I never really knew what to expect from Kiev. I definitely didn’t anticipate it to be full of sex tourists and I really didn’t think that my hostel would be crawling with them. But turns out, Kiev sex tourism is a thing!
My first clue was a large sign at the hostel reception in ‘Ghostbusters’ logo style. The apparition was replaced with a cartoon of a desperate looking man, tongue lolling out, his hands reaching forward in a grabby motion. Just to confirm his status he had ‘sex tourist’ written on his forehead, a dead giveaway.
I wondered whether on arrival a Kiev sex tourist would see the sign, realise his mistake and dutifully turn on his heel. After meeting several guests I realised this was not the case.
My first introduction to Kiev sex tourism
As you wander round the city you notice here and there the ‘Bangkok syndrome’. That is to say that older guy (50+) walking arm in arm with a very young, very beautiful girl. At night the frequency of these couples increases substantially, especially around the main square.
Meanwhile back at the hostel I was privy to this quite open conversation between two amorous older gentlemen; they were discussing ‘tactics’.
Sex Tourist One: “You see on the first night I keep it to flirting, maybe some heavy petting” (this word made me shudder and strangely, think of swimming pools)
Sex Tourist Two: ”Yeah you don’t want to go too full on”
Sex Tourist One: “Agreed, then night two is all about increased romance and then sex”
Sex Tourist Two “Which is always the ultimate goal I guess, is there anything different on night three?”
Number one paused to consider this for a while and then replied:
“Love I guess, yep love, for as long as it lasts anyway.”
Number two nodded in approval.
What? Three days and love, these chaps didn’t mess around. As he regaled further tales it appeared this man was ‘in love’ with several ladies at the same time, a true modern day King Solomon. With added cash incentive for the ladies of course. Later, the very racist sexist hostel owner (also 50+) confided in me how sad he thought the situation, I agreed.
Kiev itself is a fascinating place and really quite beautiful. It’s littered with gold topped churches with large pockets of green. The architecture is a mix of Soviet monumentalism (all very impressive in a Communist kind of way) and Turn-of-the-20th-century stuff. They even have a natural river beach which is dotted with Ukrainians on sunny days.
The criminal underworld is strikingly evident throughout the city. Large blacked out BMW’s and Mercedes rumble round the streets with a tinge of menace. Someone told me that sixty percent of all business in Kiev involves some sort of organised crime lurking underneath.
After four days I was done, although still wanting to experience more of the Soviet states. I wish I had more time to explore Belarus, Ukraine and Russia itself. As I bustled out of the hostel with my bags I bumped into the hostel owner, bidding him farewell. Politely I also said goodbye to his new friend, a very tall, very beautiful young lady, he seemed most happy.