There’s one Australian: Owen, a West Australian miner in his early 40s. Many of them have at least one divorce under their belt.
The walls of the basement conference room feature tasteful oil paintings of the London Bridge and World Trade Centre.
Larry tells us that 45 men have signed on for this tour; a statement which seems strange, as over the next seven days we follow the tour, we never see more than 30 at any one time.
One can only assume that their reasons for attending lie somewhere on the spectrum between searching for casual sex and lifelong commitment.
Odessa is a strange, beautiful city; in the midst of summer, the air crackles with a dry, insistent heat that’s a pleasant change from the humidity of Brisbane.
It’s home to one of the largest ports in the Black Sea basin, yet as our taxi driver threads his way through traffic sans seatbelt while yelling into his mobile phone we get the distinct impression that most buildings outside of the tourist-friendly city centre are slowly falling apart from decades of neglect.
If you would like to republish this story or these photos, please contact me via email or Twitter.
So be prepared, gas up, and I guarantee you’re going to have a wonderful time.” One seasoned summer romance tourist adds, “Plan to do this a lot in the future! Larry is impressively tanned, speaks in a deep, low Californian drawl, and offered us a forceful handshake at Odessa Airport yesterday afternoon.”You don’t want to appear cheap, or miserly,” explains Larry, “but you don’t want to appear to be foolish with money.” Based on the witty quips a couple of the men toss in throughout the hour, it’s apparent that they’re return visitors to this region.Their knowledge sets them apart as the group’s worldly alpha males, and they seem only too happy to inhabit this role.All words below were written by myself, Andrew Mc Millen.All photos below were taken by Rachael Hall; you can click any of them to view a larger version, which will open in a new window.Whatever the case, they’re each prepared to spend US,000 – including return airfares from New York’s JFK airport and local accommodation – to be here.The median age of the mostly-American tour group sits between 40 and 45.In July 2011, my girlfriend and I travelled to Ukraine as guests of a dating website named Anastasia to report on one of their so-called romance tours.It was one of the strangest and coolest experiences of our lives.Just like in any high school classroom, the back row is full, but the first couple are sparse.Eight media types line the aisle, ourselves included.