Mariupol, Ukraine -- July, 2005. Poor Russian ladies. It is a well-known and documented fact that there is a great shortage of Russian and Ukrainian men, especially over the age of 30. Why? A multitude of reasons: occupational hazards, auto accidents, alcoholism, excessive smoking, regional wars and primarily migration to the Far East and the "stan" republics to work in mines, oil fields and factories. Every summer for about two weeks, Russia and Ukraine suffer a heat wave, usually for a duration of two or three weeks. When I arrived in Mariupol, a city of about 200,000 people, it was my misfortune to encounter such a heat wave.
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My purpose was to visit a certain, lovely young lady that I had met in Kiev one week earlier at a Russian ladies romance social. The heat wave hit the day before my departure and Mariupol is 450 miles further south, so the possibility of relief was remote. Maya actually met me on the tarmac of the small airport as I exited the plane. It was so hot it actually hurt. Perspiration covered her forehead but she was nonetheless as lovely as I remembered. The taxi was sweltering, even at 60mph with the windows down. But Maya remained radiant. The hotel room was stifling so Maya invited me to her apartment, which was more ventilated and somewhat cooler. A cold shower did provide some temporary relief.
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