Posted by JoeCanuck on December 16, 2004 at 17:48:43:
In Reply to: Re: Men-In-Black checking receipts posted by Chas on December 15, 2004 at 14:17:50:
This summer, a friend and I had some trouble with the cops in Odessa, in the Arcadia area. If you've never been there, it is something to see...a bunch of huge, semi open air nightclubs, throngs of people, open past dawn. I can be a lot of fun. No matter how you dress, tourists will always stick out.
Some cops heard us speak english, (we weren't drunk or being rowdy), and asked for our passports. We had made photocopies of them. It wasn't good enough for them. They also wanted a copy of our immigration form. We didn't have that so they threatened to take us to the station. We said, "lets go then". This stopped them cold. If you go to the station, they lose whatever cut they were going to get. The let us go with a warning about carrying our immigration form.
The next time was also in Arcadia...(again, we weren't drunk or rowdy). We get pulled aside and asked for our passport and immigration slip. We hand them the copies. (We had both this time). This wasn't good enough either because they weren't notarised copies. They spent about 20 minutes searching us, asking us about drugs or weapons, going through our pockets and wallets, carefully handing any cash back over to us. After all this, one guy who spoke a little english said we'd have to go to the station. Again, we asked the way. After 3 steps, they stopped us, reminded us of the seriousness of our transgretions, and sent us on our way.
They are just looking for an easy payoff. If you don't feel like waiting them out, ask them if there is a fine for whatever they've accused you of, pay them no more than 50 grivna, (about 10 bucks), and you'll be fine.
Some more comments;
I agree....just use the green line, unless the red line is shorter. The exception is if you do have a whack of cash. I know some people who have been searched. They don't like grivna leaving the country.
ATm card is the way to go. I've only been to Kiev, Odessa and Kherson, but I've had no trouble getting cash.
Do learn the cyrillic alphabet. It will only take you a couple of days of practice while walking around and it'll be the best thing you do to make your life easier in Ukraine. A lot of strange looking words sound exactly like they do in english. It will also help with streetsigns.
Learn to say the numbers. You'll need this for anything you buy or barter for.
Be polite, and keep the noise down in public. If you're sitting in a quiet cafe, downing a few beer and loudly boasting of your conquests, it'll be noticed...and not kindly. You won't know who can understand english, and they won't give themselves away.
Don't use cabs. Any car can be a cab. The economy sucks and if you stick out your arm. It's the only place I know of in the world where anybody, (men, women, children), can safely get picked up in a car, anytime of the day or night. A taxi accross town can cost from $5-20. A car will cost you from $1-2. Again, you'll need the numbers because very few people speak english.
This has gone on much too long, I fear. Thanks.
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