Travel And See: With Love From Ukraine–CHRIS-VINCENT And Elsie in Kiev

11 min

This post will be updated regularly throughout our stay in Ukraine. We will be running these updates while on the move, sometimes drunk, from our mobile phones so spare us any typos 🙂

Chris-Vincent and Elsie

And It Has Started…
I promised Her Imperial Majesty that I will take her around the world. There are about 192 UN countries and which country to start our adventure has been a problem.
I wanted us to take a whole year out to travel around the world but because she is on a UK Spouse Residence permit, being out of the country for more than 180 days in a roll will give us an eventual headache. So we sat down and wrote all the 192 UN countries and cut them into pieces and put them in a bottle–to draw them like the National Lottery.
Her first pick earlier this month was Ukraine and today we are jetting off to Ukraine–nothing has really been planned except a hotel booking and our bank cards!
She has compiled a tall list of activities and places to see; which I have not even looked at! It’s her call so when we get there, she leads the path with her Google translator.
We intend to each month see two or more countries, experience other cultures, meet new folks and test our ideas and perceptions.
If you are anywhere in the world and would love to host us; let me know and I will holla when your country is selected!
Eventually, we will all die: what is most valuable is what you will take with you to the grave–which is the memories you will build while alive!
BTW; my bag is the small one and the big one is for “Opana”! You know women and plenty packing!
#First Day in Ukraine: Travel and See Ampa!
Our first lunch

We have landed at Kiev, Ukraine and have managed to make our way to the Resort where we will be staying.
We did what I mostly call stupid when I see it being done in movies.
When we got to the arrival hall, we were approached by several taxi drivers–all offering to take us to our destination.
We can’t speak a word of the language here and they can’t speak English too. We almost agreed to pay 40 pounds to one of the taxi drivers when a black guy with an American accent walked to us and said they are ripping us off, it should cost just about 10 pounds and if we have Uber, we should use it as it works here!
I went straight for my phone to get Uber, forgetting that I have not set up my roaming yet and needed to buy a data bundle for it.
While trying to buy a data bundle, one of the taxi drivers came to us and said he will charge 15 pounds–it was going to cost me 5 pounds to buy 40MB roaming data to get Uber so we decided to go with him.
We jumped into this stranger’s car which had no tax inscription or whatever. Then I remembered the movie; TAKEN, as he started making so many calls and having conversations in the Ukrainian language.
We didn’t know our bearings, where this guy was taking us, he couldn’t really put more than two words of English together and we just sat while he drove us to wherever.
What if he is not a taxi driver? I was a little scared but it was also thrilling–being completely lost in a country with regard to language and bearings make you value familiarity.
My first observation of Kiev; the city has so many greens–and tall buildings. You can see efforts have been put in place to keep the city green–and it’s clean.
We have arrived at your Hotel safely and the time here is 16:56-we are about go to the restaurant to try some Ukraine food and hit the SPA!
These are photos from our resort! A few Ghanaians here have contacted me via Facebook because of my initial post and they want to meet up!
We are up for such Meet Ups to have great conversations.
Our site seeing and activities will start tonight!
Already we have wrongly bought Sparkling water when what we wanted was Still Water–we don’t understand anything and Google Translator is not really helping us as we can’t even write what people say to find out what it means.
Our first ordered food is in; they look but I hope they taste nice too! I don’t know their currency so I am just buying things with my card without knowing how much it’s in pounds self!
Привіт друже!

#Interesting Update from Ukraine: Travel and See!

So we went to a huge grocery shop, called Awah in Kiev to get some drinks and snacks–as the drinks in our hotel room’s minibar come at a high price.
About 6 years ago, I learned a hard lesson in France not to take anything from a hotel’s mini bar that’s not complimentary–unless it’s absolutely necessary. They charged over 5 euros for a small bottle of water in a mini bar!
Now to our shock, they sell chicken feet ( I mean a pack of chicken feet) and packs of chicken heads at the supermarkets out here.
I have never seen this in the UK or any of the many countries I have visited. It seems chicken heads and feet are delicacies out here.
They are well packed too!
Another observation; we changed 100 pounds and we got about 3425 Ukrainian hryvnia. That’s a lot of money I believe, as the whole grocery shopping we made cost us 336–I even bought a SIM card with 2GB data for 60 Ukrainian hryvnia.
Hotels here are also cheap; our 5-star Resort and Spa including breakfast for two for 4 nights cost less than 300 pounds. In Ghana, Holiday Inn or Golden Tulip will cost around 300 pounds for just a night!
Apart from the black guy we saw at the Airport; we have not bumped into any person here yet–and English is scarce here. But the people are extensively lovely!

#Day2: Good Morning from Ukraine–The “Charger Wahala” and That Thing Called Food

My wife did all the packing for our trip and since this is her first travel out of the UK, she did not pack any of the many European power adapters I have.
On Mondays and Tuesdays, I do some bit of legal work at Kilic&Kilic Solicitors in London so I was fully occupied on these days and since we were to get to the airport at 6am on Wednesday, the wife was entrusted with the packing while I was at work at the Law Firm.
And she did not pack one travel valuable, the the power adapter which is needed to convert our UK plug pins to what’s used here.
So basically, I cannot charge my laptop or phones.
We went to the supermarket yesterday but I did not know at the time that this was not packed so I did not even look for a new one to buy.
I only realised that was missing when one of the advertisers of my blog, GhanaCelebrties.Com called me to make changes to an advert he is running with us and to renew it for another one month. That’s when I realised my laptop was dead and I could not charge it too!
Mostly, European hotels stock some of these converters which they lend to guests–but this time, they did not have any here.
Without any means of power, our phones began running low on battery power. I had to end an interesting Facebook Live conversation on “Tribe and Choosing a Life Partner” I was hosting last night because my phone was about to die on me.
Aside the ‘Charger Wahala,’ that thing called food we ate in the afternoon quickly vanished from our system–courtesy of our walk to the supermarket, where we got some bottles of wine, water, fruits and snacks.
Around 10pm last night, my wife went for a banana and then I saw her drinking water–a clear indication that she was hungry, just as I was.
I asked if she was hungry and she said Hell Yeah–but did not want that thing called food at the hotel’s restaurant, she wanted something spicy, a Chinese food preferably.
I found a few Chinese food restaurants online on Google but could not place any order for delivery because I couldn’t speak the language and they couldn’t hear me whenever I called.
I decided to try UberEATS and guess what; it is not in Ukraine yet.
Have you ever felt rich and yet broke? We had money on us but because of the language barrier, we couldn’t buy what we want to eat. We want to try different foods but we want to do so knowing that we it comes to proper hunger, we can find something we like to eat.
Using the little phone battery I had, I kept surfing the net and found a website that allows orders online and it was in English. The relief alone was enough to knock out the hunger.
I managed to place an order and added the hotel’s address with my room number. Eventually, the telephone in our room rang, the delivery man had arrived at the reception with our Chinese food.
When I was ordering the food, there was an option for an operator to call me back and verify my order–I ticked No. Call and speak which language? Na lie! Don’t come and cancel my order with any call back, I said to myself.
The food came and they were packed in some of those roadside Chinese takeaway paper boxes; wasn’t spicy as I couldn’t add an instruction for that–and didn’t taste anything like the Chinese we are used to.
My wife couldn’t eat much but I destroyed it all, had some more wine and then went to sleep!
This morning, we intend to do justice to their breakfast which is included in our booking (hope they serve something we know and cooked, and not some damn cereal and tea).
After breakfast, we intend to go and buy a power converter and then come and swim a bit before fetching Uber to start our sightseeing based on a list compiled by my wife.
Let me add that; it was funny when we went to the supermarket, Awah, yesterday. We wanted to buy a local sim card and wanted to find how much data we get with the sim or how we can buy data on the sim.
And no one could understand us so they kept speaking Russian to us. Eventually, one managed to say WAIT and went for the telephone, calling a worker who I believe is like their best English speaker. He took long to come but he was like a saviour–he spoke some bit of decent English and explained that the sim comes with 2GB internet.
I am yet to put that in my travel phone to establish if it really is so.
When you live in your comfort zone where everyone understands you, you never experience the challenges of communication and the beauty embedded in the difficulty found in attempting to communicate with people who cannot make full sentence of your language and you, of theirs.
We don’t even know when someone is ripping us off but there’s a thrill in vulnerability.


Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, Founding Editor
Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri is the Founding Editor of GhanaCelebrities.Com and AfricaCelebrities.Com a Film Critic and a Human Rights Advocate; he holds 2 masters degrees in Law; International Human Rights Law (LL.M) and Legal Practice Course (LL.M) from University of Leicester and Nottingham Law School--and also a degree in Law (LL.B) from University of East London. He's a Professional Truth Sayer and he is the author of the popular eBook “Success is a Right, Not A Privilege.” He currently works at Adukus Solicitors in London--where he uses his legal brains to kick real ass, for the good of clients and humanity. Contact: [email protected]