian laws you are required to pay for your ticket in trolley or tram until you reach the first stop after coming in, only after you pass the stop without paying the ticket inspector can make you pay a fine. However you have to note that conductor usually knows when the ispectors are in the transport so he/she migt not offer you to buy a ticket (as they supposed to do) in order to let the inspectors to fine you.

  4. Hi! I live in Kiev and I really enjoyed this article.
    Some another interesting points about Ukranian life:
    # then you arrive to airport and if you haven’t transfer you can call a taxi or to get on bus, which always stands to the left from terminal B of Borispol airport.
    # all transport and shops and bars want to have just national money “Ghrivna”, so you must change your money before somewhere near your location. But usually in airports or in train/bus station there bad exchange rate – so just find near you VISA or MAESTRO ATM, be assure that there no fraudulent things (see Real Hustle on Discovery) and receive ukranian money how much you want. I thing, if you have about 1000 ghrivnas – there are no people who want to kill you or plunder you for this money, and from this amount you can pay for taxi, food, water and another things during one-two days in Kiev.
    # remember how much cost what you order in cafe or restaurant and how much you must pay – poor ukranian waiter can write to your bill some another drinks or food, or can write something wrong in sum-total.
    # in toilet – if you wouldn’t like to see how slowly can work hand-dryer, just get in opened cubicle and wind on your hand some gray toilet paper :)
    # If you want to buy something with good discount (souvenirs, taxi, something other on the street) – just take in your hand wishful amount of money, show it to seller and told – i can pay for it just this “davaiy za stol’ko?!!!”

  5. This is awesome. I’m from Kyiv, and I laughed pretty hard while reading about doors that can kill a bear and about “London is the capital of Great Britain”. You’re doing a great job posting this, well done! This should be very useful for tourists, especially for the ones that will come to Kyiv for EURO-2012.

    Also, it can be useful to mention that the roads are in a very bad state, so when you take a ride on a taxi or a minibus you might get sick or just scared, so be prepared. You can rent a bike, but there are no special roads or parking for bicycles, so it’s pretty dangerous in the center of Kyiv. If you just want to ride a bike (not in order to get somewhere, but for fun), it can be done in parks like VDNG (Agriculture Exhibition Center), the roads are good and it’s very nice to ride a bike there, go ahead.

  6. I’m going later this year, so really interesting and informative – (checked ‘severed’ in the bar section – sounds dangerous!). It’ll be in August, after the Euros, so looking forward to it.

  7. The friend of mine is considering moving to Ukraine and I keep telling him that there is no way I’d recommend him to. For now couldn’t put together an okay answer why not and here we go: a detailed and embarrassing explanation of (almost) everything what’s wrong with my country. Thank you and.. I’m sorry you had to go through all of this.

    p.s. Ukrainians bring their own tissue paper anywhere they go. Sometimes soap as well. You never know when you might have to use a scary public bathroom.

  8. the description is pretty accurate but for the queue part. Ukrainians are pretty disciplined in this regard. if you want to experience pushy people go to New York, or Moscow, for that matter. in Ukrainian metro (or supermarkets) people rarely cut queues and pretty much respect each other’s personal space, and even in rush hours they try to touch each other as little as possible, let alone pushing.
    btw, you forgot to mention that in Ukraine you are not supposed to leave tips — only if you really liked the service.

    • Ukrainians, as any ex-Soviets, don’t know any such thing as “personal space.” The only space there is, is “me”.

      • You may put as many thumbs down as you want, just measure the distance to the person in front of you (and behind you) next time you line up to a bank counter. I regularly have to ask people to step back and they don’t understand what my problem is.

      • Alex, you’re quite right, this is just their way, very nice people but they don’t have the same issues as westerners regarding ‘personal space’.
        I found this is compounded somewhat in summer by the general lack of use of deodorants, especially in the middle aged and elderly who don’t always spell so pleasant. Same in Poland too.

  9. You know mate, you’re right about everything in UA it’s our goddawn reality but we are what we are,and if one of our tourists arrived in you country, he would make the same opinion as your’s one))) If you’ll read our history in details, you’ll find a lot of desperate attempts to actually become an independent country but all of them at that time where unsuccessful and couldn’t develop normally as other countries)But we moved on, adapted, and now will become at least known in other countries.Once i was chatting with a student from California, he asked where do i live and i answered in Ukraine, – Ukraine? Is it a state somewhere north near Montana?))) I swear i felt off my chair and then had a stomachache for 5 minutes)
    So i just wanted to say we all have our + and -.
    P.S.You might wanna see now Russian Federation they sometimes have more surprises)))It won’t be so rough after UA))

  10. An interesting read. One policeman wanted to speak to me about not having health insurance, which is not a requirement if you’re a British citizen – although highly recommended. He did not want to hear this until he heard the words “british consulate” then he backed off and let us go! Nice try, but my Ukrainian female friends were far to fierce for him. No surprised that one is now my wife!

    • i’ll tell you more. The police have the legal right to talk to you if you are suspected in any offence. If not – he just wants you to pay for the gas in his Hummer

      • Yes, when I said “talk” I mean he wanted some money. Even though he was only 1km inside the border so he knew all of this had just been checked anyway. I won’t even start about the road border with Poland and the bribes we had to pay there !

  11. Nice and detailed review – I really enjoyed it, even though Kyiv is my native city. Howevever, you should note, that in the process of “waiting for Euro 2012″ there will be some changes to what you have described. For instance, these days a new idea of trolleybus/bus/trams tickes is going to be introduced – they are no longer will have to be validated – you just need to buy one from the ticket inspector. Haven’t checked this yet, but that’s the idea of Kyiv authorities.

  12. oh, its the best country in the world, u just need understand ukrainian people! i live in Kryvyy Rih, but i`m english.

    Water: Practicly all my friend using Water Filters. They often built-in valves so drinkin the water is safe (partially)

  13. > If you are totally desperate and there is no paper, then there is always the 1 UAH banknotes. Ten of them only costs you a Euro!

    Im afraid this can cause very serious illnesses )

    • If you consider the moral side of the problem (there are national symbols on each note) you can imagine me using your national flag. Will you like it?

      • Oleg, unfortunately a lot of countries do not treasure their identity and national flag as much as Ukrainians do. Here in the UK, for example, it is perfectly normal to use the national flag as a door mat to wipe one’s feet, or even as underwear! I find this distasteful and respect the pride that Ukrainians have.

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  16. I wouldn’t worry about tap water. I holiday in Ukraine every year, travel in various parts of the country and always drink fresh tap water (and in quite large quantities as I usually go to Ukraine in the heat of summer). I’ve never had any stomach problems. (Only in Crimea I actually boil the tap water before drinking – but maybe it is an unneccessary precaution.) But of course buying bottled water is good for local economy. ;-)

  17. I’ve lost my passport in UA and I had to go to the police station with one ukranian friends. The cops were ok. I guess because it was an smaller city.
    And in Lviv tram the guy asked for the tickets of a boy in our group (I guess they avoid to botter the foreigner girls) knowing that he was foreigner and our ukrainian friend just argued with them about the student ticket. After arriving in the last stop, the supervisor come in saying we didnt have to pay more for that and we just went away.
    I guess for girls its easier, even if you dont look Ukranian.

  18. I just returned from a couple of weeks in the Ukraine (Euro 2012 visit). I have to say very firmly that these are without doubt the nicest, sweetest people I have ever met.
    Our campervan broke down and repeatedly people stopped to help, but refused any money. I have never before experienced the kind but quiet friendliness and helpful nature of that displayed by Ukrainians.
    I agree about the police, and we were stopped five times for imaginary offences (one of which was failing to indicate that we were pulling over as we were directed to!). We learned from the UEFA help desk that one simply demands to speak on the telephone to the British Embassy (or whatever your embassy is) until the cop backs down. All they want is the bribe, and the longer you hold them up the more money they are losing from other victims. There is no on-the-spot fining system in the Ukraine and so no fine should be paid direct to a cop. You have 15 days to pay. They may try to intimidate you, but don’t back down. Just keep demanding to speak to your embassy.

    Watch out for the Snickers Bar with raw pig fat in it, which is considered a delicacy, or so we were told.

    I intend to go back to the Ukraine as soon as I can afford it. The prominent signs of the Soviet era and the sunny climate, combined with the unending countryside interspersed with lovely swimming lakes is too good to resist. I am in love with the Ukraine and it’s people, and from a male point of view you will never, never, ever encounter more utterly beautiful women than there.

  19. Like the write up and pretty much spot on.
    I have lived in Sevastopol for the past 2 years now and overall enjoy it, great summer weather and winters not too bad the mini busses here are ok apart from the bad driving and you just pay when you get off so no worries about the money, but in Simferopol they do the money passing thing. I have no problem shopping in the market places and generally find the people very helpful.
    My only real beef here is the terrible drivers who cut you up and overtake at the worst possible time. (As an Ex UK traffic cop this is annoying)You can be in a queue of traffic waiting at a junction to turn and somebody will come along side you and cut in front. They will not wait their turn, this really got me and still gets me angry so my answer to this was to buy a really big car so when they try this with me now they get a real big surprise and yes they become all apologetic as they know they were wrong. And Range rover V lada no contest,
    only been stopped by the police twice, some years back when visiting before the permanent move. On leaving the Airport in a hire car. The ticket was already written out and the cop showed me 100 UAH note and kept saying protocol I just kept replying in English “yes I know the protocol give me ticket and I’ll go to the bank” He soon got bored of this game ripped up the ticket and motioned for me to go away. Second time in the same hire car I parked where everybody else was parking at a shopping centre when the cop came up and asked for my passport. I said sorry I don’t carry my passport which he did not understand but thought I’ll rip off the foreigner he showed me a 50UAH note and pointed to the car I told him sorry it’s a hire car so it’s not for sale and walked away. He never followed as I don’t think he knew what to do and he can’t exactly chase somebody for a bribe.

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  26. I’m a Dutch citizen living in Mexico for over 20years. I went to UA on holiday for a month. Nothing new, nothing strange! If it rains you need a canoe to get to the other side of the street/road. The tap water is not drinkable, police is as corrupt, people don’t stand in line, etc. I felt at home! The only differences being the *)money, *)language *)alphabet. I speak several languages, but no Russian nor Ukrainian, and no language problem whatsoever. Know what? I GO BACK!

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