July Ukraine Tour – July 15, 2012
It is Sunday morning in Odessa. Everyone is pleased to have their first social “under their belt” and looking forward to a new city and social. After another breakfast chatting about Saturday night’s adventures, we board a comfortable bus for the two hour trip to Nikolaev. This is a smaller, but very interesting city on the Dneper river. It was built as a naval maintenance center and is known as the “city of brides” as the former Soviet Union imported young ladies to marry the men in the work force.
We arrive at the Hotel Continent, a smaller, but cozy hotel in the center of town. It is amusing because the outdoor café (which is a very popular “girl watching” spot) is directly across from McDonald’s. The locals love eating there as they view it as somewhat exotic.
It is now noon and there is enough time to have a bite in the hotel café, walk around a bit, then shower and dress for the social. It will be held at a hot new club across town called the Caprica. We board our bus and head out chatting away. When we arrive, there is already a line of ladies waiting to get in. We are permitted to enter at our convenience after clearing security. The girls must stop at a desk and register. Once we are admitted, it is very much like any nice club in America – a bit of a departure from the setting in Odessa. That is one of the benefits of visiting several cities. Every man has his preferences. The club environment appeals to some, while a social hall setting appeals to others.
The club rocks with lights and dance music. There are two levels, lots of lovely ladies and plenty of room to move around and meet them. One of the features of the socials is that each client submits a list of favorites to AFA before the tour. Then the staff in each city does their best to call and invite the ladies to the social. The client then receives a listing of which ladies have agreed to come. Now, they may or may not. However, the clients can then use this list as a starting point to arrange dates.
There is some exciting dance entertainment and an amusing “American Idol” type contest. At this social there is a cash bar although the tables are stocked with champagne, other drinks and food. The dance floor is packed. Numbers? There were 26 men and over 200 ladies – great odds. Although the social ended at 9, many stayed for a while. Some clients, of course managed to invite a lady to another club or out to eat. Taxis were used as needed to head back to the hotel.
The main street in front of the hotel is packed with folks walking around enjoying the summer evening. It is possible for cars to use the street with care, but mostly it is for pedestrians. So couples and clients strolling by can easily encounter each other and enjoy a café with their dates.
Eventually, everyone finds their way back to the hotel to rest for tomorrow’s busy day setting up dates.
By the way photos and videos of the socials will be posted on loveme.com at the conclusion of the tour.
July Ukraine Tour – July 14, 2012
Breakfast following a social is always entertaining. Since the guys have now bonded, stories (exaggerated or not) are shared – sometimes with laughter, sometimes with keen interest. All of them learn from each other’s experience. It is very rare to hear a sad tale, but of course it can happen. These are not tragedies, more often they are a result of unrealistic expectations. When this does happen it is great to have a group of “wing men” to listen and empathize. This is not a problem as there is so much opportunity ahead.
After breakfast, it is off to the hospitality suite to confirm or make new arrangements for the day and evening. Many of the guys have been writing to favorites so this is simply a matter of asking one of the several interpreters to make a call and arrange a time and place. Others are asking for calls to made to ladies they met at the social, while others are still seeking using the profile books or the PC.
It is amazing how efficient the staff is. You will see dozens of lists from the men, sometimes just a few ID numbers and names, sometimes more. All transactions are carefully recorded in each man’s individual folder which will follow him throughout the tour. This way when a client returns in an hour or so, his results are right there. It is a beehive of activity and the clients are very focused on their dating schedule. It is easy to make the mistake of not leaving enough time between dates or even double booking! However, the experienced staff guards against this.
At 11 AM a bus tour of Odessa is scheduled with a very knowledgeable guide. Again, this is highly recommended as it may provide a topic of conversation during a date. Naturally the clients are curious about the rich history of this beautiful city. They are free to bring a date along if they wish and some do so.
As the day moves along, fewer clients are in the suite as many are already on dates. The suite closes at 7 PM, but staff often stays longer if their services are required. On occasion a client will show up at the hotel with their date and introductions are made. This is always interesting.
At 10 PM or so, many have returned from the day’s activities and stories are shared over drinks. Again, this is a great way to learn from each other’s experience since this process is so new to almost all.
July Ukraine Tour – July 13, 2012
After a hearty breakfast the men begin to gather in the hospitality suite to line up dates even before the social. There are interpreters on hand to make calls for them. Of course they are free to browse the large binders of profiles, not only of ladies from Odessa, but Kherson as well. There is also a PC to use.
A walking tour of the area outside our hotel is set for 11AM and many decide to go. This is wise since the guys will know their way around for dates and shopping. The boulevard directly in front of the hotel is beautiful – tree lined with street musicians and happy locals strolling by. We are a short block from the famous Potemkin steps that lead to the seaport. Restaurants, shops and clubs are numerous. Our social will be held at the Grand Europe restaurant overlooking the port and the Black Sea – very romantic.
The afternoon passes quickly and soon the men must clean up and dress their best for the social. Many assemble at the social at 4 PM for a unique event. New ladies who are not on our site arrive to sign up and have their photo taken. This is a great chance to chat with them even before they are available.
The social begins promptly at 6. The tables are decorated and set with appetizers and drinks. It was a bit warm, but that did not discourage the anticipation of everyone – clients and ladies. Once we were inside, the ladies began to sign in and settle at the tables. It does not take long for the guys to begin drifting over with an interpreter to start a conversation. The first two hours are set up for this as the music is low. The idea of course, is to trade contact information with any lady with whom you feel a connection. The trick is to move around the room and speak to as many as possible.
At about 8, the entertainment begins. This includes a hostess who arranges amusing games involving a few couples who volunteer. Following that the music was turned up for dancing. The girls often will go out on the floor, 4 or 5 together. They are delighted when a guy decides to go out and join them. Of course there are many couples enjoying the music and getting to know each other out on the floor. For some it is not their thing, and that’s more than alright. Many are moving from table to table getting to know the ladies and perhaps exchanging contact information as mentioned above. Often dates are made for after the social or for the following day.
It is very warm, even for July, so it is nice that all are free to walk out on the balcony overlooking the sea for a quiet conversation. As the evening draws to a close, many head out to clubs and Karaoke bars with dates and interpreters. There will be many interesting stories at breakfast the following morning.
We awake as we land at the very busy international terminal in Vienna. It is now 7 AM, their time. We gather to find our departing gate and continue to get to know each other and bond. I hand out hotel and city materials I brought along to entertain and inform the clients. Of course, questions continue to abound as they know Ukraine is very close now. The many infrastructure improvements built to accommodate the 2012 Eurocup soccer tournament which concluded in June is evident.
We gather at gate D61 and ensure that everyone is present while we await our Ukrainian final flight. Now it begins to hit home as the men hear the Russian language for the first time and see the Ukrainian citizens boarding with them.
The flight is only two hours and the extensive Ukrainian countryside is evident below. It resembles Iowa since farming is and has been an essential part of their economy and culture. Finally our flight lands in Odessa, a classic, soviet style airport. It is very warm, but comfortable – much like Florida.
Of course there is the required passport check and waiting for our luggage. Things do not move as quickly as they might in the US, but it gives us time to continue talking and bonding. We are now 7 hours ahead of New York and I caution the men to do their best to stay awake into the evening to set their biological clocks.
At last we enter the waiting area with our luggage and are greeted by Anna and Max, our veteran Odessa AFA office managers. I am so glad to see them as it has been 10 months for me. We need to do a headcount. There are a few others who join us from different flights and some who are only attending the social on Friday. A few men decide to exchange some of their American currency for Ukrainian – about an 8 to 1 rate.
A rare occurrence happens for Don. He is greeted by a lovely woman he has been writing to. Of course many of the men are astounded! I assure them that hundreds just like her are waiting to meet them, but it is great for morale.
At last we board a very comfortable bus and Anna hands out welcome cold bottles of water for the brief ride to the Londonskaya hotel in the center of town which will be our home for several days. Here is where Max’s expertise shines. While the men stare at the very different infrastructure out the window, he offers informed explanations about his home city and various points of interest. We also share some ideas about what will occur tonight.
There is a major film festival occurring including Charlie Chaplin’s daughter Geraldine and others. How exciting. Perhaps we will get some autographs. Finally we arrive at the oldest, but classic hotel in Odessa. It lacks for nothing as it has recently been renovated. We get to enjoy comfort and historic style. We check into our comfortable rooms and enjoy a refreshing shower, but not a nap!
At 6 PM all the clients gather in a lovely meeting room across the center courtyard, that will be our hospitality suite for our stay in Odessa. Max and I carefully outline essential information regarding money, how to arrange dates, our surroundings, etc. Much of this is posted on loveme.com if you are curious. The men also rent essential local cell phones that will be their lifeline during the tour.
At last, our beautiful, young interpreters arrive to welcome the clients and introduce themselves. This is their first taste of how lovely and gracious Slavic women can be. Each of the clients then introduce themselves as well. This is critical so the ladies have an idea of how they will be able to assist during Friday’s social and during the dates to follow. I filmed much of this, so you should be able to view it soon on our site.
Finally, the men are able to socialize and get to know them much better. All of the group then wander out together to enjoy the city and sample the local cuisine. This is a very important factor contributing to the client’s future success, since the ladies will be readily available to translate during the social and during their dates. I remind the men to be generous and compensate the girls for their time and treat them to a meal. No one was left behind, except Anna, Max and myself to clean up and go over details for the following day. We enjoyed a brief bite to eat and waited for the men to return. To our surprise a second date had already occurred. They showed up glowing. She was a lovely blond, over 6 feet! Since I am only 5’5” the three of us took an amusing photo together.
The men were full of questions and very pleased at the town and the gracious expertise of our veteran interpreters. It was a great introduction to what awaits them tomorrow evening and beyond. Now they will be able to ask a friend who knows them to help introduce them to the over two hundred lovely ladies they will encounter. Of course, our team now has a good idea what each man seeks. As a matter of fact, some guys mentioned that the girls already had suggestions of likely ladies for them to meet. What could be better? It was funny. The girls, being younger, wanted to continue the fun and go bowling or play billiards (a big attraction here). Of course, the guys were much too tired for that. (I knew that they would surely get their butts kicked as these girls are good!)
Well, all are very weary including yours truly. So, as I complete this blog, it is time to get some much needed rest in our comfortable, air conditioned rooms to be fresh for breakfast and make plans for tomorrow night. More later.
A beautiful sunny day in New York as our excited group gathers at gate 4 of JFK for our Austrian flight to Vienna. Unfortunately there were many delays and late comers for one reason or another, but none the less spirits were high.
This is a great group of guys and I could tell right away that they would bond well, as usually happens on an AFA tour. Most were traveling overseas for the first time. However, one client had been on tour to St. Petersburg four years ago. Another had been to the Ukraine with another agency and was quite happy to be going with us. Since we had little time to chat before we had to board, we would have to wait until we land in Vienna to continue getting to know each other.
The diversity never ceases to amaze me. The men came from all over the country – different ages and occupations. But they were bonded by a common goal – to meet that special lady. I wondered how many would succeed and who would be first? One of our group was from Las Vegas. He decided to set up odds and wanted to do an over/under. Since I don’t gamble, I wondered how that might work. It could be fun.
So we board our Austrian flight and settle in. This airline is great – not like many of our domestic companies who charge for a bag of peanuts. This is excellent service. I wandered up and down the aisle, joking with the clients and answering questions until sleep finally took over six hundreds MPH over the Atlantic. We will awake in beautiful Vienna to catch our final connection to Odessa and beyond! More tomorrow. We wish you were with us.
I’m on my way to JFK (sorry for the rhyme). Here is my personal packing list. You may find it useful on your upcoming romance tour (you did book one, didn’t you?). Of course you will have to modify it for your own use. Hope to see you soon.
Cash, new $100 dollar bills for exchange
Notify all cards of travel to Ukraine to avoid flagging
Guys, I am honored to have the AFA camcorder along on our upcoming Ukraine tour of 7 cities. I intend to interview as many lovely ladies and happy clients as possible for your viewing pleasure. I’m sure our crack IT staff will post them ASAP after our return on August 3. Look forward to some interesting viewing pleasure. Also, read and react to our daily blog on foreignbrideguide.com. Thanks. Bob Wray
I was enjoying a beautiful afternoon with my two year old niece at the kid’s playground today. Of course, there were other kids there with their moms and dads. One mom of a small boy and girl struck up a conversation about the weather, kids, etc. It was pleasant enough until she made a comment that really made me think about what we are doing and what we seek. Here’s what she had to say. “We need to raise our daughters to be strong, confident, independent women and our sons to be sensitive, caring men.”
On its face, it seems innocent enough. I just nodded my head and went back to the swings with my niece. Then I thought about the marriage of my grandparents who emigrated from Italy many years ago. Their relationsip ran smoothly according to the gender roles that had developed over generations in the old country. Then I thought about what I have learned about the women of Ukraine and what they seek.
You see that young mom had it backwards. She is attempting to reverse the roles that occur naturally within gender. The women of Ukraine understand this well and are raised to be loving wives and mothers first, and earners second. This is not set in stone. It is just what generations of their culture have developed.
So who has the right idea? Our American culture produces one of the highest divorce rates in the world – nearly 60%. The 2010 census showed that for the first time there are more single adults, than married.
The saddest words in the English language are, “If only I had . . .” Don’t come to the end of the road regretting your lack ofaction. Keep your expectations low. It will minimize disappointment and heighten success. Be the first to show interest. Make flirting part of your personality. Resist the logic that says, “I will be happy next month” (or year, or when I have a new job, or whatever). It will never happen.You will only shift the goal to something else. Be happy today. Treat yourself to something really nice at least once a week. You deserve it. Smile and say hello to almost everyone. Always look your best. Work on it. Be the person you seek to date. If you’re going to be rejected, get thrown out the front door in front of God and everyone with your head held high. Don’t slither out the back door. Be a work in progress — always improving, never complete. Be proactive. It is the natural role of the male of our species. Assume that you are going to meet the love of your life in about six weeks. You don’t know exactly what day. Spend the next sixweeks getting ready for that meeting, and the next six weeks after that, etc.Success is the residue of preparation. Remember — flirting is a heartfelt, sincere,complimentary gift. It is the nicest thing you can do for a woman. Even if nothing happens, it will brighten her day. Be liberal with this gift. Don’t be in the habit of constantly saying “I’m sorry.” Reserve those words for times when you have hurt, offended or done something wrong. Say “excuse me” or “pardon me” instead. When it is not merited, “I’m sorry” makes you sound weak.
Here are some ideas for you to consider. They are from my book A Man’s Field Guide to Dating – available in Kindle format from Amazon. Also, when you book your romance tour with AFA, we will send you a free PDF copy along with Bud Patterson’s excellent book, Foreign Bride 101, available at loveme.com.
Three of the Ten Commandments
IX – Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Spouse – Keepyour eyes and attention on the lady you are with.
XIII – Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness – No onelikes a liar. Trust is essential for love.
VI – Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery – The destructivepower of infidelity is legendary.
The Seven Deadly Sins
Pride – False pride and arrogance are repulsive towomen. Braggarts are merely displaying their insecurity.
Envy – Be content with what you have. There is nothingwrong with striving for more but don’t compare yourself with others. Jealously is very discomforting and unappealing.
Gluttony – If you eat too much, you get fat. You also get unhealthy.
Lust – When lust is your primary motivation you reapdead-end encounters and can never achieve a healthy relationship. Controlled passion follows emotional intimacy and some level of commitment.
Anger – Except for rare circumstances, anger is notappropriate behavior. Anger hurts and drives people apart.
Covetousness – Jealousy will eventually destroy a loving relationship. You cannot control another’s behavior. They must be in the relationship because they want to and it benefits them.
Sloth – Men who are lazy and lack energy are veryunattractive. Don’t be a couch potato. Have some ambition. Be proactive.
The Seven Heavenly Virtues
Faith – You must have faith that your efforts will improve your circumstances. Faith may be all you have on some Saturday nights when you are home alone.
Hope – Hope will keep your enthusiasm high and your spirits buoyed through your quest. You should enjoy the journey.
Charity – Be as generous as you are able. Have sympathy for those less fortunate. These are irresistible qualities.
Fortitude – Change takes courage. You will need plenty.
Justice – Be fair to everyone. Those you date and those you don’t — and also, your competitors.
Temperance – Moderation in alcohol consumption as well as other addictive behaviors will keep you healthy and desirable.
Prudence – Proceed with wisdom, common sense anddiscretion. Good judgement will keep you from harmful relationships.