Question: What is the phone system like in Russia or Ukraine?
The phone situation here is bizarre. At least five competing cell phone providers. It’s free to call people on the same network, but prices between networks vary wildly. And you pay up front for the minutes you use. You go to these kiosks, buy a card, scratch off a long number, type it into your mobile phone, hit dial, and then you have that much more money on your phone.
I have two phones, for the two most popular networks (LIFE and MTC, if anyone needs to know). People’s faces light up when — after first exchanging contact info — they find out you have the same network as they do. It means they’ll be able to afford to call you. You’d think they won the lottery. There’s no voice-mail in Ukraine as far as I can tell. At least, no one seems to have it. So if you call and no one answers, you just need to call again. (Or hope they noticed that they missed your call, and so they call you back.)
Phones can be kind of complicated for newcomers, so I made this video showing you how to use a Russian or Ukrainian cellphone.