So you skipped my advice on why you should never visit Kiev and are already on your way to here? Here is a list of ways to humble yourself in Kiev and feel really embarrassed – have fun, but take it with a grain of salt!
There are no known jokes about Kiev mayor Vitaly Klitchko
The mayor of the city of Kiev, Vitaly Klitchko, is not just a boxer. It is a symbol of Kiev and simply a legend. Every public speech by Vitaly Klitchko turns into a joke or tons of memes. So be sure to ask who Vitaly Klitchko is to feel ashamed and embarrassed.
Forget that Kiev is a big village
Thinking that Kiev is a millionaire city and that you could do whatever you want because you will never meet this person again could result in many embarrassing situations. We call Kyiv a big village, because here you might meet someone in a very surprising place or circumstances. The news spreads quickly here, especially bad news. It doesn’t take anything to break a promise and be an asshole here, but in a couple of hours everyone will know.
Forget about Friday night traffic
Not only do you embarrass yourself by forgetting about Friday night traffic in Kiev, but you also risk missing your flight. On Friday night, many locals leave the city and go to their dacha (house outside Kiev), which creates huge traffic jams. So make sure you remember this and plan your time in advance.
Ask for tap water in a restaurant
So you just asked for tap water at the Kyiv restaurant? You feel really embarrassed, if you find it on your bill, when instead of tap water you get your 0.33 bottle for the cost of a beer. Tap water in Kiev isn’t really drinkable, unless it’s filtered or you really like the taste of chemicals. In some restaurants / cafes they may offer you filtered water for free, but it is quite a rarity. If you’ve found a place where you got free tap water, just let me know, I can’t wait to write an article about it.
Skip Kyiv Perepichka for MacDonald’s
If you avoid standing in line to pick up Perepichka, one of Kiev’s most famous fast food restaurants, and go to the local MacDonald’s, you are already humbled to the bottom of your heart and stomach. Perepichka is not just a local hot dog, it is a symbol of a city. And we locals respect our symbols, especially if represented by food.
Skip the markets if you want to buy stuff
Tell the locals that the markets in Kiev suck and be really humiliated. Locals in Kiev believe that everything is better in local markets (food is fresher, clothing is cheaper, etc.). Many fashionistas you see are probably buying their fashionable things from some Rynok in Troeshchyna or Lisova (famous local markets). Another local thing is the weekly food fairs (yarmarka), when farmers bring home-made food to certain places and sell it for a much cheaper price than in a supermarket. A true Kyivite will never lose it.
Look for bike paths in Kiev
Especially try looking in the center of Podil, which is supposed to be a cycling paradise in Kiev. I guarantee you won’t find any, but you’ll enjoy laughing at yourself. If you dare to cycle in Kiev, choose between cycling in a park, cycling at the foot of pedestrians or on the road for cars. Or go cycling. Kiev offers you many opportunities to humble yourself on a bicycle.
Ask if there will be snow in Kiev in June
If you’ve chosen Kiev for your summer vacation but still think it’s going to be a polar expedition, at least make sure you don’t say it out loud. We will make you feel really humiliated by our laughs or our sarcastic jokes. Summers in Kiev are very hot and you may only find snow in the refrigerator of your rented apartment. Speaking of refrigerators …
Try opening a locked refrigerator while buying water from the kiosk
And automatically put yourself in the “humiliated and embarrassed” group. Because a real local knows that a refrigerator outside a kiosk is always closed and the seller opens it for you once you say what you want and pay for it.
Ask to split the bill at a restaurant / bar
Ask to split the bill in Kiev and experience a wide range of awkward feelings. Chances are the waiter / woman will do it for you, although they won’t miss the chance to let you know it’s not normal here. If you still decide to experience this moment of humiliation, do it at the beginning, before placing an order. In the case of.
Forget about scrubbing sculptures in Kiev
If you see that the nose or shoe of that sculpture has a completely different color from the rest of the body, it means that we have rubbed it and wished it so many times, until the color changed from black to golden. Forget doing this if you want to embarrass yourself in front of the locals showing you around. Personally, I have already made so many wishes that I have forgotten what I wanted. But the main idea is to wish and hope, isn’t it?
Look for bus timetables
Get stranger glances from locals by looking for bus schedules in Kiev. Hear them laugh at you if you believe a bus will arrive on its schedule. And don’t you dare to think that the marshrutka (Kiev minibus) will leave on time. Only when it’s so full of people that you can hear their heartbeat.
Look for recycling bins in Kiev
First look for it in your rented apartment in Kiev, once after you have split your yogurt bottle into as many pieces as possible. Accept that there will only be one container for everything. Go out on the streets of Kiev, look over there. Ask the locals to embarrass him, or just accept it and get sad. There are a couple of organizations that accept paper, plastic or glass, but you will most likely have to stay in Kiev for a while, to collect enough yogurt bottles and drive them to some forgotten part of the city.
Don’t pass the money for a marshrutka ride from hand to hand
There are special rituals in public transport in Kiev, especially if you get on the marshrutka (minibus in Kiev). People who sit on their backs usually pass the money to the driver by giving it to a person who sits in front of them. So the same way they get the rest. It is very easy to humble oneself by deciding not to take part in this ritual. Especially if the marshrutka is full.
Forget about complaining about newly built residences
Anything new is built in Kiev turns into a scandal. New skyscrapers, hotels, office buildings, theaters. Everything is greeted with a protest. So, in order not to embarrass you, agree with the wayward locals, that this building is absolutely horrible.
But, as Dostoevksy said, “A bastard man can get used to everything”. So first we protest and then we learn to live with it. The same happened to the Mother of Motherland monument, the new theater in Podil and many other iconic buildings.
… And on the old Soviet paneled buildings
These in particular deserve to be grossed out, so make sure you don’t say how much you love these Soviet paneled buildings – we locals will probably think you’re crazy. Everyone here loves to complain about how cold and thin-walled those Soviet paneled buildings are.
You smile too much
If you want to get more attention and weird looks on your person, smile as much as possible. The locals, especially the older ones, are sure to look at you curiously. Smiling is not a very cultural thing, moreover, the locals in Kiev don’t smile much to show kindness, either because of the Iron Curtain period or for any other reason. Instead, take it all with a pinch of salt.
Collect the wallet dropped from the ground
Choose the wallet left in Kiev if you want not only to humiliate yourself, but to put yourself in a situation where your money can be stolen. Many travelers complain on Kiev travel forums about the dropped wallet scam in Kiev. You take the fallen wallet and then follow a man who dropped it, to return it to him, thinking you will do a good thing. Unfortunately, very often it turns into a scam, when a thief says you stole money from there and demands or takes your money instead. Do not pick up anything from the ground in Kiev, even if it is a crying baby.
Keep telling the locals how cheap Kiev is
He keeps saying that Kiev is so cheap you can buy everything here, even those locals you are talking to. It’s a good way not only to humiliate yourself, but to embarrass the locals as well. The devaluation of the currency in 2015 did nothing good for the Ukrainians. Although they will probably agree that Kiev is cheap for everyone … except Ukrainians.
Do not take off your backpack while on the subway
Are you on the Kiev metro and wondering how to humble yourself on a train? Just hop on a crowded subway train with your backpack and people will show you their lightning-fast appreciation and love, as you will occupy the limited standing space and block your way to the exit. There are even special cartoons on the subway, where the famous Ukrainian character Gus teaches you simple rules in the Kiev subway – taking off your backpack is one of them.
Stay on the left side of the escalator
We Kiev locals are always in a hurry somewhere. So, if you’re looking for ways to humble yourself in Kiev, be sure to stop us from rushing: stand on the left side of the elevator, where people usually get off, and block them. The embarrassment will come very soon: with the first passerby walking on you and mumbling something, or even hitting you.
Don’t clap your hands when the plane has landed
Clapping on a plane when it has landed is one of the oldest Ukrainian traditions. Don’t try to figure it out and don’t ask yourself why we do it. Just don’t embarrass yourself and make sure you clap.
Finally, it’s a nice way to congratulate yourself on landing in Awesome Kyiv – as awesome as you are!