Two days in Dnipropetrovsk Ukraine

Submitted 5 years 9 months ago by Aleksey.

People are a little friendlier than in Kiev, where they're polite but leave in a flash with no time for you. And when they are at work, they will speak to you. The floor managers at the hotel are these women in their 30s who are always really attractive. I was ashamed to have them come into my room and clean it. Grim project houses tower over the forest, and even grimmer factory structures loom behind them. It's more like a neglected version of Gotham City.

The Dnieper River is much wider here than in Kiev, and the riverside walk stretches for miles. Unlike in Kiev, where only a few people walk and the majority of people run, here there are large crowds strolling leisurely along the river, relaxing on the grass with hookah pipes and eating and shopping in shops and cafes selling a variety of goods.

And it's Tuesday night, but it feels like July 4th.

Today I went downtown Dnipro and did an experiment involving perception. I tried to imagine that I was in the US. I looked around and tried to see where this place would be if it in fact were the US. For a while it worked, but then it all became a twilight zone.

This is a run-down rust belt town in Michigan or Ohio. The same trees and project buildings. Old buildings and pot holes in the roads. Nice and green, though. A big river runs through town. The illusion held for a while. Then, it all became bizarre.

There are not many cars, and the sidewalks are full of people- just like in the US 100 + years ago. They are strolling happily. The people are all almost all white and light haired, well dressed, lots of girls everywhere- blondes in minis and dresses like they are all going to the prom. Some are so white, they are almost translucent and the skin is almost bluish. There are lots and lots of stores and stalls. People are selling gooseberry- yes- gooseberry on the street and also, they are selling sunflower seeds. Weird.

Did not see any Asian people here. Not one yet. Met some Turks who spoke unaccented Russian. And quite a few Black Africans speaking French. Saw Ukrainians with Africans walking hand in hand -girls mostly- and then a UA girl with two African guys.

According to what I've read about Black people in Dnipro, when they first arrived here about 15 years ago, the initial reaction was fear and animosity, but they resolved it by acting as local as possible. They're doing well now, and everybody seems to be content and relaxed.

From an American perspective, the location is strange.