The other night I was treated to my third Ukrainian robbery. Although this third time wasn’t perfect, it was certainly more pleasant than the previous two. My first time was enjoyed in a bar, or in the road, I’m not sure which. I was awake in a bar, then the next time I was awake I was lying in the road having been relieved of all my possessions. I assume the robbers were the two nice men I met in the supermarket who took me to the bar. We had one drink and a friendly chat then I woke up in the road. I was delighted to find my organs and my anus intact. The second time a young man confiscated my possessions in a bar in Kiev with the help of a knife.
The third robbery consisted of a stealthy snatch and run job on my jacket when I wasn’t looking. Weapons and drugs were not involved and this was certainly an improvement. The setting was also superior; a boat in Odessa is apparently a more pleasant venue for a robbery than a bar in Kiev or a road. On paper, that is.
With a couple of friends I had embarked on an all inclusive party boat trip. Looking back, things could have turned out much worse. The other revellers were such remarkably brutal creatures that a sneaky robbery was the last thing I expected. Most of our shipmates were huge men in tracksuits or pink shirts and pink shorts. One of them was wearing a balaclava. They stood in the middle of the boat and jumped all night. It was a truly menacing affair.
There were a few girls on board but they were even more unpleasant than the smell of the man in the balaclava. They had seized a large quantity of the communal nibbles as soon as they boarded the boat. Although the nibbles were in theory unlimited, they ran out within an hour. Big men are big eaters. This was not a shame because the food was undesirable even according to my low standards. Chunks of bald cheese, greying meat and crusts speared on cocktail sticks. This group of girls evidently agreed for they left the trays of food they had horded untouched. They wouldn’t let anybody else touch them either. They didn’t even dance, afraid to leave the food they didn’t even want unguarded. Polite requests for something to eat were flatly rejected. Nimble attempts to snatch a snack were entertaining but unsuccessful. So it was back to the most threatening dance floor I have experienced since the Litten Tree closed in Aylesbury.
My distress at having my jacket stolen was the smetana on the borshch of a very bad night but don’t get me wrong, I still love Ukraine. The towns are spectacular, the people are fine, sometimes better and most importantly, you only get robbed from time to time.