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Airport Adventures: Kyiv Airport

by a traveller

I politely explained to her in Russian that there was a problem. She handed me the cleaning brush and soap.

"True, Kiev is horrible. But at least being able to sleep in the departure lounge means you have made it most of the way through the airport and stand a chance of getting out Ukraine.  Simferopol, Ukraine in the Crimea, has it beat as a hell hole. After a week with the Russian girlfriend on the beach in Gurzuf (near Yalta) no fewer than four Customs "officials" tried for bribes while I out processed the airport. I feigned ignorance at their requests, smiled and pointed to my visa. That finally was annoying enough for me to get through. The restroom was literally a hole in the ground, similar to what you find in Korea. And it was still filthy. There was a babushka with a cleaning cart outside. I politely explained to her in Russian that there was a problem. She handed me the cleaning brush and soap, then asked for "twenty American dollars".  The Shamu-like greeter from the Hotel Yalta will elbow her way ahead of you with her charges claiming "diplomatic reasons" for getting her beleaguered charges through customs ahead of you. Stand your ground. The best thing about Simferopol Airport is walking across the tarmac on the way out. At least in Kiev they play really cool, horrible Russian pop music on the terror trip shuttle bus ride from the plane to the airport. Watch out for the customs declaration. The ads for cell phone companies make you think it's just an advert. Read the small print, it's actually an official form."

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