"Odessa celebrates April Fool's Day like no other place on earth," my guidebook said, but I couldn't find a single person at school who thought that "the outlandish street party" was anything other than a massive pain in the arse. People flock to the city from all over Ukraine, there's music at lunchtime, a parade of floats in the afternoon and a firework display at night, but mostly it's a chance to wear funny wigs, hit people with inflatable hammers and get as drunk as you possibly can. "Stay at home," my students told me. "The streets will be full of stupid people with too much beer." "I have to work near the centre and I can never get a bus home," moaned one. "I went there once and it was completely horrible," grumbled another. The school gave us the day off, which I thought was great until I realised we had to work Saturday morning instead. "My advice is to stay away from the centre unless you like talking to pissed-up village idiots," said the boss.
This year the police had banned alcohol. "It's nowhere near as busy as usual," said Ben, the only person who recommended going out. "Much quieter."