This week I’m “liveblogging” my trip to Ukraine. Unlike traditional reports, these posts will be shorter and more frequent.
Breakfast has been interesting at the Hyatt Regency Kyiv, with the hotel clientele ranging from media to mercenaries. I almost felt like Ernest Hemingway at Hotel Florida…
I hope to put up a full review of the Hyatt Regency Kyiv later today, but my stay has been very pleasant. Staff are (for the most part) excellent and the breakfast spread is really delicious (just as it was 12 years ago the last time I stayed here).
But what I found most interesting were those sitting around me at breakfast.
The BBC is here…this makes a lot of sense considering the central location of the hotel in Kyiv. There is also some French and other British media.
Far more interesting was the man from Scotland and his associate from Australia sitting at the table next to me the other day.
They were mercenaries. Maybe? It is not clear who was paying them–or whether they were just full of hot air trying to impress the pretty blonde girl seated on the other side–but they claimed to have just returned from the front lines in The Donbas.
These both appeared to be hyper-masculine “Alpha” males, with menacing figures, tattoos, and stories of war and conquest from around the world.
Maybe they weren’t even mercenaries (though they claimed to “work” for Ukraine) and were just volunteer soldiers looking for an adventure?
One talked about his time in Iraq and Afghanistan while the other mentioned their clandestine operation in Transnistria (the pro-Russian breakaway region in Moldova).
Here’s what I know: secret agents don’t talk about their “clandestine” work.
So these dudes were enigmatic to me…and judging by her forced smile and uncomfortable laugh, the blonde British girl wasn’t impressed either.