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Post your trip reports, travel experiences, and updates abroad. Or your expat story if you already live overseas. Note: To post photos and images, insert the image URL between the tags [img]and[/img] after uploading them to a third party site.
Just landed in Odessa a few hours ago. Will spend a few days here, then about a week in Kiev, then 3-5 days in L'viv. I'm basically scoping out those 3 cities as possible places to live.
I'm staying in the center of Odessa and there are definitely some beautiful buildings there. Overall though, I'm not impressed. I took the bus from the airport to the center, and it was definitely GRIM. Outside of the center, the city is dirty, ugly, run-down, etc. Looks like a place struggling to bounce back after a nuclear war. Even in the center, there are a lot of run down buildings. I've traveled a lot - philippines, thailand, mexico, guatemala, el salvador, honduras, nicaragua, costa rica, panama, colombia, peru, ecuador - and this may be the least attractive place I've seen.
On the positive, I managed to find a couple of english speakers who were able to help me with directions and using a phone.
As for the women, not sure yet. I haven't seen many that are above about a 6 or a 7. Hopefully that will change as I explore more of the city tomorrow.
Surprised to hear Odessa is so crummy. All those old Soviet bloc cities have a lot of hideous Bauhaus worker-housing type buildings on the outskirts, but most that weren't blasted away in WWII -- and some that were and rebuilt -- have very attractive inner cities. Too bad it's not warmer; I was told recently by a Ukrainian woman -- who happens to be the best hair cutter I've ever had -- that dipping into the Black Sea makes you feel great, significantly different than beaches and lakes in the US, according to her.
Well, Kiev is supposed to be beautiful -- again making allowances for the inevitable Bauhaus dreck. Please keep the reports coming.
Have you learned any Russian? Even if you haven't, you can still strike up conversations with the women there (some of them should know at least some english). Please let us know how things go with the ladies there! Try asking out some girls, also, take some pictures, if your able to.
"When I think about the idea of getting involved with an American woman, I don't know if I should laugh .............. or vomit!"
"Trying to meet women in America is like trying to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics."
Odessa, Kiev and L'viv are the worst places for women. Odessa is a port city with more men than women, Lviv is a Greek Catholic convent and Kiev is the capital- the place where women are too spoiled to be bothered. You should have gone to Luhansk, Dnepropetrovsk, Simferopol and Donetsk.
And you are there in March- the worst time with all the sleet and rain, yech!
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
Not sure yet. I could do a CELTA which would help me get a legitimate teaching job where they help you with the paperwork. The other option seems to be paying a company several hundred (or perhaps thousands) of dollars in exchange for them giving you paperwork saying you are their employee. I think some of the marriage agencies do this. That's about all I've come up with so far. Obviously, once you're married you have another option.
Nope haven't learned any Russian yet. If I do decide to stay, then obviously that will be a priority.
Perhaps but life isn't just about women for me. It's about overall quality of life. I need to find a city where I would enjoy living and those 3 seemed like the best bet. Of course, since I have money but no job, I can always visit more places if I am so inclined.
As for this being the worst time to visit, I actually think it's the best time. When you're thinking of living somewhere, it's best to see it at its worst so you know what you're getting yourself into.
Then try the Crimea. Yalta and Simferopol are pretty good places.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
Now that I've been here for a few days, I thought I'd share some random observations.
1) Not knowing the language makes things really hard. I'm definitely a lot less independent here than I normally am. And it also limits what I can do socially. I see posters for concerts and other things but have no idea where or when they are.
2) I've found some really helpful people. One guy helped me on the bus, showing me where I needed to get off. Another guy let me borrow his cell phone when I couldn't find the place I was supposed to be staying (I offered to give him some money and he refused). I was having problems finding the bus station so I could go to Kiev. So I posted a message on couchsurfing. Someone responded and this morning before he went to work, he walked me 30 minutes to the bus station, helped me buy my ticket and then walked me back. And now that I'm going to Kiev, I need help with getting to my hotel. (since I don't speak Russian, I can't tell the taxi driver where to take me). So far, via couchsurfing, I have one guy who offered to pick me up at the bus station, another person has offered to call a taxi for me (I can't get my cell phone to work here), and another person helped translate some directions for me. All in all, I'm impressed with how much people have gone out of their way to help me.
3) Bring a laptop if you come here. As I mentioned, I'm pretty well traveled in developing countries and I've never seen a place with so few internet cafes.
4) Places to buy a sim card for your cell phone are also much harder to find than in other developing countries.
5) Facial hair is definitely not popular here so you will definitely stand out if you have a beard like me.
6) Drivers are generally courteous towards pedestrians. Yesterday I had a taxi driver honk at me for not crossing the street in front of him. I'm used to Latin America where no one in their right mind would ever step out in front of a taxi or other car.
7) Overall it's hard to find a taxi here. Unlike other countries where it's easy to pick one up of the street, here it's best to call one.
8 ) People are much shorter than I expected. As someone who's about 5'6 or 5'7, I thought I was headed to the land of the giants. Not so. There are plenty of guys my height or shorter. I'd say most guys are 1-3 inches taller than me. But that's it. As for the women, there's no way that the heights you see listed on dating sites are accurate. There are a few tall women but not many. So women are either 1) lying about their height, 2) have no idea how tall they are and are just making something up, 3) listing how tall they are in their high heels.
9) No woman has come running up to me and proposed marriage. Quite strange. Heck I haven't even been propositioned by a prostitute.
10) Since I'm here to check out cities as possible places to live, I haven't been focusing on meeting women. I did hang out with a woman I met from couchsurfing and we had the following conversation:
Her: So what do you think of Ukranian women?
Me: I've only been here for one day so I don't know. And I'm not really into striking up conversations with strangers.
Her: Yeah, people would think you're really weird if you do that. We really don't do that here. When people are standing on the corner or anywhere else, no one talks to each other.
Anyway, that's what she reported to me re: approaching women in the street.
in each district of the city there are internet clubs. Wi-fi access point can be found in many restaurants and cafes on the main streets of the city. Odesa has about 40 Internet cafes and computer clubs. Just some of them are hard to find, especially if you foreigner.
Last edited by Google on April 21st, 2012, 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Honduras??? Nicaragua??? incredible! although this is only your point of view. you exaggerate. Odessa is very clean city in summer.