While walking about Kiev’s streets in the center of the city, this visitor was struck by the number of visual contrasts that could be seen. Soviet-era buildings are dwarfed by new high rise apartments. Construction is ongoing everywhere. Bustling traffic on cobblestone streets. Ancient electric streetcars filled with people talking on cell phones.
To the first time visitor Kiev seems to be rushing toward a modern but uncertain future while clinging to it’s cultural past. Some are somewhat superstitious: Don’t make any big plans today, there is a full eclipse of the sun in Australia. Never shake hands across a doorway threshold. If you bring flowers, be sure there is an odd number. Even numbers are for funerals.
Traffic is jammed everywhere. If it rains it’s gridlock. Cars are parked on sidewalks. One way and DO NOT ENTER signs seem only to be suggestions not rules. There are no parking meters or traffic police (at least not that this monkey saw). Driving seems to take a certain amount of courage not required in the United States.