A recommendation published recently by a Europen travel magazine for men listed four cities as THE bucket list of places single men should visit at least once in their life. Next to Amsterdam, Hamburg and Budapest, Kiev was included, with the hint that there is an abundance of beautiful girls that usually outnumber the present men in the local night clubs.
Fair enough, they are truly stunning and mostly also charming conversationalists, though I could not help but remember a funny story I was involved in some years ago.
A trade show in Kiev I was attending coincided with the hysteria around the alleged “swine flu” epidemic (that luckily failed to unfold). Despite multiple inquiries whether the event will take place, the organizers kept insuring us that everything is fine, though in the end, at the time the trade show opened, the Ukrainian authorities had issued a ban on mass gatherings of people in public, hence nobody bothered to visit the venue.
After couple of depressing hours, the exhibitors started walking about in order to create at least the illusion for some human circulation in the halls, and inevitably started fraternizing. Against all odds, the following days turned out quite funny and enjoyable, although terrible for business.
Since the weather was rather cold and very unpleasant, we tended to stick around our hotel near the exhibition grounds and once even dined there. The hotel restaurant was representative for the typical outlet you may come across often in the ex-Soviet world and Balkan countries – an odd mix between cafeteria, restaurant, and bar with live music at the same time.
My colleague and I had invited some Taiwanese businessmen we were acquainted with and at some point one if them said that he’d like to buy the two female singers a drink. I quickly browsed the alcoholic beverages section of the menu and issued a tentative warning that there are some spirits that may make him cry if the ladies would suddenly fancy trying them. Though he insisted that I must convey his wish to the waitress.
She quickly obliged and returned with the message that the admittedly very pretty singers would like some pineapple juice. Oh the relief I felt at that moment! Unexpectedly decent girls, I though, bless them!
The Taiwanese gent though was quite disappointed and was sulking for the rest of the dinner. And then the check arrived. I was taken aback by the total, so we have contested the tab, however the waitress kept insisting that it’s all content and even brought back a menu so we could compare prices. Yes, it was correct, until the equivalent of some € 230.00 popped up, charged for 2 pineapple juices. So I pointed out this obvious mistake to the waitress who took her stand and flipped the page to the soft drinks section where my incredulous eyes found indeed the confirmation for her words. The Taiwanese gents all jumped up with the logical question…pineapple juice costs that much?!???? The waitress just rolled her eyes and blurted out exasperatedly “It’s freshly squeezed out!!!”…
We paid the juicy bill, alright, though whenever you visit Kiev as part of those trips on the road to maturity for men, make sure to scan the soft drinks list too in order to be better informed about the extent of pain you are willing to endure. Cheers!