I’d like to introduce you to Benny. This is exactly how he looked as his flight home was taking of from Kiev’s international airport. You may notice several things, like the filthy shirt and the somewhat haphazard manner in which he’s sleeping.
What you can’t see are the lack of a wallet, telephone, and impressive facial reconstruction courtesy of several unknown fists. After a heavy night of partying Benny was mugged, and as Benny himself pointed out;
“This is going to be a good story to tell in a month or two.”
The Party Animal
Benny checked into our hostel on Monday night and as soon as it got dark outside he left. The next morning he came back sometime around 7, which set a pattern for the days to come.
After he woke up in the evening, I took him out for steak and then we ended up going to a few bars around Kiev. When we came back to the hostel at midnight I was ready to call it a night, but despite partying till past sunrise the night before, Benny wanted more.
So he went to the club and I went to sleep.
This story continued to repeat itself. Benny would party till sunrise then sleep till 6 pm. He would eat something and go out again. He never once actually woke up early enough to go see anything in the city nor did he ever allow his liver a chance to recover.
After the fourth day in a row of this he felt sick, couldn’t eat anything and looked pale.
“I ate some bad soup” he said to me. “Dammit, why do I always get bad food at restaurants?”
“Maybe it’s just that you’ve been getting drunk every night and your body hates you?” I asked pleasantly.
“No, I don’t think that’s it. I’m pretty sure it’s the soup..”
A Last Chance Resolution
Sunday afternoon, his last day in Kiev, Benny resolved to do something cultural and enlightening. He reserved a ticket to the opera and left sometime around four. Well the next day rolled around and at 7 am, his usual return time, he still wasn’t back.
8 came and went.
9 came and went.
The owner of our hostel suggested he just took off without paying. “Sometimes people just go and all we find is a crummy backpack with some bad clothes.”
Curse you Benny! I thought to myself, while secretly at least slightly pleased that I would get to keep his beat up copy of The Fountainhead. But then we looked at his things and saw his British Passport. That was a clue something was amiss.
“He’s in jail!” I said in Russian to my friend.
Benny Returns from the Dead
10 was just about to come and go, when I walked down the stairs to the common area and there was Benny, stumbling drunk and looking like hell. His shirt was wrecked with dirt, his face had been worked on, and I had trouble imagine the amount of alcohol that this seasoned drinker must have taken in to be walking like Ernest Hemingway at an open bar wedding.
“Worst night of my life!” He said to me in his English accent. “Worst fucking night of my life!”
He got himself seated on the couch, then he broke it down.
“I went out and I was at the bar. Then after that I saw these homeless guys and I thought yeah, that’s cool you know. So I bought them three bottles of vodka and we all drank together. And it was all chill you know. But then one guy asked me for 50 Grivna and I said no. Then something happened and he punched me, and I punched him. And it was like crazy! But he had this really big friend and he came and punched me. And then there was like a million guys punching me and it just sucked! But I showed them though. When they were going for my phone I didn’t let them have it.”
At this point he mimed picking up his phone high in his hand..
“I took it up and smashed it on the concrete so they couldn’t use it, and then before they could take my wallet I bent up my ATM card so it’s useless. They still took all my money though, so I guess they did sort of win in a way.”
Minutes after this he went into a vodka induced coma from which we were physically unable to rouse him. I have a video of us trying to get him to wake up but I’ll keep that to myself.
Needless to say, Benny did not make his flight back home..
Curse you Kiev!
You can blame who or what you want, but I think the root of the problem here is clear..
What kind of city sells beer for a dollar at any bar anywhere in the city!
Obviously whoever created this policy didn’t take into account that some people come from places where alcohol is expensive. When they arrive in Kiev they simply don’t know how to conduct themselves.
What is for some of us a blessing is for others a curse. Benny was in Kiev for a week and I don’t think he ever saw anything besides the inside of bar. We have no idea if he ever made it to the opera or not.