Mongering in Kiev Part 2
A Mongers travelogue to Kiev continued
Kiev, oh Kiev
Reaching the outskirts of Kiev in the airport taxi and the start of the main rush hour traffic brought to home that I really was experiencing a foreign city in a foreign country. The diverse architecture, the Cyrillic script and advertising, the shops and restaurants lit up in the late afternoon gloom, this is a real Russian (Ukrainian) City so different from what I’m used to at home and what makes travelling to a new place so interesting and stimulating. Kiev has a hilly side to it too, in parts, but the start to Khreshchatyk Street part where I was staying was thankfully flat.
Now in the Centre the traffic was almost gridlocked but the driver in a positive way managed to swing in and out of the traffic stopping right outside the hotel. He then printed a receipt and handed it to me and fare shown was 375 UAH (under £13.00) so I gave him 400, thanked him and said keep the change.
Royal Hotel De Paris
Arriving by the main hotel entrance I was greeted in the lobby by the concierge who took my bag and took me up in a lift to the second floor to the hotel reception to register. Then it was back in the lift again to take me up to my room on one of the upper floors, but at that stage it had not really sunk in how really convenient this out of sight (and out of Reception’s mind) room arrangement was going to be, by bypassing the second floor altogether by basically not getting out of the lift I did not have to do the hotel walk of shame past hotel reception when bringing someone back.
With all the travelling etc, it had been a very long day, I patiently stood and listened while the young concierge showed me how everything worked in the room and found it slightly irritating when he said things like ‘This is the bathroom’. Thanking him I slipped him a 10 UAH note and then realising I had tipped him the equivalent of 0.33p I went after him and catching him just before he got into the lift slipped him another 40 which he seemed very grateful for.
My room itself was spacious and considering it was so cold outside was kept at a nice comfortable just above room-temperature without any noisy air conditioning. The large king-size bed was also comfortable. The room also had the convenience of having a safe, a good selection mini bar, a kettle for tea and coffee and of course satellite TV with 100s of channels. The bathroom with large fluffy towels, bathrobes and a heated towel holder was also very nice. What I hated though was the room décor; everything from the curtains, to the walls including a chaise longue antique chair in the corner were either pink or bright red in colour reminding me of a turn of the century Parisian brothel.
I unpacked, took a quick hot shower and then helped myself to a beer from the mini bar and then while lying on the bed in one of the bathrobes tried to look at my google map on my tablet but found the signal in the room of the free hotel Wi-Fi not really delivering a strong enough signal. Then flicking through the dozens and dozens of television channels which must have taken me all the way through Russia, to the Russian Far East and back I dozed off before waking up with a jolt thinking I had slept through and wasted most of the evening but luckily I saw with relief it was only 8:30pm.
Hitting the mean streets of Kiev Part 1
Feeling a bit too groggy for my liking considering it was not even 9pm (this is why I don’t normally do such early morning starts for flights) I got up, splashed some cold water on my face and while getting dressed smart casual I had decided for at least the early part of the evening to walk down Khreshchatyk Street as far as Independence Square and take it from there, or to put it another way, see what the gods may bring to me.
Not having any reason to visit Reception I took the lift with a faint smell of perfume left lingering inside straight down to the ground floor leaving the building by the same main street entrance that I had entered. From what I remembered of my map I had two easy landmarks to guide me to Independence Square, the Besarabsky Indoor Market’s distinctive building directly opposite the main Arena building which housed the hotel which was at the very start of Khreshchatyk Street, and a McDonalds which I estimated I would pass after about 10 minutes walking.
Once outside the difference in temperature to that in London hit me straight away feeling the chill factor more on my face, and instead of turning right, I wrongly turned left which involved a longer time-consuming anti clockwise circumnavigation of the building which took up more than half a block of central Kiev. Passing expensive designer shops with elaborate expensive window displays from Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel and Prada, momentary a feeling of unease tried to show its ugly head to me in this unfamiliar city.
Alone, a long way from home
True I was all alone a long way from home but actually that doesn’t bother me – nowadays and definitely by choice close to 99% of my mongering is done alone – and the fact that I was experiencing a new place in a new county actually gave me a buzz. Nor did I feel unsafe or threatened in any way, no, I got a quick surge feeling of loneliness hitting me like a wave – aren’t I a bit old to be doing this?
Then – shouldn’t I be in a nice relationship and maybe sitting at home right now, back home, content maybe watching television like most normal people; WILL I EVER SETTLE DOWN?
Then that other wave came, that same familiar one which has followed me around the world; is this trip going to be a waste of time? Will tonight’s adventure lead to a disappointing misadventure accomplishing nothing more than having something to eat, and maybe, a couple of disappointing drinks in different bars before returning or retreating is probably a better word, back to my hotel with that convenient thought of well there is always all day tomorrow, tomorrow will bring better luck.
As I kept walking I definitely didn’t have to remind myself though that I was only here for 3 nights and the clock was ticking.
Finally, by the long way around I found myself on the other side of a small but very busy and difficult to cross road almost opposite the Besarabsky market. On the same side of the pavement to the left, cutting through the building was an alleyway (with a 24-hour money exchange booth attached) leading into the round arena shape Arena City Entertainment complex.
Just what lies in store behind this building?
Briefly from ground level I had a quick look inside the Arena City and gazed up to the upper floors where but for a couple or so of pretentious looking bars most of the units in the complex looked empty and while doing so was approached by two or three different touts asking me if I wanted sex and massage, and one, the meanest looking, represented a pole dancing establishment which was somewhere too in the complex.
Judging by the amount of touts there seemed to be high presence of such adult entertainment in the Arena, it reminded me a bit like Nana Plaza, Bangkok without the crowds, buzz, and bars downstairs. I should imagine in the summer though this place comes to life, still, with some good popular restaurants inside there were still a few people around including a few attractive girls who were standing alone but on closer inspection merely waiting to meet up with friends from the office or wherever but still I had not totally written off the possibility of encountering a much more to my liking non-commercialized naturally seedy type of encounter in that location.
Across the way on the far side lit up by a large neon sign was the main entrance to the Sky Bar and Restaurant and karaoke situated I discovered on the upper floors of the same part of the building as the hotel, and also unknown to me at the time also the night time entrance to the hotel when they closed the main entrance door on the main road part.
For such a small road, crossing it was very time consuming and took a lot of patience to do it as one traffic light on the same road junction turned red the other turned green with the motorists just letting it go and putting their foot down racing past. Finally, though and safely on the other side in one piece I walked through a small square passing the Besarabsky Market.
Then ahead of me I noticed heads, then shoulders and then peoples full body’s appearing like out of nowhere from the pavement via several 24/7 subway tunnels, I later found out, crossing under all the main roads in view, with a direct subway tunnel (I discovered on day two) into Arena City. Also I did not know it then but right under my feet were shopping arcades, ATM machines and even further below, various eateries and coffee shops.
On the small square was a handy late night supermarket and had it not been for the fact that the most expensive beer in the hotel mini bar cost only 55UAH and a coke costing half of that, I would have stocked up from there.
The above picture was taken across the road from the start of Khreshchatyk Street. From the left Besarabsky Market, then the large main Arena building with the hotel part to the right. The distinctive tall tower sticking out of the Arena is a handy Central Kiev landmark for reference.
The Start of Khreshchatyk Street
Straight and wide and very, very typically Russian, Khreshchatyk Street is where the Ukraine Military have their big parades with soldiers marching behind tanks and mobile missile launchers with jets and helicopters flying overhead and cheering crowds line the street waving flags. Things though on the chilly weekday night I was there were a bit quieter.
The pedestrianized pavement part running parallel to the road all the way to Independence Square is quite a pleasant walk with various kiosks and pleasant seating areas dotted along the way and as part of my daily routine I was to do this same walk every day.
The first offering
At around 9:30 pm near an all-night coffee kiosk I noticed sitting on one of the benches ahead of me the gods first offering to me that evening. Sitting upright, leaning on the bench arm with both feet on the seat taking up half its length I got a very good view in great detail of a leggy blonde, I would say in her mid-20s, and sexy looking too, wearing fishnet stockings, leather boots and wearing a very revealing short leather skirt bright red in colour which just shouted out ‘hooker.’
Sitting next to her with her legs also wide apart was a brunette a bit more conservatively dressed and both smiled in my direction, turning their heads and following my movement to where I stopped and pretended to look at the cigarettes on display in the window of a nearby kiosk and at the same time found myself amazed at how cheap a packet was.
But I wasn’t here to be staring at cigarettes!! that girl had given me a hard on. There was a lot going on inside my head; dressed so in your face like that I knew I could not take them back to the hotel and I would have felt too embarrassed anyway walking with the main -I’m a fucking whore picked up from the street- one.
I looked up and took another glance in their direction, both were smiling and looking straight at me, it was as if they knew, and seemed to be taking no notice of the other people walking by. I decided if this was going to happen it was going to be elsewhere, provided I felt safe and comfortable, but those dirty girls were making me feel so horny that had it been summertime or something I would have done them both, if both were available, in the bushes in the nearest park.
Self-conscious now that they were starting to get the attention of the other people around including me getting the attention of the lady behind the cigarette kiosk, I decided to walk on and check out what other offerings may lay ahead, and if not, I could always go back to them. After all the night was still young.
Eyeing up some of the local talent sitting too on the benches along the route, to the right of me as I walked on were various shops, a few restaurants, one or two bars spread out and amazing architecture in places of columns and arches leading into squares, and spot on after 10 minutes walking I saw the McDonalds restaurant which was next to a large Metro Station.
Next to McDonalds was a side street and what caught my attention at one end was an entrance with a lit up sign above saying NO TABOO. Curious I stepped inside and followed the stairs down to the basement realising then that it was a sex shop.
As I was already inside I thought I may as well have a look around expecting to see the usual unattractive unsmiling old hag or heavily tattooed male ex addict type sitting behind the counter pretending to read the newspaper, but instead was welcomed by two very attractive young Ukraine females, one who followed me around while I browsed past the masks, whips, vibrators, dildos etc, and in good English gave me a commentary of what each thing was, finishing each sentence with the word ‘Situation’. ‘That is grease and lubricant for butt plug and fisting situation’…. ‘That is lingerie erotic for erotic type situation’… and not necessarily feeling pressurized to buy something but more wanting to because the girls in the shop were so friendly, on the way out I purchased a pack of Ukraine Bermuda Triangle Apple flavour condoms for 15 UAH.
To be continued……
By Monger Matt