Thursday, January 14, 2010

Arrival in Kiev

Don't know if you've seen the movie Before Sunrise, but basically that happened to me and a young woman today, except that instead of running around a romantic city all night long we were stuck in an airplane, and then the Frankfurt airport. So my travel plans have already been altered as we hope to meet up in Bucharest in a couple of weeks.

Regarding less-sensational personal revelations, I made both my connections (Frankfurt and Dusseldorf), the second one just barely, but of course barely counts. So now I have taken my first walk around Kiev. This was a tremendously surreal experience after years of studying the various Kiev webcams pointed at Independence Square. Night fell fast here at around 5 PM, which is actually quite perfect considering my jet lag. The sidewalks are slippery with dirty ice, some of that ice quite thick. The natives slip and slide on this stuff, sometimes deliberately attempting to slide along it short distances in order to cover the distance more efficiently.

The hostel here is full and active. Most of the guests are online; obviously myself included. I am seated in a lounge area watching an HD TV showing Ukrainian programming.

I learned that one group of people who fill Ukrainian hostels are Russian-based foreigners whose 3-month visas in Russia have expired. They must leave the country until paperwork for a new visa is completed, a process that can take weeks or even over a month.

Tymoshenko TV ad on right now.

I suspect I'll be able to sleep through the snorers tonight, considering I have only grabbed a few minutes of sleep on the heels of a poor night of sleep in NYC (my fault; too much fun).

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