Maybe more of a cultural question, but what do you all suggest as far as "fashion"? I'm guessing it is pretty much a common sense answer, but thought this worth asking. I am a jeans and t-shirt (or golf shirt) kind of person, but I have the impression that this may not be a good idea for UA (i.e. this could be easily taken as slovenly there). Seems to me though, that slacks and a button up may be appropriate for a first meeting, and the more normal fare if there are subsequent meeting depending on activity. Any suggestions?
On a more functional note, how much money would you recommend carrying around on your person? Also, if I were vacationing somewhere at home I wouldn't do this, but does anyone have any recommendations in regard to keeping some emergency money on your person somewhere other than a wallet and how much? I feel like I may be paranoid here, but considering language differences etc. it just seems like a bad idea.
I'm thinking of Mariupol specifically, and UA in general, but what are the thoughts about wandering around alone on foot? In larger cities at home, you definitely have to be careful of certain neighborhoods. Is it safe to assume this is true there? My only other comparable experience is Brazil, but when I was there I was advised not wander around at all (there was a very high violent crime rate, even for locals, where I was).
CLOTHES - I try to "blend in" (look like the locals), apparently with some success. I'm not comfortable advertising "obvious foreigner." I wear what used to be business casual in the US of A, as you said "slacks and a button up," and black leather shoes. For first meetings, I guess some of the ladies would really appreciate a man dressing up, but I don't try to carry anything fancy in my luggage.
CASH - I usually like to carry the local equivalent of about 200 US. I learned (the hard way, pickpockets are an industry) not to carry anything else EXCEPT cash: driving license, credit cards etc. stay in my apartment. I usually don't carry any hidden cash -- usually my feet and a metro token are enough to get me back to the apartment. But it's easy to carry a few hundred UAH in a different pocket from the wallet.
WANDERING - Ukraine is (depending on definitions) the biggest country in Europe, and I've only seen a very small corner. But so far, I have walked 100s of km in Kyiv, and in the Russian cities of Moscow, Sankt Peterburg, and Vladimir -- sometimes quite late at night, and/or in deserted streets -- and haven't yet had any problem (knock wood). In the unlikely event you find yourself in a truly rural area, I suggest sticking close to locals who know you. I think that physical safety while Over There is mostly common sense: use your intuition; don't advertise that you are a foreigner; watch out for crazy driving; take precautions against pickpockets; and especially at night, steer clear of groups of drunk people (where violence is liable to erupt very suddenly).
One of the main things I consider in regard to clothes is being somebody I am not, though attempting to "blend in" slightly seems a very good idea. At home, I rarely dress up. Weddings, funerals, etc. I work in a casual office setting where it is acceptable to wear jeans every day, and though I tend to wear polo/golf shirts most days (tasteful) t-shirts are not uncommon. I've said earlier that I am not dead set on "finding a wife", but since I am open to a serious relationship I feel it is important to "be me" and not have false airs. That is fine line I keep coming back to when considering what to wear/bring while over there.
Simpleton - how to dress is a funny subject. On my first trip I received all kinds of advice on how to dress. I only visited Kiev. I found that the locals dressed anywhere from smart to just plain old rag tag. Most wear blue jeans but not wranglers, levis or the usual western looking jeans. Many wear slacks, usually black or black jeans. Some wear button ups from plaid to solid. And a surprising number of people were wearing sneakers, tennis shoes etc. but a more stylish type. Leave your converse and NB at home. Pointy black shoes are in. But if you don't already have them don't waste money unless you wear them at home. Think Italy or France for style. But as in anyplace the style runs from A to Z. What is your age? What is the age of the people you are meeting? Don't try to dress 'younger' if you are not. Short pants for men is very rare. As long as you don't wear faded American style jeans and white sneakers with a t-shirt you should be okay. But please take t-shirts as long as they are decent and not too loud and golf or 'polo' shirts. The easiest way to 'fit in' is to have confidence in yourself and not be self conscious about your wardrobe. As long as you dress according to your age and not too over the top you'll be fine. Take an umbrella - I don't know the weather but it would great to have one if you need it. Trying to find one - good luck. Brown shoes are also very rare.
This of course is based on the Kiev crowd in summer. How you carry yourself is much more important than how you dress as long as you are reasonably dressed.
I met a lady one night and we went for sushi. I wore black slacks, nice shirt, black shoes. She shows up in old worn jeans and logo t-shirt. She said she was dressed in a suit all day and just wanted to relax. As I said, you demeanor is much more important than your clothes.
Take Durak's advice on walking around. All I ever had was my passport and enough cash for a night out.
And don't be intimidated by wannabe thugs. Stand your ground within reason and they'll back off.
I would also take the time in daylight to familiarize yourself with the lay of the land. You should be able to get back to your apartment on your own. Write down the address - oh yeah, that's the third thing I always carried with me - of the place you are staying. Have someone from there write it in the local language and if it comes down to it just show it to a taxi driver.
I also was surprised to learn this. Obviously, the European part of Russia (Russia west of the Ural mountains) is by far the biggest. But because most of Russia is in Asia, and for cultural reasons as well, many folks don't include Russia on the list of European countries.
Likewise for Turkey, which is bigger than Ukraine, but most of Turkey is in Asia -- so Turkey is not altogether a European country, and the part that is in Europe is relatively small.
The total area of French Republic is greater than that of Ukraine, but includes (for example) French Guiana in South America, as well as territory in the Carribean, Pacific islands, etc. The European part of France is smaller than Ukraine.
So of the countries whose land area is primarily in Europe (100%, in Ukraine's case), the one with the biggest area IN EUROPE ... is Ukraine.
In the strange realms of physiography, Greenland is considered part of North America (see wikipedia). In fact, it sits on the North American tectonic plate. It is part of kingdom of Denmark, a European country ... but it ain't in Europe.
I hear what you say but it is a very grey area, Greenland has been a member of the European Union, it is the only country to have joined then left the EU, over a fishing issue, the monetary currency of Greenland ia a European currency and the only scheduled air services to/from Greenland are from/to Europe!
How many North American countries were, are, or are ever likely to be, members of the European Union?
You previously said to try asking Ukrainians ..... well try asking the people of Greenland if they are Americans or not .... you might like to don a bulletproof jacket before doing so. :)
" In the strange realms of physiography, Greenland is considered part of North America (see wikipedia). In fact, it sits on the North American tectonic plate.
Well, durak, Los Angeles is considered in North America yet it doesn't sit on the North American plate does it? So much for physiography, huh? Strange realms....... I guess if we wanted to, we can make everything fit just right, as in Russia, Turkey, France and of course Greenland.......
If there's another continent closer to LA than North America, I would gladly cede that city! Greenland appears to be a lot closer to the continental landmass of North America, than that of Europe.
Turkey is a long-time member of NATO, but try as I might, I haven't succeeded in placing it in or on the north Atlantic -- nor for that matter, Italy, Romania, Poland, or land-locked Slovakia.
And Turkey may become a member of the European Union, but most of its territory will still be in Asia.
I haven't yet spoken with any Greenlanders. But I suppose that if I want to tell an Englishman of Thatcherite leanings that the UK is part of Europe, I should be ready for an argument!
P.S. As a boy, I remember watching "Candid Camera" ask a bunch of Texans, "what is the biggest state in the union?" As I recall, just about every one of them said "Texas." Alaska, which dwarfs Texas in size, had only become a state a year or two prior.
And durak ..... regarding Thatcher, when I recently learned of the 'illegal' plotting that she and Reagan got up to, that impacted upon my career, well please don't bother to try to wind me up regarding that corrupt bitch :)
I say that with a smile, indeed I don't blame Reagan, she should never have put him in that position, but he became the only US president to interfere with the US Grand Jury since Nixon!
Agreed Durak...but what do most if not all russians consider themselves...Eastern european or asian( or would it be western asian?)? I doubt if 'body mass' would ever be in THAT conversation..... ;-))
Who is the 'many folks' you speak of?
It's interesting to try and see the question from a Russian perspective. Your country is the largest in the world. Most likely, you've grown up with a fierce sense of pride in your Russian identity. Unless you're very young, you remember when your country was the core of a vast, powerful and feared empire that the rest of the world had to treat with considerable respect, however grudgingly.
Your country has more than 1.5 times the population of any country mainly in Europe. More than 250 million in Russia and neighboring countries can converse in your language. Your country did the lion's share, in defeating the Fascist scourge.
I haven't spoken with Russians about whether (or how) they see themselves as part of a larger category. Maybe for some Russians, "Russian" is all the identity they need.
As a practical matter, I believe that all of those countries whose main territory is in Europe (excepting only FSU and one or two Warsaw Pact countries) are off-limits to Russians and Ukrainians, unless they have hard-to-get visas. For them, the "real Europe" is something of a forbidden land.
It would be interesting to look through the mirror from the other side: what proportion of non-Russian-speaking Europeans, think of Russians as also being European?
P.S. I was wrong to say "many folks don't include Russia on the list of European countries". I was projecting my own opinion (shared by some other westerners who love to travel to Russia) that for people whose travel there goes beyond ordinary tourism, it is a big-ass mistake to think of Russia as part of Europe: social and cultural conditions are so different from anything known in the rest of Europe, that travelers who think that they are "still in Kansas" may be in for some really distressing experiences. From my very limited personal experiences, Ukraine seems a bit more European than Russia - sort of a kinder, gentler version.
Opinions in different EU countries vary but certainly in UK it's difficult enough to get the message across that UK is part of a much bigger commununity, the EU, never mind consider Russia to be a European neighbour!
The attitudes in UK are, generally, ignorant, much of Europe, myself included, laugh at the 'island mentality', I returned to UK from mainland Europe in 2000, you'd think I'd returned from outer space, because I'd been living outside of UK, upon my return, I couldn't open a bank account, I couldn't get a debit/credit card, I couldn't rent a place to live etc, and all because I'd been living outside of UK yet still within the EU, indeed I'd been living in the world's richest country but that made no impact upon the island mentality.
Even now I have an EU (Latvian) credit card, I can rarely, if at all, use it for UK online shopping, because UK online checks cannot check a non UK card, and it's becoming more and more difficult to use it in UK shops because it's not a 'chip & pin' card, more and more shops are refusing to accept cards where one signs a transaction receipt so, to any foreign visitors/tourists coming to UK, unless you have a 'chip & pin' card don't expect too warm a welcome in UK shops!
Mention to a Uk national 'Ukraine' and the standard reply comes back "that's in Russia", probably the same for the other CIS countries also, I once contacted a travel agent enquiring of travel to Dnepropetrovsk and the reply came back "sorry, we only do travel in Europe" :)
But back to Russia, it's only as recently as 2007 that Russia was 'bouncing' UK air defences with their Tu-95 Bombers, at one point 8 Tu-95's in one formation, that's 64 very noisy propellors in close formation, so if UK doesn't consider Russia to be a European neighbour then it can be hardly surprising!
2/3 weeks ago I flew back in to my local 'country bumpkin' airport, I'd travelled from Asia but I was arriving from Amsterdam (having transitted in AMS), most passengers were smartly dressed and then there was me, having been travelling for something like 21 hours, scruffy as phuck, suntanned and still wearing tropical clothing etc, immigation were looking for somebody to stop and I stood out like a sore thumb. There are lots of stamps in my passport from different countries but all they picked up on, and questioned me regarding, was a Russian visa as if there is suspicion upon any person that travels to Russia!
Anyone know of a good online map of Mariupol? Prefer in English/Romanized, though I can usually puzzle out Cyrillic if I have to. I've been trying to find Stroiteley Avenue (Строителей проезд). . . but can't (mostly using Google Maps). Found one site that has Stroiteley label the same as Budivel'nykiv.
Any ideas on the going rate for taxis as well? In general for getting around Mariupol, as well as going from Donetsk to Mariupol. Everything I have found online so far is about 90 USD Donetsk to Mariupol.