(That word means "hello," and no, I can't pronounce it. Yet.)
I arrived in Kiev all right on Sunday evening (well, it was Sunday evening in the Ukraine--I can't speak for when it was in your neck of the woods!)... but my suitcase did not accompany me. Luckily I packed one extra day of clothes in my carry-on, and the hotel has amazing and cheap laundry services, but I am both tired of these clothes and ready for my stuff to arrive. All my knitting supplies, instructions, and further pleasure reading is in that suitcase--here's hoping it's delivered tomorrow!
We didn't see much in Kiev the first day, although we did find an expensive local mall that offered a coat for $13,000. Yes, US dollars--eeep!
We took a six-hour train ride from Kiev to Kharkiv. It was a lot more pleasant than the last train ride I had--probably because a) it wasn't a bunk-car I was trying to sleep in, b) Alex was with me, and c) we watched "Back to the Future" and "Return of the Jedi" on Alex's iPhone. Ah, technology these days...
It's really, really cold. I'm hearing Dallas is purty darn cold as well, but personally without being there I find that hard to believe! ...I think today the high here was -5 C (23F) and the low was -8 C (17F). Yeesh!
Want to look like a Ukrainian woman? Okay, start out unreasonably tall and thin, add long hair, pour yourself into some dark jeans that redefine the meaning of tight, add a long black coat (preferably fur-lined leather, though other styles are permitted), and finish off with amazingly tall stiletto-heeled black boots. Basically, they're gorgeous fashionistas, and with my short self walking down the streets in tennis shoes, corduroy pants, and a red ski jacket, I feel frumpy.
Thus far, I've bought a pair of said boots, but have no plans of wearing them on icy, cobblestone roads like the locals do. I have no idea how they move that fast, in those shoes, over that ground--but they do! I plan to shop later in the week for my own long coat, so that I can be ridiculously over-warm when it's 40 degrees in Dallas.
And also: the Mullet is king. Seriously. There are subtle mullets and what Alex calls "power mullets," and then there's the guy we sat behind in the concert tonight... whose extremely curly hair was so amazingly long--only in back--that I thought he was a woman until he turned around. It kind of makes me want to watch "Joe Dirt."
TV: there are no less than eight music video channels in our room, and I think more of them in the bar downstairs. In the bar, there's a channel called MTV Dance, that 1) features British commercials, 2) lots of dance music videos, and 3) heavily emphasizes the '80s. It's heavenly--wish I got it at home!
Food = great! So far I've tried chicken-and-mushroom pancakes (more like a crepe-wrap), borscht, truffle tortellini, potato dumplings, and some amazing mushroom angel-hair pasta. And the full breakfast here is really something.
It's completely disorienting to me to not be able to read any signs (except "internet" is pretty easy to spot, as it's close to the English version), and to rarely recognize any words. It's not at all like being in a romance-language country where it's either Spanish or sounds like it!
Tonight, we went to a concert at an organ hall, that had once been a cathedral. It was really pretty, and the organ was great--the organ-player did some crazy footwork on the pedals that I've never seen before! There was also a great cellist, and a whole choir--the only thing we recognized the whole evening was "Ave Maria," which was fantastic!
I'm trying not to work, but I had some loose ends to tie up today, and I have this sneaky feeling that I'm going to get reference questions in my inbox that aren't auto-forwarded. Hmph.
I have done some pleasure-reading, though, and I'm also so grateful that Amy finally hit the second famous "what the CRAP!?" moment in Breaking Dawn, so that now she fully understands that Stephenie Meyer is insane, and we can discuss.
Which reminds me--I am loving Gmail chat, which has allowed me to have conversations with Amy, Claire, Bryce, Christina, Jaime, Cari, and of course Tihleigh! The wifi at the hotel's been slow lately, so I'm not able to be on Facebook or several other websites, so it's nice to have some kind of live communication.
And yes, I've taken some photos--not a lot yet, but we'll be sight-seeing more a bit later--and as soon as I get the USB cable from Alex, I'll work on editing and uploading them. I promise!!