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Best, Worst, Most unexpected thing about FSU

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I am sure I am not the only one here who has learned a lot more than expected about the countries of the FSU by meeting our fiance(e)s and traveling to those countries. I would be interested to learn what other members found most memorable and unexpected about these places. I thought I knew a lot about the world but I have been quite surprised by more than a few things. For instance, the absurdly aggressive driving in Ukraine, esp Kiev. How beautiful Russian cities can be. How they seem almost embarrassed about the cyrillic alphabet, to have status something must be written in the latin alphabet and usually in English. There are many more, what are your favorites?

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Best: All the beautiful women

Worst: The culture

Most unexpected: *See first answer RE: "Best"


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"I want to take this opportunity to mention how thankful I am for an Obama re-election. The choice was clear. We cannot live in a country that treats homosexuals and women as second class citizens. Homosexuals deserve all of the rights and benefits of marriage that heterosexuals receive. Women deserve to be treated with respect and their salaries should not depend on their gender, but their quality of work. I am also thankful that the great, progressive state of California once again voted for the correct President. America is moving forward, and the direction is a positive one."

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Yeah, the women are amazing! But we already all know about that. I mean besides the women.

Large clean sidewalks/parks in the major city's, low cost of living, .... night life.


sigbet.jpg

"I want to take this opportunity to mention how thankful I am for an Obama re-election. The choice was clear. We cannot live in a country that treats homosexuals and women as second class citizens. Homosexuals deserve all of the rights and benefits of marriage that heterosexuals receive. Women deserve to be treated with respect and their salaries should not depend on their gender, but their quality of work. I am also thankful that the great, progressive state of California once again voted for the correct President. America is moving forward, and the direction is a positive one."

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Large clean sidewalks/parks in the major city's, low cost of living, .... night life.

I was amazed at the incredible downtown in Kiev, Kreshchatyk st in particular! But as nice as the downtown was, everything else resembled one huge housing project. (Which it was). I expected the same in Kazan but was then amazed at how much new building and good architecture, both old and new, was there. And the large number of 'golden arches' in Kiev! You would think it was their national restaurant!

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I was amazed at the incredible downtown in Kiev, Kreshchatyk st in particular! But as nice as the downtown was, everything else resembled one huge housing project. (Which it was). I expected the same in Kazan but was then amazed at how much new building and good architecture, both old and new, was there. And the large number of 'golden arches' in Kiev! You would think it was their national restaurant!

I will respond more when I have time. I agree the best and most unexpected was the women, but beofr ebing sent to Ukraine for working, I knew nothing of the women so it was unexpected for me anyway.

Bad things...

All the stray dogs, everywhere! They can g=be a threat also. Odessa is taken over by packs of wild dogs at night. It is crazy!

The way most buildings lot like trash outside and in the common areas, but the apartments are beautiful inside. Strange.

Trash everywhere outside, it is a shame. Yesm the drivers are 'effin crazy, but they are in lots of other foreign countries also.

Seems like they are riding on the same trolley cars as the 1930s. Trains are not much better.

The downtown areas are nice, in nearly every city. Go a few blocks away and it is like lving in a junk yard.

Incredible corruption, pollution and filth like no one here would ever imagine. Everything is broken. The elevator in our apartment house has been broken for 50 years. No one will fix it. You have to pay for everything to get done...pay a bribe (see also under "good things")

Medical care...do NOT get sick. If you actually want treatment you have to bribe everyone. We pay a doctor $250 per year just so my MIL can have a doctor to call that actually will answer the phone. That is just for him to answer the phone. If she needs care, that will cost more.

To be continued...


VERMONT! I Reject Your Reality...and Substitute My Own!

Gary And Alla

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I was amazed at the incredible downtown in Kiev, Kreshchatyk st in particular! But as nice as the downtown was, everything else resembled one huge housing project. (Which it was). I expected the same in Kazan but was then amazed at how much new building and good architecture, both old and new, was there. And the large number of 'golden arches' in Kiev! You would think it was their national restaurant!

Thank god for McDonalds. :D It was a site for sore eyes when I discovered the golden arches in Minsk. The first time I went there with the wife I asked her what she wanted, and she said; I'l have a Beeg Mock, and a Mock Cheeken"...lol

In fact I still have a few pics from our first meal together at one of the Micky D's in downtown Minsk...#######...we read where the INS wants a lot of pics, so we took pics of just about everything...

minskmd.th.jpg


sigbet.jpg

"I want to take this opportunity to mention how thankful I am for an Obama re-election. The choice was clear. We cannot live in a country that treats homosexuals and women as second class citizens. Homosexuals deserve all of the rights and benefits of marriage that heterosexuals receive. Women deserve to be treated with respect and their salaries should not depend on their gender, but their quality of work. I am also thankful that the great, progressive state of California once again voted for the correct President. America is moving forward, and the direction is a positive one."

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I am sure I am not the only one here who has learned a lot more than expected about the countries of the FSU by meeting our fiance(e)s and traveling to those countries. I would be interested to learn what other members found most memorable and unexpected about these places. I thought I knew a lot about the world but I have been quite surprised by more than a few things. For instance, the absurdly aggressive driving in Ukraine, esp Kiev. How beautiful Russian cities can be. How they seem almost embarrassed about the cyrillic alphabet, to have status something must be written in the latin alphabet and usually in English. There are many more, what are your favorites?

These comparisons have been discssused many times on the forum. Some might say too many times. Usually ends up with TOS violations for insulting people, discrimination, etc. It also usually stirs up people on the forum whose wives and fiancees come from different countries. But your free to ask what you want.

OK, now I'm getting some popcorn and wait for the fun to start.

Edited by visaveteran

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More bad stuff...

220V. doorbells. :wow: Don't ask! Huge holes in the sidewalks and comedic "wheelchair ramps" which would be a tragedy if anyone went near them with a wheelchair and no shortage of pedestrians fall down them also since they are invisible as you approach the underpasses that go under streets. (see also under "good things")

Frequent loss of electricity and/or water and/or hot water. No dryers. Had to dry my clothes on a line above the tub and iron everything. Sucks. Can't drink the water and had to drink bottled water and juice. BonAqua with gas was my favorite. Coke Lite was also a favorite. Front loading washing machines under the kitchen counter with doors that do not lock in operation. :wow: Don't ask! Incredibly expensive clothes and shoes and electronics.

Good things...

Awesome theatre and opera for very cheap prices. Incredible. Cheap public transportation. Cheap personal services, shoes fixed for $2, manicures for $4, etc. Bribery (see also under bad things). The good thing about bribery is that you can actually get something done for a cheap bribe. You would not wait 6 months for a visa in Ukraine. You would bribe someone $20 and get it in 20 minutes. Holes in sidewalks and comeic wheelchair ramps. (see also under bad things) These are proof positive of the absolute lack of liability attorneys in Ukraine. Makes life a lot more free, cheap and easy but walk at your own risk. Cheap utilities. Life in general is pretty cheap especially if you own your apartment outright. Honest direct people. No one says "HI!!!!!!!!!!! How are you today?" when they don't give a rat's @ss how you are, like they do here. No phony-ness. If a Ukrainian asks how you are, they really want to know. The nearly reverent respect the people have for veterans of WW2. Very admirable. I wish we had the same respect for OUR veterans. This respect does not apply to veterans of the Afghan war though. They are like our Viet Nam vets or soemthing. That's a shame. I do not take away credit for how they treat a veteran of the 2nd war though. Incredible architecture and all the wonderful things to see in Europe at a much lower price than western Europe.

Surprising things...

Women. YOWWWWWWWWW ZAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! I still haven't gotten over that and hope I never do. The click-click-click of heels on stones tells me I am in Ukraine! A whole society of well educated people that actually believe that cold drinks will make you seriously ill and think if you open a window on a sweltering hot bus they will all get sick from the "draft". Alla was a chief Editor for a medical journal at one time and still thinks that if a young girl sits on a cold bench her "female parts" will be damaged and she will not be able to have children. That's bizarre. Endless superstitions that people actually believe and follow. People got mad at me because I went out with them but did not drink alcohol (I do not drink alcohol, I do not like the taste) and they would get really pissed off. Seriously. I finally had to put out the word that if they were going to get like that, then please do not invite me to go places after work. Dogs everywhere. (see also under bad things) The pervasiveness of alcoholism in men. Terrible. Makes it really easy for a non-alcoholic guy to get women though!!! :thumbs: You think there are a lot of women per man, and there is, but when you factor out the alcoholics that the women HATE, it triples the odds! :lol: There was still considerable damage left from WW2 when I was living there, it was still in the process of being repaired and a lot had been neglected for decades. Strange.

Now about this alphabet. I never detected that people were ashamed of the Cyrillic alphabet BUT I thought it was completely bizarre that you go into an Apetka and all the products are printed in French or English or German. Totally bizarre. I tried to imagine an American going into a Walgreens, for example, and all the priducts are printed in Russian. We would flip out and drive large SUVs through the doors of the place! No it has been explained to me that after the Soviet Union when the marets opened to western products, that the "good stuff" was foreign made. People wanted good stuff, not the Soviet junk thay had for decades. So stores started placing signs in English or French, etc. It was a symbol of "quality" of products. So far the trend seems to have "stuck". But, yes, it was surprising to see this.

Edited by Gary and Alla

VERMONT! I Reject Your Reality...and Substitute My Own!

Gary And Alla

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Best Most unexpected thing about FSU

The amazing number of people with brunette and black hair and BLUE or gray eyes.

Setting off a metal detector due to 3 replaced joints and being told they DID NOT need to check me and having Lyudmila Putina, wife of Vladimir Putin walk past me 15 minutes later.

The huge number of parks and the benches beside sidewalks.

The open areas and children’s play grounds around apartment buildings.

The endless number of flower gardens everywhere.

Having driven truck in 42 US states I found Moscow and Kaliningrad to be as clean if not cleaner than most US cities I have visited.

Being told “WELCOME TO RUSSIA” by every person I met.

The worst was in Sheremetyevo Airport when I set off the metal detector and the woman checking me did not feel my privates like they do here in the US. What a letdown after being groped by a female deputy while trying to enter a US Court House to obtain my divorce documents.


First email 2004-09-05

Visit her in Russia 2009-09-18 to 2009-11-02

I-129F Sent : 2010-07-14

I-129F NOA1 : 2010-08-11

Touch : 2010-08-18

NOA2 :2010-01-13

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Thank god for McDonalds. :D It was a site for sore eyes when I discovered the golden arches in Minsk. The first time I went there with the wife I asked her what she wanted, and she said; I'l have a Beeg Mock, and a Mock Cheeken"...lol

In fact I still have a few pics from our first meal together at one of the Micky D's in downtown Minsk...#######...we read where the INS wants a lot of pics, so we took pics of just about everything...

minskmd.th.jpg

Oddly enough I think I went to McDonalds maybe once or twice, even though I lived right down the street from one. I much preferred local restraunts and food. That's just me. Alla thinks McDonalds is poison.


VERMONT! I Reject Your Reality...and Substitute My Own!

Gary And Alla

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Best Most unexpected thing about FSU

The amazing number of people with brunette and black hair and BLUE or gray eyes.

Setting off a metal detector due to 3 replaced joints and being told they DID NOT need to check me and having Lyudmila Putina, wife of Vladimir Putin walk past me 15 minutes later.

The huge number of parks and the benches beside sidewalks.

The open areas and childrens play grounds around apartment buildings.

The endless number of flower gardens everywhere.

Having driven truck in 42 US states I found Moscow and Kaliningrad to be as clean if not cleaner than most US cities I have visited.

Being told WELCOME TO RUSSIA by every person I met.

The worst was in Sheremetyevo Airport when I set off the metal detector and the woman checking me did not feel my privates like they do here in the US. What a letdown after being groped by a female deputy while trying to enter a US Court House to obtain my divorce documents.

Agreed, they are very friendly to visitors. I do not agree about cleanliness of cities though. :no:

I usually did not look so close at their eyes...but yes, alla has very dark hair and piercing BLUE eyes.

Edited by Gary and Alla

VERMONT! I Reject Your Reality...and Substitute My Own!

Gary And Alla

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I forgot

The huge number of WW2 monuments to honor the war vets. In Kaliningrad Oblast it also honored the Germans too. Every town had a list of the dead on both sides.


First email 2004-09-05

Visit her in Russia 2009-09-18 to 2009-11-02

I-129F Sent : 2010-07-14

I-129F NOA1 : 2010-08-11

Touch : 2010-08-18

NOA2 :2010-01-13

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It's hard to say what is best or worse because so much was unexpected. I was really surprised by the amount of music everywhere while I was in Ukraine. Some was a little too much, like keeping me up at night from the loudness. The people genuinely seemed pretty happy despite the lack of jobs for many. Okay, best was definitely the many women walking down the street looking like they just stepped out of magazine or were late for their modeling session. :dance:

I have to agree that the trash outside apartments was a real drawback, but it was apparent that the services were inadequate. I saw most trash containers re-filled within hours of their pickup, which means that people were cleaning their homes but had to wait to dispose of the trash until the container was empty. But at least the trash was generally confined to the trash areas.

Probably another best would be the hospitality of the people I met. Usually you were met with much food that had been prepared all day long and was incredibly delicious. Then the men were sure to make a few toasts and shots of Vodka for your welcome. :thumbs:

But, what I enjoyed the most was the simplicity of their lives. I enjoyed the parks with their small amusement rides for the kids that were administered by local people. For a few kopecks you could enjoy a ride that you were responsible for yourself. The rides were painted by the people in bright colors and cleaned by the locals. The amusement parks were there for the children and if you fell off a ride, you had better hope your mother didn't see or she would slap you silly for being dumb or clumsy. There were no lawyers hanging around ready to sue someone because a kid scrapped his knee. :)

I was with a group my first time and we all laughed when we tried to get a cup of coffee. The cup of instant coffee was so small that we would order three at a time just to get one decent size cup of coffee. But then, I had never had tomatoes served at breakfast either, so there were a lot of unexpected things.

I think the best is without a doubt the result. I have a loving wife who makes me a very happy man. :luv:

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Oddly enough I think I went to McDonalds maybe once or twice, even though I lived right down the street from one. I much preferred local restraunts and food. That's just me. Alla thinks McDonalds is poison.

When I was in Dnepropetrovsk one of the guys I was with said that we should to to McDonald's while were were out. I said, "No way. I'm in Ukraine and I want to eat the local food". His response was, "We go for the eye candy".

Boy was he right. So many beautiful women in one place. I ordered a coke. :rofl: :rofl:

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