Archive for March 15th, 2007

Heather Arrived!

Finally, my wife of 5 weeks, the woman I haven’t seen in 4 weeks, arrived on the ground here in Ukraine. All of her bags arrived on the same flight as her (amazing) and Ivan took us back to our apartment.

After we unloaded her stuff we went for a short walk around the block. With Heather’s extreme lack of sleep kicking in I think she was somewhat shocked by the sights. At this point I’m pretty immune to a lot of the normalcies of life here: stray dogs, dog poop on sidewalks, cars parked in the middle of the road and the sidewalk, people drinking beer anywhere, buses filled beyond capacity, beautiful buildings directly next to run down ones. I’ve been saying it since I started writing: It’s different here. If you’re planning on visiting Ukraine anytime soon don’t underestimate that: EVERYthing is different.

That evening we visited the “famous” seven piggies restaurant. I’d heard lots about this place from Lohika and IronPort guys alike since the Lohika guys traditionally take IronPort guys there on visits. I took Heather there because it’s supposed to be good and its not more than 2 blocks from our apt. So we went.

The restaurant itself feels like Disneyland. It’s very cartoony inside; surreal I suppose. There are stairs going up and down, left and right to various tables.

Now Heather gets a feel for what it’s like speaking to someone that speaks hardly any english. We got our english menus. We ordered drinks. Now tell the waiter you want 1 more minute to decide what you want for dinner. Go ahead. Try :-) It took us 1 minute to get him to go away.

We eventually ordered food. I had something with turkey, rice, raisins and dried apricot. It was very good. Heather had veal with yummy sauce that had dried fruit in it. Again, quite good.

Around when we were finishing up our meals stumbling down the stairs came, with the assistance of his friend, what had to be the drunkest man I’ve ever seen. He looked dead. Maybe he was dead? It was borderline scary watching him get taken outside.

The next morning we walked over to the park and flew the helicopter. We had a bit of a crowd at one point, even a police-looking dude was watching. I guess it’s legal :-) Then we went to the grocery store. We took the tram, the same tram I’ve written about before. You pay for your ride on the tram when the woman wearing the “uniform” walks up to you with tickets and money in a pouch. You give her your 1/2 hra and she gives you a ticket.

This time I gave her (2) 1/2 hra (1 hra total) for me and Heather. This created far more confusion that I could have ever imagined. It started a one-sided conversation that I simply could not understand. I couldn’t grasp at all what she was saying. I just kept holding up 2 fingers and pointing at Heather. I wanted to pay for both of us. At this point, the entire rear of the crowded tram knew we were tourists. Great. Eventually the woman gave us two tickets and walked away. On the way home I gave Heather her very own 1/2 hra and she bought her own ticket, problem solved.

We bought pasta at the store and tried to figure out which of the many tomato-based sauces (ัะพัƒั) was spaghetti sauce. Most of these jars of sauce were ~5 hra ($1) except for the Heinz-brand sauce which was $3! Yeah right, I’m going to pay $3 for spaghetti sauce? If I come home and I’m a super cheap bastard, please understand.

We didn’t buy much. Pasta, sauce, flour, oil, a big bag of cereal, cheese, I forget what else. Total including the most ridiculous 20% VAT: $15.

4 comments March 15th, 2007


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