By and large, Ukraine is a cash based society.
Okay, so that’s a bit of a misrepresentation. Of course, you can pay for things with credit cards, but Lordy! the wonderful discounts you receive when you pay with cash – you’d be stupid not to. And Eftpos doesn’t exist.
Additionally, all services and deliveries have to be paid for with cash. So, for example, when a plumber visits your house in Australia, they send you the bill with two-week payment terms, and you pay it in four… you know the deal (or is that just me..?)
Here, you have to pay the plumber there and then, on the spot, with cash only. No cheques. No clack-clack credit card readers. No billing. Just cash.
One of the biggest drags of Kyiv life is waiting around for my water to be delivered. Because I don’t understand Russian all that well, I can order the big 20L bottles over the phone, but I can rarely understand the person on the phone when they tell me what time they will be delivered.
And so I wait. And sometimes, I wait and wait. And sometimes, I can’t be bothered waiting and I just go out and hope they’ll leave the water by the door (which they never do). And then I have to re-order and start the whole cycle again.
Today, I ordered the water and asked for it to be delivered ‘utrom’ – which means morning. The water has just now been delivered – at 5:20pm.
So I’ve been in the apartment all day. Which sounds like a bad thing, but on the upside, at least I got to catch up on some blog reading! (Commenting is another thing altogether.)
One blog I was reading with interest was The Pioneer Woman. She’s currently publishing a serial about how she met her husband, Marlboro Man, and the comments on her latest installment were hilarious. There was the slightest hint of a suggestion at the end of her recent post that she, at the age of 25, may have gone back to her presumably similar-aged boyfriends place late at night.
The comments, needless to say, were interesting – ranging from “I’ve gotta go have sex with my husband after reading that” (honestly? I don’t need to know that!) to “I/my teenagers can’t read this blog anymore because it’s becoming too steamy” (give me a break. You think you’re teenagers are sweet and innocent? They’re not. And if they are, they still know what sex is. And if they don’t, they’re going to be rather fucked up when they grow up!).
Now, I find the American approach to sex quite interesting. I have heard stories from other expats here who have gone on ‘Girls’ Nights Out’ over the years, mostly with Americans, and the conversation is inevitably dominated by sex, e.g. when they like to have sex, how they like to have sex, or how stuffed their husband’s budgie smugglers are, etc.
For me, that goes in the ‘too much irrelevant and gross information’ basket.
And yet (and any of my American women readers out there, feel free to set me straight!), I can’t help but think that some American women are overdescriptive about their sex lives to make up for the fact that sex is a taboo subject – physically, metaphorically, conversationally – throughout their youth, up to marriage.
On a different subject that you can draw the same conclusion from, I formulated a theory when I was travelling around Thailand: the reason Americans and some Canadians go crazy on the drink and fall sick in the gutter by 9pm is because they are deprived of legal consumption of alcohol until they are 21. They don’t have a culture of learning to drink responsibly. (Nor do Australians for that matter, but at least by the time we’re 21, our tolerance to alcohol has grown enough that we can at least make it through the night in a conscious state).
Anyhow, what point am I making other than useless rambling? I guess nothing, except I don’t like it when people go over the top trying to be ‘holy’ – they just end up lording it over the rest of the world (which is un-Christian, I will point out). This world is full of everything, and as humans we have to learn to cope with everything the world may present us…
And in the words of Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada: