Saturday, January 16, 2010

Election Day in Kiev

From Kiev, Ukraine
It's a lazy Sunday at the hostel. My ATM card is AWOL, but it is almost certainly in the Piraeus Bank ATM machine. The machine has been out of order ever since we went back to it looking for the card last night, suggesting that the machine's failure to regurgitate the card was connected to its downfall.

Since banks are closed on Sunday, there is nothing I can do until Monday, so I may as well hunker down today and relax.

I woke up early due to worry about the debit card. Things always seem worse at night than they do in the light of day; I feel pretty confident about things, now. Anyway, I got up at the crack of dawn, showered to wash away some of the smoke from last night, and then ate an apple. I boiled water because the tap water in Ukraine is not safe to drink. I then filled my water bottle with the boiled water and refrigerated it for later. I won't be able to buy bottled water until money situation is straightened out tomorrow, so this will do.

Lauren, snorer Piet ;-) and I went out to a great cellar pub last night and had a terrific discussion about politics. Hip student types occupied most of the tables and the air was thick with smoke. Smoky air is a novelty to me now, and even though I am not a smoker myself it brings back fond memories of venues I frequented in years past before smoking bans went into wide effect. Indeed, waking up to the smell of my smoky clothes and hair was actually a tiny pleasure.

We were surprised by the appearance of a former hostel-mate, Keith, who is a writer of note documenting aspects of the election. He had ditched the hostel for an apartment. He may have been playing, but he made a daring prediction that Yanukovich will win the whole election today--no runoff. (Most expect a runoff.)

Piet, Lauren, and I are all lying in our bunk beds staring at our laptops. Weather outside is exactly the same as it was the last few days: white skies with no trace of blue anywhere, specks of snow falling like dandruff, and cold.

The Finns invade today. There will be a large group coming in that will occupy every last available bed.

CORRECTION (19 January): The Finns turned out to be Swedes.

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