Impressions of Kyiv
An airport better described as air “field” with militaristic concrete walls surrounding. Scrubby, marshy grass like the edge of Dava moor. Crisp, cold, thin air; crisp, cold, thin light; like home.
From plane to hotel stacked with stereotypes. Passport girls in military green, gleaming brass and improbably short skirts. Think 60’s James Bond. Long, straight, trophy road to the city. Impossibly massive small truck loaded with cabbages. Billboards pushing that aspirational accessory for rich, Western lifestyles: cigarettes; Marlboro, Chesterfield, etc.
Outskirts pocked with tenement blocks. Traffic.
Beautiful buildings; some shells, some renovated beyond soul. A late nineteenth century ambience. A post-Soviet joy. History.
The Rules of the Road for Eastern Europe
· Remember always that the “rules” are better understood as loosely held conventions not to get in the way of your objective.
· Drive on the right…unless that side is busy then cross to the left as appropriate. Ignore oncoming traffic; assertive is all.
· It is useful to have pedestrians raised 4-5” above the carriageway but do not let this impede the sensible use of pavements as either alternative parking or as alternative carriageway as required.
· Do not stop at junctions providing:
o You have a large vehicle,
o You are driving very fast, or
o You are feeling assertive (see two above).
· Take right hand junctions wide. Ignore oncoming traffic as above.
· Take left hand junctions short. It is acceptable for four vehicles to approach a single carriageway in parallel.
· The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, or maybe a wavy line if slower vehicles are in the way. Adopt this approach and disregard traffic which is behind or beside you regardless of speed, size or assertiveness. Roundabouts are best viewed as random traffic distributors.
· The faster you drive, the more you glide across holes in the road.