Be careful about making friends at local pubs with young people who, after hearing you speak English, come up to you speaking decent English and saying, "Hi, bro! I love your country, your lifestyle", etc.
They might extend their hands to greet you, which is very weird for strangers here. Even if we see friends at a table in a pub, maximum what we would do is just to nod to greet them, to say nothing of intruding into their talk with their friends over dinner.
And, of course, do not disclose the cafe/bar customers where you are staying in Luhansk or leave your "potential friends" your local phone number.
They might plague you with their phone calls or unexpected visits afterwards like they did to my English friends who had come to Luhansk once.
After you "make friends" with those guys, they will come to see you at your apartment or wherever you are staying, bring vodka or/and girls with them or even offer you to make an orgy at your accomodation place.
Also, they might ask you to lend them some money (starting with $5 and finishing with $$$).
It's up to you how to behave...
If you have money to burn (as they think) and are not too proud or picky about your friends, you could do stupid things, but better avoid leeches and don't become a laughing stock.
I personally felt a very appalling negative aura of the guy who tried to "make friends" with an English friend of mine at one of the bars downtown... We were speaking over lunch and the guy apparently thought we were both foreigners. He left his table, came up to ours and started speaking English. He was shocked when I turned out to be a local... I merely asked the guy, in pure Russian, to let me speak to my friend...
Thanks to me, our foreign guest could leave the bar quite safe and with all his money and belongings... I could resist the "black magic" of the leech. I doubt if my English friend would resist the guy's "charm and friendliness". I think I could literally feel them on my skin...
I do remember the quote from my students' years: Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentis.
A rough translation would be “Whatever it is, I fear Greeks even when they bear gifts“. This is Laocoon’s line in The Aeneid when he tries to prevent the Trojans from accepting the Greeks’ gift of a huge wooden horse.
One day my American friend and I were sitting at a bar having beer. Soon another company from a neighboring table, hearing that we were speaking English, started inviting us over to their table.
My American friend was affable enough (or even too affable) to agree and we went over to their table. The guys spoke decent English and were quite friendly. I continued with my beer, but my friend had to start drinking vodka offered to him by the "new friends".
As a result we were invited to what the guys called "hare hunting" the next day. They would pick us up at a bar downtown.
Thank God my friend woke up the next day and was sober enough not to go to the appointed place of departure. Thus we did not become targets instead of hares and the local guys missed their fun...
Here's a tip for you:
No matter what, it is NOT customary here at all to invite the customers from a neighboring or any other table to your table. It looks rather odd and is not practised at our cafes and restaurants at all.
If you come across something like that, be careful about your new "friends".
You don't even have to turn your head to answer any shouts or invitations from any table.
If the loud invitations persist and you are sober-minded enough, ask the security guys who will help you.
Look before you leap and don't plunge into any dark affair with fun-loving locals...
I’ve read this tip on VT and I am thankful to planxty for it.
I completely agree with it:
“A problem (not specific to London by any means) is "spiking" of drinks in bars / nightclubs.
By "spiking" I don't mean slipping extra vodka in an orange juice, but the use of seriously strong sedatives such as Rohypnol, with the victims then being taken somewhere and sexually assaulted. In some cases, the women are not even aware of what has happened until much later.
The advice is never to accept drinks from strangers unless you see them poured yourself by the bar staff, never leave your drink unattended and be careful.”
I must say spiking is not only to be seen in London, but also in Luhansk sometimes.
So I would like to reiterate,
“Never accept any drink from strangers in bars or nightclubs. It is simply not customary here. Watch the bar staff pour you your drink, although your glass could be “prepared” beforehand, thus making your observation useless. Just take precautions, otherwise the consequences might disappoint you…”
Forewarned is forewarmed.
Best wishes and have fun in Luhansk!
We do not have roads, only directions...
This is an old Russian saying that is still popular today...
Now there are not many pieces of roads or sidewalks paved a hundred years ago with cobble-stones.
They were all covered with asphalt in Soviet times...
All the streets of the city used to be paved a hundred years ago before the Bolsheviks seized the power and ordered to cover them with asphalt to turn over a new leaf....
You can see some remains of the old cobble-stones in some places in the streets of the Old Town now...
They say stray dogs are a big problem in the city.
Our mass media often calles Luhansk "A Stray Dogs City"...
There are dozens and dozens of them in every district of the city, especially inside the blocks.
So it can be a nuisance for you, if you're staying at an apartment somewhere in the eastern blocks.
According to the data of the City Sanitary Service, more than 1,500 city residents suffered from stray dogs in 2007, which means every six hours a stray dog bit a person.
Use the same common sense as you would in any big city.
A pack of hungry stray dogs can surround you and start barking at you, if they don't like something about you.
If you have no food to offer them, make an abrupt movement to lower your arm to the ground as if to grab a stone to throw at them. That will help or, on the contrary, drive them even wilder... You never know.
A barking dog does not bite?
Anyhow, a barking dog CAN bite after he/she is through with barking, you know...
Keep your eyes open please and do not find yourself among the victims of our stray dogs' anger.
Be careful while traveling in overcrowded municipal streetcars or buses. Beware of our deft pickpockets "working" there. They usually "work" in pairs and make wallets disappear like snowflakes on your warm hand...
Our roads and sidewalks tend to be dusty in dry weather and muddy in wet weather, especially in the Old Town, inside the blocks in all districts and in what we call "private sector" in Stone Ford District.
Be especially careful about the puddles: do not step into any of them, especially in rainy weather, for you never know what huge pot-hole awaits you inside the puddle...
The quality of roads and pavements leaves much to be desired.
A lot is being done about it every year, but at the same time a lot of roads and sidewalks seem totally neglected and can make you think you are a time traveler who has found himself somewhere at the beginning of the last century.
Please watch your step when walking at night. Stay in well-lit streets. A small flashlight would be a good idea.
Do not talk loudly and advertize you are a foreigner.
There are locals who only wish to make a foreigner a laughing stock or a cash cow, especially if they find out about the aim of his stay here...
If it's to meet young (Internet) ladies who call themselves "marriage-minded", you are done for. I mean you are regarded as a sex tourist by many people here and as a candidate for a good old laughing stock... Have fun then!
Please take a look at this interesting article of a VT member:
“Focus” magazine reports that as of April 2009, Luhansk has become the criminal capital of Ukraine.
Who could have thought!
The stubborn statistics lets us know further that the number of crimes in Luhansk per 10,000 people is 57 within the first four months of 2009.
Two more cities of Luhansk region are top five criminal cites of Ukraine:
(54 crimes per 10,000 people)
(46.9 crimes per 10,000 people).
Robberies (including armed bank robberies) and burglaries are among the most frequent crimes...
According to the data of police general Vladimir Guslavsly, a candidate for the post of the city mayor in 2011, there are 109 industrial enterprises in the city that discharge a lot of harmful substances into the environment.
The statistics says that within the first quarter of 2010 there were 83 kg of harmful substances for every resident of Luhansk.
You can often feel it by a specific smell.
We are also annoyed by the road dust, especially the one present in Defense Street on the tram line. There are clouds of dust there after a tram passes or a car drives along the tram line.
This is just a small example for you.
I wonder if you have ever seen such roads.
It's the worst asphalted road I have ever seen.
It's Kuybyshev Street connecting Artiom Street and Voykov Street in Stone Ford District in the north of Luhansk.
It is round the corner from the former Rodina leisure center not far from the bridge across tghe Luhanka.
I wonder how cars manage to drive up and down this street.
The city has a beach at the Seversky Donets - the river that divides Luhansk region into two parts.
Regrettably, bathing there has been prohibited by the City Sanitary Inspection since 1989.
The ban has never been lifted, although many of the factories located up the river have been closed, hence less waste has been directed into the river.
Do not forget to take a good shower after you risk to bathe in the Donets.
The current in the Seversky Donets is rather strong and the river itself is quite deep.
The beaches are not equipped with any facilities.
There are a lot of weeds with thorns.
So you have to rely on your experience, if anything.
Please be careful walking along the sidewalks located too close to buildings.
Who knows how reliable the roofs are!
For example, I found this roof of Ukraine hotel in Pushkin Street rather dangerous. The sidewalk is very close to the building.
You see, there are huge concrete pins that decorate the roof and are located at its corners. I am afraid they are a source of danger. Some of them have been preserved by a special metal case, but other have not. Who knows when they fall after/during another strong wind.
The same concerns other buildings and sidewalks that are too close to them.
Our legendary roads are a separate sad topic for conversation.
You will never go to sleep driving along the roads even if you are very tired.
As we say for a joke,
We do not have roads, only directions...
You only have to be careful crossing them or walking at the edge of the sidewalk. The numerous puddles at the road may cause you a lot of trouble, too.
Our careless "cowboy drivers" enjoying high speed may splash you with the puddles' water, which is not pleasant at all, I assure you, taking into account all the gas and oil that accumulated there...
Water from the city pipe-lines (unless a special tap filter is attached) has to be boiled at least one time before consuming.
As we say here, the tap water is only kind of raw material, you still have to work on it...
I would advise you, fellow travelers, to drink only mineral water during your stay in Luhansk. There is a big variety of mineral water sorts in the stores.
Other health risks: tuberculosis, HIV and sex-related diseases.
My only warning is stay away from the potential scammers before you arrive here. I mean the ones who are the marriage agencies... only a few trusted and honest ones out there. Take your time and you will find.