Tuesday, August 2, 2011

No Smiles in Kiev- Ukraine

I am in the mood for adventure, and opt to take the bus from the Kiev Airport to my hotel rather than a taxi. The cabbie calls me "crazy." It's not the first time I have heard that refrain, and I'm more likely to win the lottery than to have it be my last.
Discovery leads to the following: I need to exit the bus at the main train station. Wait! What stop is that? No one on this bus speaks English! The alphabet is in Cyrillic, I am fricking illiterate. Oh dear! Will this bus fall off the edge of the earth before it dons on me that I should have got off one stop earlier? 
"I speak," states Anya with a British accent. "Auntie and I will help you." A pleasant conversation, with Anya translating occasionally for Auntie, we eventually exit one stop prior to the edge of the earth (the poor suckers who continued)
Auntie is a pensioner and public transit is free for her so she offers me a free subway token (SCORE!!!! -- 25 cents worth)
"You are very lucky to meet nice people like us here in the Kiev," Auntie explains to me via Anya.

They aren't kidding. While I believe the subway to be a crucible for people's inner feelings, the heavy energy most people carry being magnified by the close quarters, frowns abound here more than any place I have been besides Moscow. 
Soviet architectural vomit
beautiful old style Eastern European architecture, the funny thing is these two buildings were side by side
I happily exit the exit the subway car, but have little idea how to find my hotel. I quickly learn the old generation speaks zero (count it) English.
Well Helllloooooo, a pretty girl, let's ask her ...
While technically attractive, as she approaches, I am repelled by the scowl she has etched into her face, her energy for that matter. I literally jump out of the way to let this poisonous snake pass.
Another girl approaches carrying a kitten, "So cutteee!" I exclaim. She cracks a quarter smile. I'm starting to think that counts for Kiev. Standing in the subway system, I feel like a street entertainer working for smiles in the poorest place on earth.

To the Rescuse
Meet Kos, 22 years old, spent a summer in America and a very hard working, determined guy as I will discuss later. He walks with me and points me in the right direction. I climb a hill, my seventy pounds of luggage slowing my ascent to the speed at which people climb the upper peak of Everest.
Huffing and puffing I finally arrive at my hotel, the first I have stayed in over two months.
As I walk up to my room, I think the cab driver might be right. I am crazy. I spent an extra two hours getting to my hotel, complete inefficiency, a poor use of energy, and now I'm tired to boot ... but I don't regret it for a moment.
at Independence Square, Kiev- Ukraine

1 comment:

  1. You get used to it. :) I think I have to re-learn how to smile after living here.
    Nice post!


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