Svetlana Wants To Meet

This summer I was sitting with a friend on a nice terrace in the city center of L'viv, Urkraine (I marked it on Google Maps, for your interest). The terrace was overlooking the city's promenade where the local folk - i.e. the well-known Ukrainian girls - were gallivanting, hoping to catch an eye, or for others to get invited by the elderly to play a game of cards on their bench. Time passed quickly, as you may believe. It was already evening so we tried to make up our minds on some nice dishes from the quite extensive menu. I settled on a fine Caesar salad and another cheap-ass pint. But then it happened. Just when my friend left the table to go to toilet a fine looking lady came to me and caught me off guard with Ukrainian gibberish. As it is quite common that people do not speak English in Ukraine, I thought the words "Sorry, English?" would suffice. However, to my surprise the lady responded in English asking what kind of salad I had?! A gander at her table after she went away was enough to understand the situation. There was a not-so-fine-looking British guy (obviously not generalizing) sitting at her table, making his way through several meals while she was making a bored impression the whole evening as the conversation between the two halted early on.

It seems quite common for western men to pick up their wives in Ukraine and Russia. There are websites dedicated for this exact purpose such as and including a nice estimate on the expenses to get one. We met an American guy who was staying in Ukraine for a couple of months already and expected to have a friend over from New York in the coming days. He showed us a 'business' card of the friend which outlined the friend's purpose of visit; he was coming over to find his wife. The card had a photo, his job, and his mission to find a wife written down on it. It is still guessing if this 'friend' and potential others are the actual agenda of the American for being in Ukraine.[....]

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