So you skipped my advice on why you should never visit Kyiv and already on your way to here? Here is a list of ways to humiliate yourself in Kyiv and feel really embarrassed – have fun, but take it with a grain of salt!
Fail to know jokes about Kyiv mayor Vitaly Klitchko
Kyiv city mayor, Vitaly Klitchko, is not only a boxer. He’s a symbol of Kyiv, and simply a legend. Every public speech of Vitaly Klitchko turns into a joke or tons of memes. So make sure to ask who is Vitaly Klitchko to feel really ashamed and embarrassed.
Forget that Kyiv is a big village
Thinking that Kyiv is a millionaire city, and you might do whatever you want because you will never meet this person again, might result into many embarrassing situations. We call Kyiv a big village, as here you might meet anybody in a very surprising place or circumstances. The news is spread lighting fast here, especially bad news. It takes nothing not to keep a promise and be an asshole here, but in a couple of hours everybody will know about it.
Forget about Friday evening traffic
Not only you embarrass yourself by forgetting about Friday evening traffic in Kyiv, but you also risk missing your flight. On Friday evening, many locals leave the city and go to their dacha (house outside of Kyiv), which creates huge traffic jams. So make sure to remember about it, and plan your time ahead.
Ask for tap water in a restaurant
So you just asked for tap water in Kyiv restaurant? Feel yourself really embarrassed, if you find it in your bill, when instead of a tap water you get your 0,33 bottle for a cost of a beer. Tap water in Kyiv is not really drinkable, unless it’s filtered, or you really like the taste of chemicals. In some restaurants/cafes they might offer you filtered water for free, but that’s rather a rarity. If you did find a place where you got your free tap water, let me know, I look forward to write an article about it.
Skip Kyiv Perepichka for MacDonald’s
If you avoid to stay in a line to get Perepichka – one of the most famous Kyiv fast food, and go to local MacDonald’s, you’re already humiliated deep inside your heart and your stomach. Perepichka is not only a local hot dog, it’s a symbol of a city. And we, locals, respect our symbols, especially if they are represented by food.
Skip markets, if you want to buy stuff
Tell locals that markets in Kyiv suck, and get really humiliated. Locals in Kyiv believe that everything is better at the local markets (food is fresher, clothing is cheaper etc). A lot of fashionista you see are probably buying their stylish stuff at some Rynok at Troeshchyna or Lisova (famous local markets). Another local thing is weekly food fairs (yarmarka), when the farmers bring home made food to certain spots and sell it at much more affordable price than in a supermarket. A true Kyivite will never miss it out.
Search for bicycle tracks in Kyiv
Especially try to search in the downtown Podil, that is planned to be a paradise for cycling in Kyiv. I guarantee that you will find none, but you’ll enjoy locals laughing at you. If you dare to ride a bike in Kyiv, choose among cycling in a park, cycling on the feet of pedestrians or on the road for cars. Or walk your bike. Kyiv gives you many opportunities to humiliate yourself on a bike.
Ask if there’s gonna be snow in Kyiv in June
If you have chosen Kyiv for your summer vacation, but keep thinking that it’s gonna be a polar expedition, at least make sure not to say it out loud. We’ll make you feel really humiliated by our laughter or sarcastic jokes. Summers in Kyiv are really hot, and you might probably find the snow only in a refrigerator of your rented apartment. Talking about refrigerators…
Try to open a locked fridge while buying water from the kiosk
And automatically put yourself in the group of “humiliated and embarrassed”. Because a true local knows that a fridge outside of a kiosk is always locked, and the seller opens it for you once you say what you want and pay for it.
Ask to split the bill in a restaurant/cafe
Ask to split the bill in Kyiv, and experience a wide range of embarrassing feelings. Chances are, the waiter/ess might do it for you, though they will not miss a chance to let you know that it’s not a normal thing here. If you still decide to experience this moment of humiliation, do it on the beginning, before making an order. Just in case.
Forget to rub the sculptures in Kyiv
If you see that the nose or shoe of that sculpture has completely different color than the rest of the body, it means we rubbed it and made wishes so many times, till the color is changed from black to gold. Forget to do it if you want to embarrass yourself in front of locals who show you around. I personally made so many wishes already that I forgot what I wished for. But the main idea is to wish and hope, isn’t it?
Search for bus timetables
Get more strange looks from locals by searching for bus timetables in Kyiv. Hear them laughing at you, if you do believe a bus will come according to its schedule. And don’t you dare to think that marshrutka (Kyiv minibus) will depart on time. Only when it’s so full of people that you can hear their heartbeating.
Search for waste sorting bins in Kyiv
Firstly search for it inside your rented apartment in Kyiv, once after you divided your yogurt bottle into all the possible pieces. Accept that there will be just one bin for everything. Go out on the streets of Kyiv, search over there. Ask locals for it to get embarrassed, or simply accept it and get sad. There are a couple of organizations accepting paper, plastic or glass, but most probably you’ll have to stay in Kyiv for a while, to collect enough yogurt bottles and drive them into some godforsaken part of the city.
You do not pass money for a ride in marshrutka from hand to hand
There are special rituals in Kyiv public transport, especially if you hop on marshrutka (minibuses in Kyiv). People who sit on the back usually pass money to the driver by giving them to a person who sits in front of them. Then the same way they get their change. It’s very easy to humiliate yourself by deciding not to take part in this ritual. Especially if marshrutka is full.
Forget to complain about new built residences
Whatever new is constructed in Kyiv, it turns into a scandal. New skyscrapers, hotels, office buildings, theaters. Everything is greeted with a protest. So not to embarrass yourself, agree with the rebellious locals, that this building is absolutely awful.
But, as Dostoevksy said, “A man bastard can get used to everything”. So firstly we protest and then learn to live with it. Same happened to Mother of Motherland monument, new theater in Podil and many other iconic buildings.
…and about old Soviet panel buildings
These ones especially deserve to be disgusted, so make sure not to tell how much you love this Soviet panel buildings – we locals will probably think you’re crazy. Everybody here loves to complain how cold and thin-walled those soviet panel buildings are.
Smile way too much
If you want to bring more attention and weird looks to your persona, smile as much as possible. Locals, especially older ones, for sure will look on you with curiosity. Smile is not very cultural thing, what’s more, locals in Kyiv do not smile much to show politeness – either because of Iron Curtain period or any other reason. Instead, take everything with a pinch of salt.
Pick the dropped wallet from the ground
Pick the dropped wallet in Kyiv if you want not only to humiliate yourself, but to get in a situation, when your own money can be stolen. Many travelers complain on Kyiv travel forums about the dropped wallet scam in Kyiv. You pick up the dropped wallet and then follow a man who dropped it, to give it back to him, thinking you’re gonna make a good thing. Unfortunately, very often it turns into a scam, when a thief says that you stole the money from there and demands or takes your money instead. Don’t pick up anything from the ground in Kyiv, even if it is a crying baby.
Keep telling locals how cheap Kyiv is
Keep telling that Kyiv is so cheap that you can buy everything here, even those locals who you are talking to. That’s a good way not to only humiliate yourself, but to embarrass locals as well. The currency devaluation in 2015 did not bring anything good to Ukrainians. Though probably they will agree that Kyiv is cheap to everybody…except Ukrainians.
Do not take your backpack off while in the metro
Are you in Kyiv metro and wondering how to humiliate yourself on a train? Simply get on a packed metro train with your backpack on, and people will show you their appreciation and love lightning fast, as you will occupy the limited standing space and block their way to the exit. There are even special cartoons on the metro, where the famous Ukrainian character Gus is teaching you simple rules in Kyiv metro: taking your backpack off is one of them.
Stand on the left side of escalator
We, locals in Kyiv, are always hurrying somewhere. So if you are searching for certain ways to humiliate yourself in Kyiv, make sure you can stop us from hurrying: stand on the left side of elevator, where people are usually walking down, and block their way. The embarrassment will come very soon: with the first passer-by walking on you and mumbling something, or even hitting you.
Do not clap when the airplane has landed
Clapping on a plane when it has landed is on of the oldest Ukrainian traditions. Do not try to understand it and do not wonder why we do it. Simply do not embarrass yourself and make sure you’re clapping.
Finally, that’s a nice way to congratulate yourself on landing in Awesome Kyiv – as awesome as you are!