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Kiev

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Hymn of Kiev Kiev photos Ukrainian Songs on Youtube Russian Oldies on Youtube History  Humor Etc

Kiev is one of the most beautiful European cities.  It has several interesting landmarks, good food and reasonably rich cultural life (several theaters, opera house, Classic music concert hall (called "Philharmonic"), etc).  Flights from USA include non-stop flights by a couple of Ukrainian airlines from NY (JFK) and Newark. Using German Lufthansa (with change in Frankfurt; it's a big airport -- you need at least 2h between flights) airlines is also a possibility.

Group tours are very comfortable and usually well served. As for individual tour, unless you hire interpreter, you need to know the language to benefit most (and save some money). If you limit yourself to major sightseeing sites you will be OK without interpreter on individual tour too.

Subway station announcements include an English version too, so traveling subway without knowing the language is easier.

Ukraine cell phone providers are mainly GSM and you need a  four bands GSM phone to use a SIM card from a Ukrainian providers. SIM cards are very cheap ($2-$3) and local phone calls are very cheap too. One of the leading UA Internet provider Kievstar (www.kyevstar.ua) has  unlimited Internet access service via 2G for  2.5GR per day. Internet is available on 2G bands, but you need to pay extra for 3G bands (and they are different then in the USA), usually using a second SIM card and a different provider. 3G access is more expensive and charged by kilobyte (0.05 per kilobyte or 50GR per megabyte). G3 enabled tablets such as A3000-H with 3G works OK(around 1900 GR in Eldorado and Foxtrot). You can buy internet modem  (540 GR) and get service from UkrTeleCom for 50 GR a month. 

Free for customers WI-FI is available in most cafés and many fast food restraurants including all McDonalds.  

There are well-connected Internet computers in most post offices with per hour payments ($1.5 dollar per hour). There is also a large and well equipped Internet game enthusiasts club in the underground mall at Bessarabka square (on crossing of  Khreshchatyk  street  and Taras Shevchenko boulevard  streets, 300 yards from "Khreshchatyk" subway station).

Ii is located on lowest floor of the mall under the square and the best way to get to it is to enter subway from the Khreshchatyk  street entrance. Ten yards from the entrance down the underground mall you will see stairway down and that's where it is. The cost is $2 per pour ($7 for 5 hours and $100 for unlimited access for a month). The computers (over 50, I think) are pretty modern, displays are widescreen 19" and Internet speed is very good. They allow to put your own USB sticks. There are usually several English speaking foreigners as customers at any given time, so you might be able to get some help from them. Computers has local bookmarks which are helpful (see also  Kiev shopping ).

Price of electronics is usually 20% higher then in the USA but the reasonably recent models are usually available, some with better parameters then in the USA (for example, in September 20313 I was able to buy Lenovo A3000-H with  3G, which is unavailable in the USA other then via eBay). You can also buy a basic unlocked GSM phone, chargers mice, etc, if you forgot one. Some Chinese smartphones are also available for the price of less then $150. You can buy good unlocked smartphone for around 2000 GR with 5.3" or larger screen. They usually carry one year warranty. If you need to buy some electronic gadget, then  Eldorado or Foxtrot are probably the best first stops; in central locations some sales personnel usually speaks some English).

Here is hymn of Kiev (a very beautiful song also called Kiev Waltz):

See also Classic Ukrainian Songs on Youtube

Softpanorama originally was a bulletin for the monthly Kiev computer specialists meeting.


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[Mar 03, 2012] Тамара Миансарова

[Jun 14, 2009]  Some Kiev photos on the Web

[Jan 9, 2008] For Redress of Grievances, Mexicans Turn to Bureaucracy Contest

January 09, 2009 | NYT

While I was living in Ukraine back in the early 1990s, I adopted a flea-ridden, one-eyed street kitten which I aptly named She Devil. Together, we thoroughly enjoyed my last years of bachelorhood. But, with my upcoming marriage to a nice girl with bad cat allergies, it became necessary to find She Devil a new home.

Given the general economic situation in Ukraine at the time (in stark contrast to the quality of life that the cat enjoyed in my ex-pat apartment), I decided that it would be best for She Devil to live with my parents in Maine, where my mother is the neighbourhood `cat woman.� Now for the fun part: how do you get a cat from Ukraine to Maine?

At the time, exporting a cat from Ukraine involved the acquisition of a number of certificates which, together, would constitute a valid pet passport. The first of these certificates was a document from a registered veterinarian which certified that She Devil had received all of the necessary immunizations (distemper, rabies, etc.) required under Ukrainian Law. At the time, Ukraine was undergoing a wrenching economic crisis � hyperinflation, power blackouts, political unrest: the chance of finding a veterinarian who had any vaccines was nil. However, after consultation with a local veterinarian and the exchange of some hard currency (the local currency was trading at tens of thousands to the dollar at the time), a certificate was produced bearing stamps certifying that She Devil had been vaccinated against every known antigen known to catkind.

Next, I required a certificate from National Cat Club (called �FAUNA�) that would confirm that my lowborn street cat was �not a rare breed or of national scientific significance.� With the customary manual transfer of some more hard currency (and no physical presentation of She Devil to anyone), a FAUNA certificate was produced certifying She Devil�s lowly status as a �Common Street Cat.� Under the certificate�s section entitled Distinguishing Physical Characteristics, it was duly noted: �Black Fur. Absence of a Left Eye.�

With these certificates taped on to her travelling case and several copies of the same in my hand, I travelled with She Devil to Borispol Airport in Kiev to begin the final exit procedure: the issuing of the �Live Animal Export Certificate� from the Ministry of Agriculture, which must be issued within 120 minutes of the said live animal�s departure from Ukraine. When I arrived at the airport with She Devil, I asked an official for the location of the Ministry of Agriculture Live Animal Export Certificate Issuing Office. She exclaimed: �Room 222 � it�s open �round the clock!�� as if I would be amazed by the constant stream of live animals making their way out of Ukraine on a daily basis.

I made my way up to Room 222 with She Devil (who was now in a considerable state of distress, despite having been administered what my local vet assured me was a �cat tranquilizer�) and knocked on the door. No answer. I knocked harder. There was a muffled response from inside and a dishevelled officer of the Ministry of Agriculture cracked open the door. I had clearly awakened him. Perhaps the 24-7 nature of the business of live animal export in Ukraine was not an exaggeration after all.

The Ministry of Agriculture official motioned me into his office and asked me to take a seat. I handed over copies of my certificates and gestured toward the originals taped on to She Devil�s carrying case. The cat was howling as only cats do in this kind of situation. The official sat down behind his desk and began to inspect the documentation, muttering �hmms� and �eh-hems� as reviewed the myriad stamps and testimonials. When he completed his review of the documents, he looked up at me and said gruffly: �I can�t let your puppy go.�

Already accustomed to the surreal nature of dealing with Ukrainian government officials, I played along. �Please sir, what documentation is my �puppy� lacking? Perhaps I might have brought it along with me and forgot to give it to you.�

He responded matter-of-factly: �The green certificate.�

�The green certificate?� I asked. �I don�t know if I am exactly familiar with the `green certificate,� but I might have seen it together with my other documents. Does this `green certificate� have a picture of US President Jackson on it?�

�Exactly. That�s the one I am looking for.� I produced the necessary `green certificate� which he hastily put in pocket. He immediately produced a Ministry of Agriculture Live Animal Export Certificate, which he then promptly stamped, signed and handed back to me saying: �Your pet passport is complete. I hope you and your cat have a nice trip.�

— Tom Kearney, London, UK

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