Ukraine has loads of great churches and other touristy things.

ECONOMY

There is loads of development going on in the capital so money is coming in from somewhere. Also the main shopping district is full of top western brands with some charging higher prices than London.

Not sure where all the money is coming from as Ukraine’s only exports seem to be minerals, wives and radiation.

CHERNOBYL CHICKENS

Just by pure coincidence the weekend we went was also pretty close to the 20th anniversary of Chernobyl disaster. As a result the media is full of stories of what happened and how many died. Estimates are between 4000 and 95000 people will die as a result of the accident. These days the brave can even do a trip up to the reactor although you have to stay off the moss because apparently it is pretty radioactive.

We chickened out and went to the Chernobyl Museum in Kiev instead.

EVERYONE IS A TAXI

One of the great things about Russia/Ukraine is that when you need a taxi all you need to do is go to the side of the road and put your hand out and wait for someone to stop and offer you a lift for a few dollars. The only hard part of this whole deal is negotiating a price if you don’t speak Ruskie.

The odd thing though is that some people in really nice cars stop to pick you up and go out of their way for a measly three dollars in petrol money. How do they afford the $10,000 for a car if they are prepared to drive all over the place for three bucks? Maybe they are work cars or stolen.

REGULAR BALLET SUCKS BUT CHILDRENS BALLET SUCKS WAY WORSE

‘The Group’ and by that I mean everyone in the group but me decided that they all had to go to the Sunday matinee of the Ballet to see Pinocchio. I don’t want to come across as a cultural heathen but I saw Sleeping Beauty (the one with the dwarves) at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow once and I didn’t really rate it. To avoid being called a spoilsport I went along for the first act. It turns out that the Sunday Matinee wasn’t Pinocchio after all and was instead some veggie ballet where some dude dressed as a parsnip and his vegetable mates go up against some evil king character. To make matters even more hilarious it’s not even like a real grown up ballet and was more like a ballet pantomime with the only thing missing being the children in the audience yelling out “look out behind you veggie man!”? The best part was when the principle vegetable totally fell over doing a big jumpy spiny thing. Naturally I totally missed it as I was watching the floor or ceiling or something.

Moral: If you don’t want to go to the ballet cos you did it once and you didn’t rate it then don’t. Remember mates don’t make mates do ballet.