More Wizz Air Destinations Could Be On the Way
Subject to government approval, of course, Wizz Air seems all set to begin service this December between Kyiv and Cracow/Katowice, Poland; Dortmund and Cologne in Germany, plus London’s Luton airport. If the go-ahead is actually given, expect to see a few other airlines (first and foremost among them Lufthansa) to quickly follow suit.
Wizz Air’s initial offering price for a return ticket to Luton from Kyiv is roughly $115 at current exchange rates (excluding taxes and handling fees), or about one-fourth the cost of flying via other carriers directly or indirectly. Not too shabby. Add the connections via the German Rhineland destinations and those reached out of Cracow/Katowice and suddenly travel from Kyiv to continental Europe could soon get a lot easier than it’s ever been.
Anyway, I won’t hold my breath until these routes are up and running. But I might just start thinking a bit longer and harder about where I’m going to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Wither the Kyiv Zoo
I can’t really say that I’ve been to so many zoos in my life that really impressed me. To me, wild animals should remain in the wild and, if we’re going to preserve species threatened with extinction, the least zoos can do is provide a home for these animals that at least approximates life in the wild. The Kyiv Zoo is far from ideal and, while not the worst zoo I’ve ever visited, it certainly doesn’t make me want to return there.
This weekend my fiancée and an Australian friend of mine met up and checked out the zoo for a couple of hours and aside from a few really cool enclosures/exhibits, four things all but ruined the experience for me – the poorly designed wolf enclosure; a male tiger whose front paws had been rubbed raw somehow; cockroach exhibits that are not properly sealed, leading to infestations of other animals’ spaces; and a horribly sad black bear that is likely blind, his overgrown claws evincing his now almost perfectly sedentary lifestyle.
Taken collectively, these problems make me wonder what kind of animal health and welfare standards are in place there. But worst of all, it suggests to me that no one at that zoo really cares about these animals. Have the zoo administrators ever invited an external auditor to determine how they might improve life for the many animals there? It’s hard not to notice a grown male Amur tiger constantly trying to cool his raw, overly sensitive paws in the water tank of his enclosure, or that a black bear can do no more than stare out into space, unable to walk given his overgrown claws make this a near impossibility; a male wolf doing nothing in its enclosure but pace back and forth; cockroaches infiltrating feeding dishes for many other animals in adjacent or nearby terrariums.
It doesn’t help that many zoo visitors here are simply ignorant; I saw many throwing processed snack foods to the animals despite obvious signage everywhere forbidding it. When my fiancée admonished two young girls for doing so, they just whined, “Aw, but we want to!” No supervisory staff went unseen and therefore failed to prevent anything, and with parents taking part in the feeding as much as the kids, the idea of a good example is completely lost.
Kyiv’s Newest Gay Club a Hit
A promoter friend of mine has invited me on countless Thursdays to check out this place called Heaven, a subterranean club that used to be a Ukrainian restaurant of no great distinction up until the end of the summer. Just a short walk from the McDonald’s at Independence Square on Boris Grinchenko St., I’d been there twice before this past weekend, but never really enjoyed myself, largely due to the fact that they were special promotional events filled with A-list partygoers.
Heaven is a small club, more akin to a cocktail lounge with brighter lights, so the lack of space combined with ample visual appeal gives it the feel of a private party. That also seems to mean working girls and the clients-in-waiting are nowhere to be found.
Cover charge was also a bit cheaper and more egalitarian: at Hr 100 for both guys and girls, there’s no discriminating towards girls, but then again, after I found out it’s supposed to be a gay friendly (read: gay) club, I guess that’s not so surprising, really.