Ukraine, May 24, 1999
Kyiv ain't all that
|Yep, Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, and home to two (2) million
people, is a provincial city! I had my suspicions, and once or twice, I mentioned
it, but last night clinched the whole concept for me. Last night I went on
a tour of the city's bars and clubs, and the shock (or is that a hangover?)
is still with me this morning!
Maybe it is unfair, and maybe it is uncultured, and I know it is detrimental to my health, but I judge a city these days, not by the grand cathedrals, not by the massive museums, and not by the beaches, all criteria I've used in the past. No, these days I judge by their nocturnal and subterranean efforts. Yes, Mom and Dad, this criteria will change one day too, so don't worry, though for now I'm going with it!
So there I was, leaning out on my balcony, waiting for a friend of mine to show. Below me, the city was teeming with kids. Teenyboppers running around, as teens all over the world do, while a huge outdoor concert played, literally, next to my building. One of these days, Russians are gonna learn that volume does not equally quality, that shitty music does not get better when you blow the speakers out trying to wake the dead! Oops, I digress.
Pete and I rolled out of the apartment, beers in hand, looking for some action. The first place we went, Eric's Bar, was great! Good people chilling in one of the better basement bars I've gone to. We hung there for a bit, getting our bearing and seeing what was happening that night. There is a very popular club called Al Capone's, that I wanted to see, but Pete was there the two previous nights and wanted a change.
With that directive, we headed out into the warm night air for Kyiv's premiere gay club: Big Boy's. Yes, the name was all so promising, and it completely failed to deliver anything more than a crappy provincial Dom Kultura! In a state of shock, I was uncontrollably and repetitively blabbering "That was it!?," we went for Ultra, the top billed dance club. Well, we tried anyway. It was closed for "remont," the ubiquitous Russian term for "We don't have a clue why it's closed." Under pressure to save something of the night, we grabbed a taxi and headed for Al Capone's.
When we wander up the stairs to the club, I was relived to see that at least its open and it had more than one flashing strobe light. It had two, and the black (UV) lights don't count. The bar was all right, and there were pool tables, but overall, I was way underimpressed, again. I kept asking Pete were the rest of the club was until he too, was saying, "This is it!" Actually, it was more like "Dammit Wayan, this is it!"
This is it. There isn't much to the city, as far as I can tell. I've been to most of the museums, seen the opera, walked past all the major edifices, and been to the beach till I'm toasty brown, I'm not sure what else to do here. It might actually be time for me to leave! Although I am on vacation, I still feel as if I must accomplish tasks, and for Kyiv, I've done them all! Sometime them all.