The World's #1 Russian, Ukrainian & Eastern European Discussion & Information Forum - RUA!

This Is the Premier Discussion Forum on the Net for Information and Discussion about Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Discuss Culture, Politics, Travelling, Language, International Relationships and More. Chat with Travellers, Locals, Residents and Expats. Ask and Answer Questions about Travel, Culture, Relationships, Applying for Visas, Translators, Interpreters, and More. Give Advice, Read Trip Reports, Share Experiences and Make Friends.

Author Topic: Ukraine Odyssey 2  (Read 1458 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online leslied

  • Supporting Member
  • Moderator
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1851
  • Country: tr
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Ukraine Odyssey 2
« on: March 11, 2015, 10:11:02 AM »
PROLOG

I wrote this trip report in winter 2002.  I did not managed to remove it from the site before Spencer sold a long forgotten forum.  EC sold the forum to a German guy and he managed the forum into almost zero traffic.  I asked German guy  to remove this trip report on a couple of occasions but he declined to answer.

The events described here have passed into my personal history.  My wife has read this trip report several years ago so no offense can be caused on that account.

Why republish now?  First, I Trust Stuart to respect my copyright on this trip report.  Second, various members have asked "what Happened next" Third, people have asked how Jack helped me find my wife?  These questions are answered in this trip report which I hope you find interesting...

Please remember these events happened a a dozen years ago.  Prices have inflated.  Many of the places mentioned no longer exist.  The human story is still relevant and the mistakes I made are still being made today.  I also feel that although this game has changed, it is still possible to succeed today.  In some ways it is harder, in other ways technology has bridged many gaps.

Online leslied

  • Supporting Member
  • Moderator
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1851
  • Country: tr
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Ukraine Odyssey 2
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2015, 10:20:43 AM »
BACKGROUND TO THIS TRIP

ALIA

I had intended to use this November trip to visit my girlfriend Alia in Kiev.  Those of you have read Odyssey 1 will know that my relationship with Alia crashed and burned so that plan never happened... 

I was thoroughly disillusioned and ready to give up, but I had already bought tourist class tickets to Kiev which were not refundable.

PLANNING THE NEXT TRIP

When all this happened I was so dejected.  I got drunk.  I wanted to dig a hole in the backyard, crawl in and pile the earth on top of me.  Trash the air tickets I had bought and cancel my trip.  Then I had some long phone conversations with forum members.  I would cure my depression by trying again.  From my last trip I knew that finding someone on a visit many trip is a numbers game.  Tumbling dice.  You can meet your future wife on the first day or go zero for trip.  My attitude was wrong last time too.  I was determined to find a match.  This warped my judgment, I made some awful decisions.  I also confused my annual vacation with a trip to find a wife.  The two are separate enterprises.  I decided that doing a trip on a “beer budget” was the way to go.  My free spending on the last trip had been my downfall.  This next trip would not be a vacation.  It would be a serious search to find my future wife.

Now I have a real problem.  My air tickets give me just two weeks to set everything up.  I contacted Jack Bragg and discussed my ideas.  There is no time to set up a WMVM plan.  I will really struggle to select ladies and set up many meetings in the time remaining.  An idea is born.  I send my photos and profile (in Russian) to Jack.  I also send him a detailed description of the type of lady I am looking for.  He will pass my photos, profile and requirements to his partner agencies.

I will let the ladies choose me!! 

If a lady wants to see me, the agency must ensure she meets my search requirements.  Blind dates will be organized with eligible ladies. There is no time to organize a city by city travel plan.  It will depend on the number of blind dates each agency comes up with.  Kiev is a certainty, every where else is not.  It all depends on the number of eligible ladies who want to see me in each city.  This means that travel plans cannot be finalized until I am actually in Ukraine. I also want some flexibility. If I meet a nice lady I want to stay a little longer to build the relationship. Jack and I agree guidelines for this.  Even if I find a lady in Kiev on day one,  I will still go to the other cities, though I have the option of shortening my stay there.  I decide to go for it and the adventure begins…..



Online leslied

  • Supporting Member
  • Moderator
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1851
  • Country: tr
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Ukraine Odyssey 2
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2015, 10:39:21 AM »
INTRODUCTION

Jack Bragg helped me organize this trip on short notice.  He helped me realize my plans for this trip.  His services were excellent.  He coordinated the services of three dating agencies and the discounts he negotiated on their normal charges more than covered his consultation fee. We only agreed the cities I would visit the day before my departure.  His staff in Kiev, Galina and Ivan, were very friendly and helpful. They really went the “extra mile” to look after me.  Galina also coordinated the dating agencies facilitating the flexibility in travel planning which underpinned this trip.  Jack also organized apartments for me in Kiev. Both were in downtown in great locations.  They were well furnished and equipped.  They were also reasonably priced ($60 a day). 

Sadly Jack has passed on.

The fact that no one has moved into his niche says much about the decline of the MOB business...

Of the Agencies I used only one remains in business:

The owner Valentina is a very classy lady.  She really took a personal interest in me.  She has become my friend.  Her agency is small but completely honest.  It provides efficient personal service.  Vinnitsa is a small city on the Ukraine dating scene. Click below -

http://www.ladyorchid.com/

2015 Update

Valentina is still in business after more than a dozen years.  This says a lot.  You won't find picture galleries stuffed with model hot girls girls - just regular women who have hopes of a better life.  My wife knew Valentina's then partner - Natasha personally.  I met my wife on a personal recommendation from Natasha...


INTERPRETERS.

I used the interpreters provided by Jack and the partner agencies.  The cost was reasonable - $5 per hour.  The interpreters were all college students.  Their language skills were OK.  I am quite experienced in the Ukraine dating scene now, so I did not need personal advice.  If you are new to the dating scene, I think you would be better off employing a qualified linguist who has experience in the dating scene.  This will increase costs by about $500 for a two week trip, but this is money well spent. You cannot expect personal advice from a college kid!  The agencies make a considerable portion of their profits by using students as interpreters.  My guess is that they are paid around $1 per hour.  I run a business myself and have no problem with making a profit.  Many agencies in Ukraine are now insisting you use their interpreters.  The real reason behind this policy is profit related.  If you hire your own interpreter expect some increase in the price of other dating services in compensation.

DATING SERVICES

First dates will be held in a café.  One hour is scheduled for each meeting.  There will be a half hour gap between meetings.  We try to ensure that the next lady does not turn up before the last one has left.  We succeed most of the time in this.  I pay $5 to the agency for each first meeting.  I end up spending a lot of time sitting in cafes talking to ladies.  I met 35 ladies in three cities!  The second meeting is a proper date.  I pay the agency $15 for each second meeting.  After that point it will be the lady and me, with an interpreter if necessary.

TRIP COST BREAKDOWN.

Jack Bragg Consultation fee            250
International travel and pick ups         690
Apartment Costs Kiev, Dnepr and Vinnitsa   700
Agency costs Kiev                  210
Agency costs Dnepr                  160
Agency Costs Vinnitsa               290
Internal travel                       25
Mobile Phone (bought one)            125
English Lessons                  100
Spending Money !!                  360

TOTAL TRIP COST   $2900

The Agency service bill worked out  to $70 a day, very reasonable for the high level of services provided.   Accommodation  averaged $50 a night – Cheap. Spending money was very low - just $25 a day.  This really was a “beer budget”  trip!   In summer I saw 23 ladies and spent $6000.  This time I saw 35 and spent half that! 

2015 update  I still think you could do a trip like this for $5000


TRIP REPORT

I don’t want to bore the members of this board by reporting everything that happened.  When you do 35 first dates in two weeks, most of them leave no lasting impression.  You know the story.  Met “A” Yada, Yada, Yada.  No chemistry.  Never saw her again.  The majority of my first meetings went like this.  It is inevitable when you use this strategy. I spent an awful lot of time in cafes chatting to ladies.  At times this was boring.  I did not have time to see the sites.

WMVM improves the success rate of these first meetings a lot.  You have already screened out a lot of ladies by mutual selection and writing. If you have time this approach is better in my view. 

I am now very good at these first meetings.  Practice makes perfect!  Some of the ladies were not.  They were so shy and gawky that I could not get them to open up and chat naturally.  I often ended these meetings prematurely to prevent further embarrassment.  Maybe I missed some nice ladies by doing this, but on a visit many trip you cannot waste time on shrinking violets…  At the other end of the spectrum Jack’s people did a great job of screening out the professional daters and Green Card Girl’s.  I only met two. 

So it will be like last time.  I will tell you about “the good, the bad and the funny” !!!



Online leslied

  • Supporting Member
  • Moderator
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1851
  • Country: tr
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Ukraine Odyssey 2
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2015, 11:09:14 AM »
DATING STRATEGY

My dating strategy has evolved considerably since my last trip.  I scored myself at 5 out of 10 then.  Reckon I have progressed to a 7 now.  I have learned to “ride the bike”.  The most important change is in me.  I have the self confidence that comes only from practice.  Self confidence is a powerful pheromone.  The Ukrainian ladies sixth sense absorbs it immediately. A guy that is self confident is more desirable.  By the end of this trip I had face to face dated a total 91 Russian and Ukrainian ladies.  A couple of agency staff on this trip described me as a professional dater!!   

So what else has changed?  I have absorbed the forum archives.    The converse in reverse strategy works.  You must stop at the first red flag.  Short first dates are a good strategy.  Don’t allow the ladies to take you for a ride.  Stay in control, don’t allow yourself to be ripped off.  There is no need to be rude.  Just say no. 

*Converse in reverse strategy.  When you are regular dating you make small talk first movies, music etc. because you have time to move onto the important stuff later.  On a visit many trip you skip the small talk and move to major issues like kids and jobs.  Ask the important stuff first.

This strategy applies to a Visit Many trip.  I have never clicked on a WOVO deal.  If I had I am sure we would have been bonking like bunnies within a couple of days!

Here is my strategy:

You must answer the following questions:

1.   Do you like her?
2.   Does she like you? 
3.   Is there mutual chemistry?
4.   Does this lady meet your requirements?
5.   Any Red Flags in her character or situation?
6.   Do you share the same vision of the future?
7.   Logically could you match with this lady?
 
The first date is a simple meeting for about an hour in a café over juice or coffee and perhaps a dessert for her.  Just be yourself, relax.  Be open and honest.  Use your dating skills to put the lady at ease, this facilitates conversation. You must listen.  Answer her questions straightforwardly, be self revealing but not overly so.  The lady will have her own strategy but you must maintain control of the situation.  You must call the shots.

Answering question one is easy.  I know whether I like a lady in 10 – 15 mins.  If I don’t – well an hour is too long but I must go through the motions and be polite.  I end the meeting as soon as it is practicable.

Does the lady like me???  This question obsesses many board members.  Some guys spend whole vacations trying to figure out if a lady likes them!!  The answer is simple.  Russian and Ukrainian women are very smart. They have been trained by Russian and Ukrainian men.  They know what they must do.  If she likes you she will show it!  Period.  If she has not done this at the end of one hour, stop trying to melt the ice maiden.  Move on.  At the other end of the spectrum you get the professional daters.  They always appear to like you but it is an act!  These ladies are easy to spot. 

Positive answers to the first two questions ignites chemistry!  This is the spark that begins everything.  80% of the time this will happen in the first hour.  If the sparks are not flying by the end of the second date, move on.  Persistence just wastes your time and money.

You will get partial answers to questions 4 – 7 in the first hour.  If you discover any Red Flags in that first hour, STOP.   Only schedule a second date if you like each other, there is some chemistry and no Red Flags.

The second date is usually over a meal but it could be a walk in the park in summer.  Choose somewhere where you can talk.  Make sure you always choose the venue.  This way you don’t get taken for a ride.  Don’t be extravagant.  A small gift of flowers (say 5 roses or lilies) is a good idea and costs less than $10.  You cannot buy her affection, so don’t begin by trying!!

You will be working on getting better answers to questions 4 – 7.  She will also be interviewing you.  RW and UW have a remarkable sixth sense.  They are very hard to bullshit, so don’t try!  No boasting about your career or possessions either. This is seen as a turn off by decent women.  If the mutual interview process proceeds smoothly the chemistry between you will grow.  Again at the first definite Red Flag and you must stop.  By the end of the second date you should both have good working answers to your questions. If you are happy with one another and the chemistry is good, expect a goodnight smacker and organize a third date.  Repeat - any problems and you should stop.  Move on.

On dates 3 to 5 you are getting to know an individual woman.  Do not play the suitor, it hands control to her.  If you act like a puppy she will treat you like her lap dog!  Limit presents to flowers and chocolates.  No lavish dates in fancy restaurants, stick to simple meals in cafes. Maintain control of where you go and how much you spend.  The good time girls hate this, they are not getting what they want.  Concentrate on conversation, sweep the ladies off their feet with your personality not your billfold.  Build the relationship.  The lady has to like you for yourself, not the money you are spending.  Don’t waste money on vacation trips or other expensive activities.  Let the lady come to you. 

The dating process must go perfectly, first red flag and you stop.  Forget any “investment” of time and effort you have made.   Move to the next lady.  To continue past Red Flags is delusional and a complete waste of time and money.  You are on a Visit Many trip, you are dating lots of women.  Move your focus to someone else.

Somewhere between dates 3 and 5 you are going to  :censored:  each others brains out!!  I do not date religious people, so for me no sex by fifth date is finished.  The women know they are competing for your affection.  They understand the time constraints imposed by a trip.  If she wants you she will give herself to you.  Then you will understand why the guys who know are crazy about Russian and Ukrainian women!!

Never buy a woman expensive presents before you have had sex.  It is essential that the lady gives herself because she wants you.  Bad women want presents!  The unmistakable sign is bartering for sex.  If this happens, you have two options.  Dump or play with her.  Essentially this depends on how much you want to  :censored:  her.  If you decide to play, take her shopping.  Find out the parameters of her greed.  Buy her something relatively cheap and tell her she will have to be very, very nice to you if she wants that expensive present.  She will  :censored:  your brains out on the prospect of a fur coat.  Of course you never buy her anything, you dump her. (Thanks Jack)

Sex is an invitation to a relationship.  Bad sex rarely gets much better.  You learn so much about a woman by the way she  :censored: s you.  If you like what you find, begin a relationship.  If you are not completely happy, move on.  You do not have to settle for second best. 

Nothing can prepare you for the experience of your first Visit Many trip.  It is an emotional roller coaster.  The most concentrated dating experience of your life.  You will be running first dates, seeing ladies further along in the dating process and maybe  :censored: ing one or two.  ALL AT THE SAME TIME.   This is not good for your emotional sanity.   It can lead to you making lousy decisions.  You have to try to keep thinking straight with your head not your balls!!  Don’t try to match too soon.  Ignore the time pressure, you can always visit again.  You do not have to match with Eeny, Meeny, Miney, or Mo.  As long as you come home with some real emotional connections the trip has been a success.

Try to play this game with kindness and respect the ladies you are dating.  They are real people and you can easily hurt them.  The competitive situation and the narrow time window often puts the women under pressure to make decisions before they are ready.  It is cruel to increase this pressure, let the lady come to you.  Do not abuse the power that you are given by this situation.  Remember you are searching for your future wife, you are not on a sex tour.  If the situation has your balls swelled like ripe grapefruit, haul your ass to a disco or club.  Unless you are 150 Kg+, have a hump and a limp like Quasimodo you won’t have a problem getting yourself laid.  Many of the disco girls  :censored:  for a living so indulging your passions here does no harm.  It can help clear your head.  It takes your balls out of the decision making loop.  If you are on a sex tour why pay expensive dating agency fees and go through this complex time consuming process.  Just go to discos and clubs.  It is cheaper and much kinder to the decent women who are looking for a husband.

If you succeed and make a match.  Do not taint the relationship with extravagant gifts.  I made this mistake.  English lessons are a good idea in most cases.  Modest gifts are fine.  Don’t assume financial support yet.  When you come home build on what you have created.  Phone and write.  Monitor the situation closely.  Plan an early return trip to visit your lady.  This will be quite cheap.  Good luck.

Online leslied

  • Supporting Member
  • Moderator
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1851
  • Country: tr
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Ukraine Odyssey 2
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2015, 11:12:36 AM »
KIEV

My trip begins on Friday afternoon at the Port Authority Bus Station on 42nd Street.  This is a “beer budget” trip, so I take the Grey Line bus to JFK.  No Taxi.  Usual procedures at JFK but the security is tighter.  I am flying direct to Kiev on Uzbekistan Airlines.  The flight leaves on time.  It is a Boeing 767.  The front cabin is almost deserted, coach is maybe 75% full.  Nearly all the passengers are Ukrainian.  The movies are dubbed in Russian!  Uneventful nine hour flight.  I sleep a bit and read.  We arrive in Kiev on time at 10.30am on Saturday morning.  I am through passport control in 10 mins,  I know the procedures at Borispol now.  My case is waiting on the carousel, pick it up fill out a customs declaration form and head for the customs red channel.  No baggage search and 10 mins later I am through the glass doors to find Galina waiting for me.  Taxi transfer to Independence Square, the center of downtown Kiev.  The Balcony of this two room apartment overlooks the square.  It is swish, new hardwood floors, even has a whirlpool bath and satellite TV!  Great value at $60 a night.  Unpack, shower and then get a couple of hours sleep.  I have three dates scheduled for today.  It is snowing today and the square is unusually quiet.  I really like this city.  It has a sophisticated eastern European feel.  If I am lucky enough to marry a Ukraine woman I will buy an apartment in the downtown area.  I could spend my annual vacations here.  Her folks could visit.  One of my fears with Alia was having to go to Kherson every year.  Spending my vacations in a dump like Kherson has absolutely no appeal.  I meet my interpreter, Ivan in the early afternoon.  It is below freezing and the pavement is a skating rink.  I thought Ukraine had salt mines.  We could use some now.  I Cross the street and buy a cell phone ($105 including a Kiev Star account), this is cheaper than renting one and unlike last time I won’t present the phone to my girlfriend when I leave.

We are using Café Etoile for the first date program.  It is just off the square, around the corner from McDonalds.  The first meeting is a no chemistry event.  The second is with an interpreter E. She speaks some English and excellent French an Italian.  We chat in French.  She is immaculately dressed, slender, 165cm tall with long brown hair.  She is 34 years old and  stylishly good looking.  She has traveled.  We have an interesting conversation.  There is chemistry between us.  I will see this lady again.   The third date is another non event.  I am bone tired and jet lagged now so I return early to my apartment and crash out.  Sleep for 10 hours.

On Sunday morning I go for a walk to blow the cobwebs away.  It is freezing cold so I wander into the mall under Independence Square.  This place is totally American in style, the basement food hall has both a McDonalds and a Baskin Robin’s !  Eat a late breakfast and drink a cappuccino at the coffee shop under the glass dome.  It is a good place proper coffee and excellent cakes.  I use this place a lot.  This mall is way expensive by Ukraine standards but the shops are busy.  Some people do have money in Ukraine and this mall is one of  their favorite haunts.  I go to a mini market off the square to buy some groceries and wine then return to the apartment to watch the soccer.  I meet Ivan (Vanya)  at Etoile  at lunchtime.  I have five first dates scheduled for today.  My first date is so nervous and shy that I can achieve nothing with her.  I am nice and polite but relieved when she leaves.  The second date is a no chemistry event.  The third lady is a hedgehog.  She arrives dressed in a black business suite.  She is 165cm tall and overweight.  Though her English is very poor she insists that my interpreter Vanya leaves.  She will not discuss personal things in front of a boy!  With hindsight I should have told her to take a hike.  Instead I waste an hour trying to pacify the porcupine.  I am sure that if I married this woman every day of the rest of my life would be miserable!  This lady did not give up.  She pestered the agency to see me again.  Even sent an e-mail to my hotmail account.  Of course I never contacted her again.

Y walks in to my life wearing a pair of black pants and a white top.  No make up.  No jewelry.  She does not need either.  She is 32 years old, 170cm tall, very slender and moves with “cat like” grace.  Her hair is tinted dark red which is very fashionable at the moment in Ukraine.  She has sea grey eyes and high cheek bones.  She is very pretty.  Within five minutes of conversation the sexual chemistry between us ignites.  Y definitely fancies me.  Absolutely unmistakable.  She starts trying out her English (which is moderately good).  She is giving my interpreter “piss off” looks.  He is too immature to recognize them.  We get into an animated, intimate conversation.  Y is very well educated (Masters Degree) She was the accounting controller for a mobile phone company.  She quit this job because she could not look after her little boy properly and work.  She earned much more than her husband who could not accept that she was going to put her baby first.  Y owned the apartment and she kicked his butt out of there four years ago.  She has not seen him since.  She earns her bread now by renting out a room to a student, making clothes and helping small businesses with their accounts and tax returns.  We share many cultural interests art, classical music even ballet.   Before I realize the time my next date has turned up!  Very embarrassing situation.  I get Vanya to take her to the café next door and have to wind the date up with Y.  She is not happy about this situation.  I pay the bill and we walk out together onto the square.  We stop by the side of McDonalds.  I tell her I will see her again.  I kiss her on the cheek.  She grabs me and gives me a couple of exploratory kisses on the lips.  Then she puts her hands around my head and sticks her tongue down my throat!  She is making certain that I will see her again….

I spend the next forty five minutes apologizing to my next date.  Screw ups happen and you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  I toy with the idea of seeing E or Y for a second date this evening but decide that this would be too eager puppy.  I return to my apartment and watch the TV.  Drink a couple of glasses of wine and turn in early.



MONDAY IN KIEV

I finish my first date program in Kiev today.  I have two dates, one of which is interesting.  N is a slim natural blonde 33 years old.  She is 165 cm tall, stylishly dressed with good make up and jewelry.  She is attractive and speaks very good English.  Within ten minutes of our meeting I have recognized the green card girl….  I decide to have some fun at her expense.  I lead her on.  She is talking about her friends who are already in the USA.  Last year’s foreign holiday.  She is playing with her hair and giving me obvious sexual signals.  I have got to know the staff quite well at Etoile.  The manager is from Slovakia and speaks good English.  One of the Devushkas has been looking at me since yesterday.  My blond is getting frustrated.  I am ignoring her come on signals.  Then she goes over the top and tells me many men find her very attractive.  I reply that she is fading, getting old!  Just then the previously mentioned Devushka comes over.  I say we don’t want anything else but she is very pretty (and she definitely is!).  Then I ask her when she is finishing her shift…….  My blonde’s jaw has just hit the table!!  She starts having a go at me.  I tell her she has GCG tattooed on her forehead.  She pretends not to understand.  I tell her bluntly that any man with half a brain can see she is a green card girl.  She is furious now.  “Give me 20 Hrivna for a taxi!”  “No” I reply.  She storms out of the café.  The manager comes over, laughing.  Stick to the redhead from yesterday is his advice….

I meet up with Galina in the square.  I joke with her about the blond I have just met and we go to buy tickets for tomorrow nights train to Dnepretrovosk.  Galina is astonished that I want just a single bunk in a second class.  Why not first class or a whole compartment in second?  She has not had any Americans who want to travel like this before.  I tell her the only thing I am worried about is if the other guys in the compartment hit the Vodka.  If they do this you have to join in!  I want to meet Y tonight, maybe a concert and then dinner.  Galina says she will organize this.  A concert might be difficult on a Monday, but she knows this great Ukrainian restaurant with live gypsy music.  Later I meet up with Vanya, he suggests a Classical music recital being held at a church.  This sounds fine to me.  We go to the internet café at the central post office.  I post an update on a long forgotten forum.  Vanya is a really nice young man.  Hard working, highly educated and he does not drink alcohol.  He 20 years old and handsome.  I am very surprised when he tells me he has no girlfriend.  This lad is a catch.  We talk about Russian literature to pass the time until tonight’s date.  I buy Y 5 long stemmed roses.  This is the only gift I gave her till the end of the trip.  We meet outside Etoile. The snow is melting slowly now but it is still very cold.  Y would love to go to the concert.  I had called her tastes correctly.  We taxi over to the church.  The seats cost 80 cents each!!  The church is old and beautiful.  There is a brass quintet playing tonight.  They start with classical favorites like Handel’s Water Music and finish with Gershwin.  The standard is awesome.  Cultural events like this are always of a very high standard in FSU.  We taxi over to the restaurant.  They specialize in food from the Stan’s We eat the best Shashlik I have ever tasted.  It is brought to the table splashed with Vodka, then lit. The gypsy band is authentic.  A couple of the guys have partially shaved heads and pigtails. This place has a wonderful romantic atmosphere.  Y and are deep in conversation.  Exchanging details of our lives, talking about our families.  Y was a gymnast at school.  She admits to be a tomboy when she was younger.  We share interests like camping, fishing and shooting.  She really loved her father.  He died at my age when she was eleven years old.  Her mom is Polish and there relationship is not good.  Y is including Vanya in our conversation as a person not just as an interpreter.  She is asking him quite a lot of questions.  At the time I cannot understand why.  Time flies by.  The restaurant is closing up around us so we have to leave in a taxi.  Y invites me to her place for dinner the next day.  This is a key event and we both know it.  She wants me to meet her little boy.  A single taxi drops us off in turn, me last.  The taxi driver tries a typical overcharging stunt when I get home.  I just get out of the cab and start walking.  He tries to intimidate me.  There is a heated argument in Russian.  I eventually pay him half of the demanded fare.  What is it with these guys?



Online leslied

  • Supporting Member
  • Moderator
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1851
  • Country: tr
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Ukraine Odyssey 2
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2015, 01:29:29 AM »
TUESDAY IN KIEV

Today is a transition day as I am on the overnight train to Dnepretrovosk.  I wake up late and rush to pack.  I leave my cases as agreed in the hall of the apartment.  I meet Vanya in the mall.  There has been a mix up and I have another first date waiting in Etoile.  I am angry about this because I have a second date scheduled with E and then I want to spend the rest of my time today with Y.  I am dragged off to Etoile.  My mood and the ladies demeanor cause this first date to crash out in half an hour.  I feel sorry for her.  She has gone to a lot of effort and circumstances have trashed the all important first impressions.  Hurry back to the Mall to meet E for a second date.  We were supposed to have lunch but we are late and E says she is not hungry.  We settle for coffee and cakes in the Mall.  Today is not going well so far.  Now it gets worse.  The conversation with E shows her to be selfish and bossy.  Both of these are turn offs for me.  I am wishing myself out of this date when my mobile phone rings.  It is Galina.  The landlord wants my cases out of the apartment now.  New tenants are waiting.  I use this to cut short the meeting with E, by pretending that I have not packed.  She wants to go to the theatre this evening but I have other plans.  I end this date like a coward without finishing with her or planning a future date.  I go to collect my cases.  The new tenants are in the apartment.  Quick chat with the owner who had promised me I could leave my cases here till this evening.  Exit with my cases.  Now I have to take a taxi to the train station and leave my big case in left luggage.  All this has made me late.  I should already be at Y’s apartment.  I have no time to buy the traditional gifts I wanted to give to Y and her boy.  I phone her and apologize.  I say goodbye to Vanya saying I will meet Galina at the train station 30 mins before my train departs.  Any problems and Galina can phone me.  I take a taxi to a suburb on the other side of the river where Y lives.

I arrive at Y’s flat.  It is a large 2 room place, well furnished and equipped.  It is middle class by Ukraine standards.  I apologize again to Y for arriving empty handed.  (newbies should realize it is insulting to be invited for a meal at a ladies home and arrive without gifts).  Marc has commented on the ability of Russian women to humble you.  Y does this to me now with a single sentence “Well at least you turned up”  The look in her eyes says “Just how many women have you seen today?”  I deserved that.  She is cooking so I make myself scarce in the main room and play with her son.  He is a very intelligent six year old.  He speaks some English words.  I am soon sat on the floor playing with him.  He has very few things in comparison to an American kid.  He wants me to read fairy tales with him.  At six years old this little boy reads Russian better than I can!  He is correcting my pronunciation as we read little stories from his battered book.  We are soon playing together in his world.  Y who been popping in and out starts filming us with a camcorder.   The tension evaporates her little boy likes me.  I help set up the table in the kitchen.  Y’s student lodger comes home.  She is 21 and gorgeous.  I am not attracted to young women but this girl is a complete sweetheart!  She is studying languages at the university. She speaks perfect English with a British upper class accent.  Ukrainian women express their love with food and Y has prepared a feast.  We eat together and talk.  Now I understand Y’s interest last night in my interpreter. Her lodger does not have a boyfriend. There is more matchmaking going on than mine!  We share a bottle of wine and talk as the evening slips away.  I explain I will be away from Kiev for about a week but will see her on my return.  Y is very upset by this.  I say I am sorry but I must go.  Of course she knows what I will be doing……
I order a taxi on my mobile and say goodbye to her son.  Y and I wait in the courtyard for my taxi.  We are necking.  The taxi arrives and there are tears in her eyes as see waves me goodbye.

Meet Galina at the station.  We settle my account and go through the arrangements at Dnepretrovosk .  I move into one of the lower bunks of  a second class compartment on the train.  Galina gives me a present of Orange juice for the journey.  She was always so thoughtful.  My compartment is full.  I share with three other Ukrainian guys.  Thankfully everyone wants to sleep and in about an hour we are set for sleeping.  I cannot sleep.  I don’t want to leave Kiev but I cannot break my agreement with Jack.  I am going over events with Y in my mind.  I console myself with the thought that at least I will not score 0 for trip this time.  Eventually I fall asleep.  I am awoken by the other guys dressing.  Half an hour later I arrive in Dnepretrovosk just after dawn on a freezing gray morning……



Online leslied

  • Supporting Member
  • Moderator
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1851
  • Country: tr
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Ukraine Odyssey 2
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2015, 01:31:09 AM »
DNEPRPETROVOSK

Anna and Andrei are waiting for me on the platform.  They take me to McDonalds for breakfast.  I suppose they think Americans like this but I have not eaten at McDonalds for years.  We talk about the arrangements for my visit.  They are both very friendly.  Later they take me to my apartment.  It is a good modernized place a ten minute taxi drive from downtown.  They help me buy groceries at the mini market around the corner.  Outside we meet a Canadian client of theirs with his lady.  They are soon to be married.  It is bitter cold.  I return to my apartment to unpack and shower.  Later my interpreter O shows up.  She is 19 and whippet thin.  We start to go through the dating schedule.  She wants me to go and pick up each lady in a taxi take them to a café and then pay for a taxi to take the ladies home.  I refuse to do this.  It is a waste of my time.  I also do not pay taxi money on first dates.  We go through the profiles of the ladies I am scheduled to meet.  (Still no looking at photos!)  I exclude 20% of the ladies because they do not meet my basic requirements on age, height, weight etc.  O is thinking I am a very difficult punter.  I am thinking I am getting bad service.  I have excluded the first date on my schedule.  O rings this lady.  Understandably she is upset.  She wants to talk to me.  I get on the phone and politely refuse to meet with her.  I tell O to ring all the ladies.  Tell them we are now meeting at a café downtown and I am not paying taxi money.  This destroys my first days dating schedule.  My second date will not turn up because I will not pay taxi money.  Good riddance, I say.  The ladies have also not been given my profile to read.  We go to the offices in the downtown area and print off some copies.  It is far better to give the lady your profile to read first.  It gives her some basis for discussion and by now I am bored out of my skull by answering the same basic questions time after time.

AN ASIDE  I have learned from experience to not pay taxi money on first dates.  Ladies who have no real interest in you show up just to get 10 – 20 Hrivna taxi money.  I met an American guy in Kherson in his 50s who was first dating very young girls.  He got them to turn up by paying 50 Hrivna taxi money.  Even teenagers would show up for $10!

It is late afternoon and going dark before the first date schedule gets going.  It does not go well.  These things happen sometimes, you go through 3 meetings and they are all no chemistry events.  I cannot even recall the faces of these ladies in my mind now.  I return to my apartment and eat dinner from the refrigerator.  Have a couple of glasses of wine and continue to read the Karamazov brothers. I turn in early and get a decent nights sleep.

I awake the next morning to a cold dreary day.  It is raining steadily.  Dnepretrovosk is a large city. 1.5 million people live here.  In Soviet times it was a center for the arms industry.  Andrei told me he used to work at the missile factory.  With this status the city was closed to foreigners until 1992.  It is fairly prosperous by Ukraine standards and the downtown area has some nice restaurants.  There are European style trams everywhere.  O turns up around lunchtime.  We start the first date schedule.  All of today’s dates are a flop.  They fail on my first question.  I do not like any of the women I meet.  This happens.  Dating like this is tumbling dice.  As usual when things do not go well you end up talking to your interpreter a lot.  O is one of the most intelligent college kids I have ever met.  She speaks 4 languages, including Japanese, fluently.  She tells me she is tired of classes at the university, her language skills are better than those of her teachers.  I believe her on this.  She is depressed.  She sees no future, just a lifetime of getting by on very little.  She admits to bouts of drunkenness.  She seems to be suicidal to me.  She just walks out into the road and expects the traffic to stop!  I tell her if she tried this in NYC her death wish would come true very quickly!  She replies with a typical look of Slavic angst. The last date tonight (a first date), turns into a dinner date.  I don’t want to eat from the refrigerator two nights running.  My date is a 35 year old woman.  Like some I have seen today she is well on the way to becoming a babushka.  It appears that some women in their mid thirties give up hope of catching a man.  They cut their hair short, put on 10 Kg and loose their dress sense.  Why such women register with agencies to meet foreign men is beyond me.  No WM I know is looking to marry a babushka!  Perhaps they just keep registered in the way many people keep on buying lottery tickets.  We eat in a restaurant facing the park.  This woman is aggressive in style and starts asking me questions like she is reading from a laundry list.  In the past I might have been very rude to her.  Now I just ask her to stop.  We are not going to hit it off.  If she wants to stay and enjoy her meal would she please just be friendly and chat.  This works and we actually have a friendly conversation and finish our meal.  I walk home in the rain.  This has been a miserable day.  I talk with Y on my mobile phone until my prepay account runs out.  I think we both sleep better after this call

Today is a transition day.  I should travel by train to Vinnitsa.  The train leaves in the Late afternoon and arrives in Vinnitsa at 3.30 the following morning, a horrible schedule.  I go with Anna and Andrei to buy a ticket at the train station.  Later that morning I meet up with O. 
Yesterday I asked O to set up a date for me.  I am breaking my own trip rules.  I have selected this woman from the Cinderella catalog.  I meet ‘I’ this morning.  She is 33 years old, 165cm  tall, blonde, with a slim athletic body.  She has a young child.  I am attracted to this lady.  She is my type.  Our conversation is easy and relaxed.  I let down my guard.  She is giving me positive signals but I am not sure they are genuine.  Being direct I ask her how she feels about me.  “Of all the girls you have met I hope you choose me” is her reply.  I return to my apartment in a quandary.  AJ has told me what I great time he had here.  I want to visit the disco “Labyrinth” and party.  The train tonight puts me on an awful schedule.  I make a bad decision because I want to have a good time.  I phone Anna.  Can I cancel tonight’s travel arrangements and go to Vinnitsa by bus tomorrow?  Of course I can Anna will arrange everything.  Will ‘I’ join me for a date tonight – dinner then a club?  20 mins later Anna rings me.  I am all set!!

O comes around to my apartment in the early evening.  She is surprised that I am staying.  “I’ wants to change the venue for tonight’s date.  I smell a rat the size of a cat but I have nothing better to do.  We travel by taxi to pick up ‘I’  She takes us to her local bar.  She has not changed her clothes.  She has made no effort for this date.  She wants to play Russian billiards.  This game is strange – there is no cue ball.  You just “pot” any ball with any other.  ‘I’ takes great delight in beating me.  We sit down for a drink and I order some food.  When it arrives it is some of the vilest muck I have ever been served in FSU.  The reality of this situation dawns on me.  ‘I’ has “won” the first date game.  She wanted to do that.  She has no interest in me.  It gets worse. ‘I’ starts bad mouthing America.  I won’t put up with that.  I have been very quite till now.  I tell her this date is over now and order the bill.  She can stay here if she likes, after all it is her local haunt or she can take a ride back home in my taxi.  She has “big eyes” now.  I am showing no emotion at all.  She joins me in the cab which drops each of us home.  I say virtually nothing.  I get back to my apartment in a bad mood with myself.  I have been very stupid today.  On a trip like this you have to accept what happens you can’t force events.

Next day I sleep late and O comes around at lunchtime.  No more dates here for me.  It has finally stopped raining so I ask O to show me a little of this city.  It is not a lovely place.  It is industrial and sprawling.  It may have a much happier aspect in summer.  My interpreter is a real screwed up teenager.  She is a little awed by me.  She thinks I am a professional dater.  Will I ever find what I am looking for?  Not here and not now is my reply.  This is the way trips go.  I could return here next summer and find someone.  It really is “tumbling dice”.  Anna and Andrei pick me up and I settle their very reasonable account.  They have been very kind to me.  They take me to the bus station and I set of for Vinnitsa, an eleven hour ride.

The long distance buses in Ukraine are fine.  Think “Greyhound”  It costs $10 for this ride.  Of course I am the only foreigner on the bus.  We are traveling very slowly through thick fog.  I reflect on the last few days and wish I had stayed in Kiev.  The bus is running later and later because of the fog.  I arrive in Vinnitsa at around 8.00am.  Valantina has been waiting for me for a long time…………




Online leslied

  • Supporting Member
  • Moderator
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1851
  • Country: tr
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Ukraine Odyssey 2
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2015, 01:32:35 AM »
VINNITSA

Vinnitsa is a prosperous small city by Ukraine standards.  About  500,000 people live here.  It is less than 3 hours from Kiev by train.  It is an attractive well kept place.  The riverside is scenic even in winter.  It is relatively new to the dating scene. That first morning Valantina drives me to my apartment.  It is on the sixth floor of a project type building on the edge of town.  It is a typical one room Ukrainian flat.  It is obvious that the person that lives here has just moved out so I can stay here.  The apartment is clean and well decorated.  There is no bed.  I must sleep Ukraine style on the sofa.  The kitchen is well equipped.  There is a tiny Ukraine style bathroom with a single hot water tap.  Valantina has prepared a welcome pack for me.  A bowl of fresh fruit,  the refrigerator is stocked with cheese, salami etc.  There is tea and coffee.   I must live like a local here.  I shower and change. I am desperate for some coffee to perk me up after my long overnight bus trip. There is no bottled water and the kiosk is 10 minutes walk away in the bitter cold.  I fill the kettle from the tap and hope boiling the water will make it safe to drink……

Valantina picks me up at lunchtime and we go to the Lady Orchid offices in the downtown area.  We review my scheduled dates.  Again I exclude a few ladies because they don’t fit my requirements. Mostly because they are too young.  Valantina is a bit confused by this.  She says I am not like her usual clients.  We have a long conversation on the type of lady I am looking for.  My dates today are held in the café next to the offices.  My first date is 33 years old, 165cm tall with average build and looks.  She works as a lecturer training nurses at the medical school.  She speaks no English.  She is a very nice, kind person.  I like her and there is some chemistry.  Later I did a second date with this lady.  It flopped, she was not really interested in me.  My next date is with a medical doctor.  I end this date quite quickly.  All this lady is interested in is practicing medicine in the USA.  Valantina comes in to find out what has happened.  I say I am not interested in ladies who are career professionals.  I am looking for a lady who wants a family.  Valantina says OK and gives me a puzzled look.  My next two dates are no chemistry events.

My final date walks in.  She is the most beautiful woman I have ever dated in Ukraine.  D is 27, 177cm tall with streaky blonde hair.  She has the figure and looks of a fashion model.  She is dressed in “spray on” tight pants which are laced up the front with leather thongs.  Bare midriff and halter top.  She is not wearing a bra – her tits don’t need one.  We start to talk.  This lady is supremely confident with men.  She knows she can twist them around her fingers!  She is chatting me up.  I have no objection and let her strut her stuff.  After an hour I bring the date to an end.  I tell her that she is probably the most beautiful, charming, woman I have ever met in Ukraine but she can never be my wife.  I say look at me.  I am 20 years older than you.  If I brought you to New York City how long would you stay with me?  A week??  She bursts out laughing and agrees.  She also tells me it is not easy for her to find a foreign man.  Hundreds write but she has not met her Mr. Right.  Well guys if you are around 35, handsome and a millionaire.  Here is your trophy wife.  I doubt my income would not keep her in shoes…..

The waiters at the café refuse to bring me my change – 40 Hrivna.  I go up to the office and talk with Valantina.  I tell Valantina about the situation in the café.  She gives me 40 Hrivna from her purse and say she will sort the waiters out.  I have no doubt she will.  My young male interpreter gives Valantina the lowdown on what happened today.  I laugh with her about my meeting with D.  I think I have past some sort of test.  Valantina assures me I will meet better ladies tomorrow.  She drives me back to my apartment.  On the way I stop to buy some extra groceries and a bottle of wine.  That night I prepare a simple meal at the apartment and drink a couple of glasses of wine.  I ring Y on my mobile.  This trip is wearing me out.  I set up my “bed” on the sofa and am soon fast asleep.

I am picked up this morning by taxi and driven to the Lady  Orchid offices.  I have five first dates scheduled for today.  I have a young male interpreter this morning – S.  The first date is a no chemistry event.  The second date is special.  I meet N at the office.  She is 27, 165Cm tall with a slender figure.  She has medium length dyed red hair and elfin features.  She is simply dressed with little make up.  From first look there is chemistry.  We walk across the bridge laughing and joking with each other.  N speaks almost no English.  She is a classical musician.  She plays violin.  She can also play the piano.  She has worked in an orchestra in the past but is now getting by giving lessons and doing other occasional work.  She lives with her dad and admits that life is hard.  She could get regular work in Kiev but cannot afford to live there on her own.  We decide to have lunch and stop at a small pizza café in the center of downtown.  N will not open up with S.  Young male interpreters are in general a bad idea and this one is insensitive to the situation.  He is trying to hurry me, we will be late for the next date.  I tell him bluntly that I call the shots.  When you meet someone you must make the time.  We leave the café and I ask N if she has a serious interest in me.  She replies that she is not sure.  I walk back to the offices convinced that my interpreter has screwed up the situation.  Of course my next date is a flop.  I have kept this lady waiting.  I switch interpreters to another young guy who I worked with yesterday.  I ask Valantina to ring N and find out how she feels about another date.  My next date is with a little red head who throws herself at me.  I end up in a fake Chinese restaurant with her.  I think the smoked fish I ate there gave me food poisoning…. 

My last (first) date this evening is held in a café.  My date is a 28 year old tall slender natural blonde.  She speaks no English.  She is giving me positive signals and making pleasant conversation.  I think she is acting but she is well behaved.  I ask her to stay and eat dinner with me.  I do not want to eat at home two nights running.  She orders food but ten minutes later gives a pathetic excuse about her sick babushka and bolts from the café.  I eat dinner with my interpreter.  Later we are joined by Valantina and a young female interpreter T.  I ask Valantina to check up on my last date.  Why she asks, do I want to see her again?  I reply no.  I want to know why she pulled the “run rabbit run” stunt.  I never do find out why.  Valantina tells me she has phoned N who is anxious to see me again.  We leave the café together to stares from the other customers.  We get into Valantina’s car and the girls dissolve into gales of laughter.  The customers in the café think they have just walked into the café and picked up a couple of men…..

Back at my flat there is no hot water.  I have a horrible night.  My guts have turned liquid.  I spend half the night by the toilet.  Ah the joys of fishing in the wilds of Ukrainia!

The next morning I boil water in pans on the stove and strip wash myself.  I complete my first date program today.  My interpreter is T.  She is a very attractive 26 year old woman who is also looking for a foreign husband.  She is too young for me but is a real sweetheart.  I am ill and my head is not really connected to the dating game.  I have to keep rushing to the toilet.  I am subsisting on mineral water and pills.  I find some chemistry in only one of my first dates today.  She is a 35 year old teacher with a young daughter.  Later I try a second date with her but we make no connection.  I meet N for a second date at a new café – the sports bar.  It is a swish “new Ukrainian” place.  N is much more relaxed talking with T.  We order a meal, but I hardly eat anything.  The chemistry with N is palpable now.  We are getting on extremely well.  That night I return to my apartment to find there is no heating or hot water.  This concrete box of a flat is freezing.  It is warmer inside a refrigerator!   I must shower and wash my hair and so put pans on the gas stove again.  I shiver uncontrollably as I dry myself.  I put on three layers of clothes and my overcoat and settle down to sleep on the sofa.  These problems are quite normal in Ukraine.  For me it is worse than camping.  When I go camping in winter at least I bring the right gear.

This morning there is no heating, no hot water and no cold water.  I am thankful to be leaving this place.  It is not Valantina’s fault.  These things happen when you travel Ukrainian style. Today is a transition day.  I must return to Kiev on this evenings train.  I spend the best part of it with N.  This woman is a complete sweetheart and she is stealing my heart.  She has come to me for just a bunch of flowers, a box of chocolates and a meal.  We walk in the park and spend time alone.  She will drop everything in her life to travel to Kiev with me.  She wants me to spend the last days of my trip with her.  Now I have a real problem.  Y is waiting for me in Kiev.  I feel  I must resolve that situation first.  I tell N I have some things I must do in Kiev tomorrow.  I need to find a flat (a lie).  I will contact her when I am in Kiev.  Perhaps she can join me at my apartment the day after next.  I extend my time in Vinnitsa to the last train that evening.  Valantina and some of her staff take me to the station.  We share a very hurried meal.  These people have taken great care of me.  I am sorry to be rushing out of here.  On the train I am in a quandary.  I have created a duplicitous situation.  I reflect that I must resolve things with Y tomorrow.  This is horrible time pressure.  Galina meets me at the station at 2.00am.  She looks utterly exhausted and is drinking a bottle of rum and coke.  She tells me she has been working non stop for over 24 hours.  We take a taxi to my apartment and I am back in civilization.  It is a haven of western luxury.  I shower and fall sleep in a large comfortable bed……




Online leslied

  • Supporting Member
  • Moderator
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1851
  • Country: tr
  • Gender: Male
  • Spouses Country: Ukraine
  • Status: Married
  • Trips: 20+
Re: Ukraine Odyssey 2
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2015, 01:34:24 AM »
BACK IN KIEV

I spent a much better night.  The violent flushing of my gut subsided.  I got some much needed sleep.  I meet my interpreter V in Independence Square.  We go together to the internet café by the post office.  I check my e-mail and post an update on a long forgotten forum.  I tell V that I won’t be needing him today.  If things get urgent I will SMS his mobile or call Galina.  I meet Y outside café Etoile.  It is an emotional reunion.  Y shows me the sites around Independence square.  The presidents house (very impressive Stalinist building)  and other beautiful architecture which survived the German destruction of the city in WW11.   It is going dark as we return to my apartment together.  We are both chilled clean through to our bones.   Y is starting to back away from me.  My guts are finally better so I am ravenously hungry.  Y says she knows an American style restaurant near the food market.  We walk there.  It is a TGIF (Fridays)!

I am tucking into a plate of baby back ribs.  Y has big eyes.  It is rare in Ukraine for a person to eat so much meat.  I am using my fingers.  Y asks me if I normally eat like a pig?  Yep,  I reply sucking the yummy Jack Daniels sauce from a rib bone.  Y is playing with her chicken salad.  She is agitated.  I ask her why.  She replies that she is afraid of me!  Why what have I done I ask?  I am afraid of my feelings for you is her reply.  Fridays is closing up around us and Y says she wants to go home.  I say I understand.  We will find a taxi for her.  (I admit the callous thought that N is on tomorrow mornings train runs through my mind)  The first taxi is waiting for someone.  We walk back towards my apartment.  Y enquires with a second taxi driver.  She tells me he is busy too (a lie).  Y grabs me in front of the food market and says “I have changed my mind” and plants the most amazing smacker on my lips.  We walk together back to my apartment.

The next day Y takes me to an art gallery.  It is in a gloomy old aristocrats mansion.  For me this is just local color until I walk into a room on the second floor.  There hanging in shadows amongst several other pictures is a masterpiece by Rembrandt!!  In NYC this painting would be given pride of place in the Guggenheim.  Kiev is a surprising place!   We walk to Independence Square to meet our interpreter V.  We have both built up a list of written questions that our language skills cannot answer.  We make V work very hard for two hours.  We are walking in the park when Galina rings my mobile.  She asks me what are we going to do about N.  She has packed a case and is waiting to come to Kiev.  I reply that I want her to stall if she can, try to keep N happy.  The effect of this conversation on Y is akin to ramming an electric cattle prod up her ass.  Y is an extremely jealous woman.  If I bring N to Kiev she will cause a scandal.  Maybe even start a cat fight.  I cannot risk this.  Tonight Y and I go to the ballet together.  For the first time on this trip I dress like a city boy.  Y is impressed!  The first ballet is Murgorsky's “Pictures at an Exhibition”  It is world class in every respect.  At the interval Galina meets us with presents for Y.  Roses and a bottle of Russian Champagne.  These are presents from Jack.  Yet another example of his outstanding service to me.  The second ballet is Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” it has a weird soviet style conformity theme which I find incongruous to the music.  We try to meet Galina after the performance  but miss each other in the crowd.  Y and I return to my apartment and split the Champagne.

We have been neglecting Y’s little boy so I buy tickets for the circus today.  He has never been to the circus before and stares around with wide eyed amazement.  I buy him a little flashing light toy which fascinates him.  He clings to me through most of the show.  We taxi over to Independence Square and meet our interpreter V.  Another first for this little boy.  Dinner is an American style shopping mall.  He stuffs himself so much that Y will not allow me to take him to Baskin Robbins for ice cream.  She fears he will be sick!  Instead I take him to a help yourself candy store and he selects a big bag of candy.  Y says I must stop spoiling him.  Y leaves by Taxi to take her little boy back to her mothers place.  V and I discuss the situation over coffee.  I have hurt my gentle, creative musician very badly.  She is a Ukrainian woman.  She senses what is going on and does not want to loose me.  Y will not let me out of her sight.  V and I agree there is nothing to be done but try to console N.  I will have to try to pick up the pieces with her after I get home, maybe consolidate things with another trip, very soon, to see only her.  V and I return to my apartment.  Y joins us there.  I arrange for V to give Y English lessons.  This is the only present I give to Y and she is extraordinarily grateful.  Y and I spend my final night together.

Next morning Galina picks us up by taxi.  We travel together to Borispol airport.  Y hugs and kisses me in front of passport control and waits waving till I am through.  I spend the uneventful journey back to JFK thinking things through.  It has been another tremendous experience.  I am still “shell shocked” by the rapidity of events.  I get the bus back to the port authority and walk into my home.  The usual pile of junk mail needs to be sorted through.  I have only been away for two weeks.  It feels more like two years!  The emotional tornado of my trip has touched three peoples lives.  I cannot say yet how things will turn out.  I have learned the fallacy of “wish fulfillment”.  I have a gut feeling that the problems I have created are only just begun………….