Ukrainians on average are slimmer than Americans
There might be a lot of cars on the streets of Kharkiv city but most Ukrainians still use public transportation. I am noticing that I walk much more over here than I do back in the US. I love it and I hate it. I get tired at the end of the day but I feel it is good for my health and once I adjust to the new life style my overall condition should get to normal.
Girls dress up in style
Another thing that stands out compared to the US is how girls dress up out on the streets. They wear a kind of cloth Americans will only see at a party or a TV show. High heels and makeup is the norm even if you go grocery shopping. I find this especially appealing combined with the fact that girls here on average are skinnier than in the US.
As a side effect an average Ukrainian girl spends a much bigger share of her budget on dress than a girl in the US. This probably goes deep into cultural traditions and realities of last several decades of life under Soviet regime.
“Bargain hunting” and utility bills
I visited one of my friends last week and as we talked about life he complained about high costs associated with utilities. Then he went on explaining that many homeowners in Ukraine are not ashamed to steal from the government by tampering with electricity, water and gas meters. To prove his point he opened Yandex.ru, a search engine popular in Ukraine, and pulled out schematics and detailed descriptions showing how to do it. Then he confessed he himself is doing it as well.
Ukrainians are very welcoming and well natured people as it goes to personal relations. In fact it is a must for Ukrainians to bring a gift when you visit someone’s home and for the hosts to provide guests better accommodations than they have for themselves. However long years under Soviet regime left people with skewed understanding of what the purpose of government is and how it should work. Steal before the government steals from you is the norm, and according to what I hear, the Ukrainian government does live up to these expectations. :-(
Pirate music, movies and software openly for sale
Do you feel unsettled about continuing existence of services like AllOfMp3? Now grasp this. It is possible to buy pirate movies and music openly on the streets of Kharkiv at practically any subway station and street corner. The movies are packed in collections of up to 11 movies per DVD and sold for 20 Gryvnas ($4) a DVD. Music collections are mostly in MP3 format and have titles like “All of Pink Floid”, “All of Beatles”, etc. I have yet to see pirate software for sale but I was told it is just easily available.