Kharkiv was a destination created from my online chat with an agency purporting to have eligible ladies wanting to meet me. Even now, I am not 100% sure it is a scam, although I am sure something was going on and the ladies are probably in on it for a free lunch (or dinner). Gullible American men were the target of the dating agency, and I was pleased to have avoided being taken in, with no options. One of the agency services was to pick you up and transport you around - not good if things were a scam because you’d be left in the lurch.
In my case, my meticulous planning and security mindedness meant I’d found a lady on a forum website and employed her as a guide and translator, who also offered me an apartment, all for a really good price.
So, the plan was to meet at least three of the ladies with whom I had been writing (allegedly) via the agency. With the help of my guide and her husband, I would also get some site seeing in as well, including the metro.
I had arranged to go to the office and took my guide with me. At the door Sergey discussed with my guide the procedure and told her to go away!
I paid for one meeting with one of the ladies. She was supposed to be a Nurse. The agency take care of everything including attending the dinner at a restaurant of their choice, which luckily was just up the street - I made it clear walking was out of the question. My guide had parked down the road, waiting for me to call for pick up.
The lady seemed nice, but slightly more rotund than her photo. She wore a very nice coat, but I think it’s fur was not fake if you get my drift. She also seemed not to have much awareness of anything that we had been chatting about. I’d got a small sample bottle of her “favourite” perfume, but when she opened the gift it appeared as if she had no idea why I’d given it.
All the while, translation was via the 3rd party. We had a pretty nice meal and it wasn’t too expensive. The evening ended with her giving me the brush off about meeting again or chatting online.
After that episode, I decided not to proceed with the second date, although this lady had been allegedly the keener of the two and even at the end, I still could not confirm this was a scam agency although there were some dodgy dealings, they had followed through and I’d met a lady who looked similar to the photo.
Whether she was just a stooge who got paid to go on dinner dates with gullible American men, myself being the exception, or it was genuine, we’ll never know for sure. There were some more dodgy websites according to the forum I’d joined. No one could confirm or deny my agency and to this day it still runs.
One of the ladies that my guide introduced was a school teacher. Neither of us knew anything about each other as this was a last minute choice, and she did not speak any English!
My guide stayed with us and translated - unfortunately there wasn't a spark from either side.
Later, we did go to the aquarium (sea life) and watched the show.
This statue was in the small courtyard of the restaurant where I met one of the two ladies that my guide had chosen at the last minute, because that had not been planned.
The statue appealed to my sense of humour, although neither lady or guide could see what I was laughing at.
Maybe lost in translation or just my humour?
The city was full of arty stuff, very cosmopolitan and Western by Russian standards. Ukraine was attempting to move away from the old Soviet Model of drab and dreary.
The public spaces were very well maintained and clean, I presumed that people took pride in their city and care extended to keeping things clean and tidy.
Not sure what this was!
"The second introduction was to a lady who clearly was desperately seeking a foreigner and was very nice but did not have the spark"
The first one had no spark attached and in any case she decided not to go ahead. We had a good evening though, and were chaperoned by my guide who did the translating too.
The second introduction was to a lady who clearly was desperately seeking a foreigner and was very nice but did not have the spark. What I thought was a lunch date turned into a full day of site seeing (the local dolphinarium) followed by a walk in the park, and dinner at the same restaurant as the one that I took my guide and husband to at the end of my stay. I have to say the food was delicious and reasonably priced. Probably around 9-10pm we dropped her off at the bus station and that was that.
At some point in the week I got bored and decided to go walk about, alone. This was caused by my guide and husband coming for me towards the afternoon and I would return evening time. The morning was wasted as far as being in the Ukraine, yet I had no transport and the apartment was a distance from the centre. Having done the metro I had a rough idea and confirmed the number of stops by using the internet. I knew the station was close because we drove by it every day. I hadn’t taken into account the distance on foot and the time it takes to walk. It wasn’t cold but if you’re out for a while it goes right through you.
I’d had a really good time although the dream of an eastern European lady was not to be. I went home with fond memories planning my next trip.
So, usually me and my guide get to do stuff like eat and visit the sites while hubby stays in the car waiting. The last day I said I wasn't happy that he sat there in the cold, so I suggested he should come in with us. It was my treat for the way they took care of me, in appreciation of keeping me safe too. (I got a bollocking for going on my little trip alone). I’d had a really good time although the dream of an eastern European lady was not to be. I went home with fond memories planning my next trip.