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Author Topic: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !  (Read 114716 times)

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Offline Donhollio

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Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« on: October 02, 2007, 11:00:29 PM »
   I was invited to post my adventures in the FSU, since 2003 I have taken 8 trips. I decided to write about my travels as a way to help someone starting out in this pursuit of a Russian girl, and what you could expect.  Now I'll admit that I don't go about things in a well planned out manner, jumping on a plane without making proper contact with a girl is only one of the many mis-steps I did. For me this search was a huge learning curve, I learned more about myself, and in the end I do feel I became a better person.
  I never chased girls back in Canada, I was usually the guy who waited it out until the girl came to me, but this had to change if I was going to fly to Europe to find someone. I learned soon enough after my second trip that I enjoyed the chase, and the kill didn't matter nearly as much. All this was to be revealed to me as the years passed by, and I discovered who I was.
 I'll include photo's telling what hopefully will be a story that will be interesting and helpful. It'll take you through my emotional highs and lows, the isolation, and the cultural barriers you may encounter. I'll state I'm no expert on the FSU pursuit, but I have some idea what I'm talking about.

 During these years I have had some relationships with Ukraine girls, and managed to keep some as friends. I've grown to really like UA and some of it's offerings, and not just the women I have met. But for me UA is very different from Canada, there are things I think Canada could learn from them, such as planning a city so as to the people will use it. Not just drive in your car from home to work and back.

 Anyway's this is how it all started.

  In the fall of 2001 I was given a laptop and after knowing what little I knew about the internet ,I spent my time looking at porn HEY ! It was easy to find!
 Then one day I came across and FSU date site, I was looking for some eastern nudes, but I did manage to find my first FSU date site this way. Scrolling page after page I was stunned by the beautiful girls, and even more bewildered to think how it was even possible that they had no guy in their life. So much in fact I called the company that week. She told me yes they mostly are single and wanting a western man. I also asked about the tours, and found this all to be amazing. Beautiful girls, and no guys? I thought I better help change this, and so it all began.

  I did a search and found about a dozen girls I wanted to correspond with. I did most of what the agency said except wear a suit, I'm not bending that much. So off I sent my 12 postal letters with photo's, and a return envelope. About one month later I got a email reply from Moscow. I was excited! I was hoping to stroke the ego with somemore replies, but none came. So I wrote to Janna. I thought things via email were going good until I made the phone call. Again it was exciting for me to speak to someone so far away, and finding her this way was all very new to me.
 Then she mentioned she was taking English lessons, and needed $200 for the course. I didn't know what to do, I never did send the money, and told her it wasn't right for her to ask for something like this. She later wrote me back saying how I was right, and she was sorry. We continued writing, but it was going nowhere, and then she wrote me a letter with Dave's name on it.  That's never a good sign.
   Ok, I hung on but was tuning out fast, I told her what she did, and claimed she only wrote me, uh huh. Her letters became more and more vague, to the point where I no longer replied. About a month went by and she wrote asking why I had yet to return her letter. I told her as I saw it and she was gone, never to be heard from again.

  Months later I found the sister site that I had used for the postal letters A-Web, Yeouch!  At this point, I thought it makes sense to write emails to the agency so they could make sure the girls got them. WRONG! Anyways I again found Anna. She was sitting on a rock with her long blond hair draped over her body. Full lips and big blue eyes, I was squirming in my chair, I was a newbie and in lust with a photo!
  I had wrote to her via the postal route before, but heard nothing. I convinced myself that she never got the postal letter from me, so I signed up and wrote her again, this time using the agency's email service. So off I went typing away at a snails pace hoping for some results this time around.   
 To my suprise she wrote me back! I was so happy to finally get something from her. We exchanged a few emails, but I never had her email address or phone number due to agency policy.   And so I decided to part with some.... errrr too much cash, and make an appointment for that phone call. During this period between me booking a 3-way call, and her replying to me was that she found a guy, saying was very sorry for my interest in her. I was saddened but I had already decided to make the wickedly priced call to her via the agency. After all it was the only way I could get her personal telephone & email.

  All this was arranged before she told me the "get lost" news, so when the phone rang at 6 am I was thinking maybe she changed her mind. I guess I pique her interest in that one phone call, and from there on we did have a good email and telephone correspondence. Months later I made my first visit to her in July 2003. To any newbies reading my mind was racing with all kinds of ideas and fears brought on by others talking about the insincerity of these women (Like they knew).
  But I ignored them and decided to take a chance. I booked my flight, and told her I'll be there. She even booked a week off work to see me, I was impressed. My flight took me first to Germany, I did a little siteseeing, and got my ticket to Odessa via the train.
Let me just say this. The rail ride from Munich to Odessa is about 40 hours. It was my first time ever on a  train, and I assumed it would be as I perceived a train ride I'd seen back home. WRONG ! WRONG!! WRONG!!! Oh man what was I thinking?
 Leaving Munich I got to Vienna easily enough, and I had instructions from the ticket agent in Germany to go to the international ticket window. The train was full, and we all began to walk in the same direction until they all took a left turn, I was the only one who was about to walk through the international doors. It was at this  point I became aware that all the tourists that were riding with me were going to stay in Vienna and I was now on my own. When I was buying my ticket in Munich a guy behind me heard where I was going and said, "Good luck". Before I could turn and ask him some questions he was gone. Ohh how I wished I would have spoke to him!
 

 I later found out why.

  I was told in Munich that when I got to Vienna that I was to tell the ticket seller I need a ticket for the sleeper car. I looked at my ticket printed in Munich, and it said reservation in German, so I thought I was ok. That and the fact the ticket seller in Vienna knew no English. So what did I learn up to this point? Western tourists don't travel to Vienna's international train station for trains connecting to eastern Europe.
  So I purchased my ticket to Odessa and than I realised I didn't know where to go to catch the other train. He pointed to the front doors so off I went. As I walked out through the doors it was clear to me that there was no tracks or station in front of me. Puzzled I went back and tried to get an understanding as to where I was to go.  "Tram! Tram!" he says and points to those big doors again. I never heard of a tram, and thought he was trying to say train in English. "Ok ok!" I said and walked out, finally seeing some streetcars and thinking if this is what he's referring to.

  I see some guys in their 20's hanging out and ask if they speak English, one guy did and told me I had to go buy a ticket to ride the tram.  I tell him I am suppose to go to Ukraine, and don't know where to catch the train. He offers one of his tickets for me to ride the tram, and his friend offers to sell me his watch as I never had one. I travelled without any time piece, and that only adds to the adventure of trying to catch trains and any other form of public transportation. I decline his offer to purchase and they direct me to what tram to board en route to the east bound trains. So now I'm on a tram/streetcar for the first time, riding to what hopefully is the other train station.
 I arrived shortly after seeing some of Vienna via the tram. I boarded the second train and off I was zooming across Austria!  I thought this train isn't bad at all, maybe later when it gets dark I'll wonder up front and get my sleeper berth.
 So at about midnight the train stops in what is still forever burned in my head. It was a poorly lit rail station full of drunk guys signing songs and walking about with bottles of beer on a train that looked way past it's prime. Looking out the window all I was saying to myself was ,"Shit, glad I'm not on that train."
  A few seconds later the cabin steward taps me on the shoulder pointing to that very train! WTF! I was stunned and pointed in a manner of, "There, you want me to go there?"  I reluctently get up, grab my gym bag, and show him my ticket. Where's the sleeper car I ask?"  He points to the rear of the other train, and I walk over and get on the midnight Slovakian ride into hell!

   I grab a seat in a cabin with 6 seats, of course no one speaks English and I'm afraid to open my mouth. The Canadian Embassy has a travel advisory section that states
"Don't ride on the trains at night alone". Ok well how bad could it get I wishfully thought. I sit down and this man and woman are looking at me with the look of this guy ain't from these parts. The packed train pulls away and I'm starting to wonder what I'm in for. All I can say is that it has been to this day the worst train ride I have ever been on. I thought it was derailing a hundred times, with brakes squealing every five minutes. It was just brutal !
  After about 3-4 hours of this I decided I should try to see if I had a sleeper, I knew I didn't and that's why I was suppose to confirm in Vienna. Live and learn.
 So I stumbled my way up front and found the sleepers, but there were no open beds. The one cabin steward spoke enough English to tell me there were no beds, and I couldn't get one even if I had the money. So I decided to sneak into second class, where the seats recline enough to get some sleep. After maybe an hour the other cabin steward comes in motioning me to get to the back in the cattle car! I showed my ticket and pretended to pack up, but as soon as he was gone I sat back down and slept.
  I was exhausted after flying from Canada and having maybe 4 hours sleep in 2 days, so I really zonked out! So much so that when the train arrived in Kosice I never woke up.
  I have no idea how long it was sitting at the platform when suddenly I woke to the train moving, this time in the opposite direct before I feel asleep!

  It began rolling back to Vienna! I jumped up, packed all my stuff back in my bag and headed for the open door! You see the train was empty as was the station, and with the sun rising I thought it was going to be back to Vienna!  So as the train is rolling back I start yelling for someone, anyone, to stop the damn train so I can get off!  A brakeman hails the the engineer to stop and I hop out. Now I'm in the middle of a train station set of tracks, with a guy speaking words I've never heard before.
 

  He takes me over to the platform, and for what it's worth I show him my useless ticket. "Odessa Odessa"  I say pointing to the ticket, and he walks me to this antique train. Now people I'm in culture shock, they ask me if I speak Deutch, and I'm wondering why they would be speaking Dutch?  A happy go lucky guy takes me aboard and walks away. Great I'm thinking another ride from hell. But he motions me to come up to the "nice" private cabins, 2 beds and a sink with some horrible tacky decor. Little did I know this was a Ukrainian train, and I was in first class.
  I'm guessing it's about 6am as the sun was coming up, I still had no confirmation on where I was. I thought I was in Romania, as there were about 100 highrise apartments end on end.   I though well at least it's sunny out, and when I get some food from the train all will be better. Good thing it was +30c the entire way and I "stocked up" on a pack of juicy fruit gum, and 1L of water in Munich.
  I assumed that there would be food and drink on the train, but nooooo  there was nothing... NOTHING AT ALL!  I found myself sucking that gum flavor like a starving Magellan shipmate rounding Cape Horn!  And to think I still had a day to go! The scenic ride from Kosice Slovakia as I found out later, to Livi UA was very beautiful, except for the fact I had no food. I did eventually need the WC, and when I asked the UA conductor guy, he pointed me to piss out between the moving cars !   Uhh, I'll hold it thanks. Instead I opted to piss in my sink that came with the room I had. Great, no water to flush it down, and I wasn't about to use my good potable water, after all I had no idea where I was, or how long until I get there. I didn't even know I was in Slovakia until I saw the Slovak train symbol I was familiar with on a wall at some train station.

  Another wild  event was the changing of the wheels. They have different gauge rails so to ride in UA they need to raise the car up and slide a new set of wheels on. It was really cool to see this happen. Took about 30 minutes, and we were off again! The ride through the Carpathian mountains was very beautiful, someday I'd like to return there. :whistle:

 Photo's are of the following places:

  A park in Munich, I thought this would make an interesting photo as the artist was painting ,and I caputured his painting and the rotonda together.
 
Waiting for my train to leave from where I thought was Romania, however after returning home I noticed it was Slovakia ,the city of Kosice.

  The changing of the wheels, took about 30 minutes.

 Passing a small village in Ukraine while the train winds through the Carpathia mountains.

 


Offline DonA

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2007, 11:22:48 PM »
Hey Don good story. When do we get another dose?

DonAz

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2007, 10:21:08 AM »
Don, like the others I'm waiting for the story to continue!  Also, great photos.


Offline ECR844

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2007, 10:41:33 AM »
"DonHollio,"

   great story, and now after reading it I am glad that my train trip didn't go as difficult as yours did. I look forward to reading the next installment.
ECR844


Offline DonA

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2007, 06:53:41 AM »
Don get on the stick dude and get another segment up for crying out loud!  :(

DonAz

Offline Donhollio

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2007, 11:17:37 AM »
Thanks guys , this long winded version is not something that comes natural to me. I like the facts ,just the facts, so be patient please :)
Anyways continuing on with the iron horse :

A full day on the train and I arrived at Ukraine's border town of Chop. Border checks are taking place, and I am looking at one hot looking female guard. Heels, skirt and everything a young lad remembers when reading Penthouse forum mags!  Anyway, we continue through tunnels that are guarded by machine gun and man. It made me wonder what the hell I was getting into, or was it dehydration from my 1L bottle of water running low?
 I pulled into Winnipeg's sister city of Livi Ukraine at about 6pm. I was taken straight to the ticket window to get my ticket to Odessa. A half hour before on the train, the cabin steward tried in vain to call someone who spoke English. He wanted me to get some help on how to get to Odessa. Finally he got another couple, and they walked me over to the window. There behind the glass sat a really cute brunette who was happy to help me. I gave her my now worn ticket, and than she called a guy over who looked at it, and wrote something on it handing it back to the girl. The brunette replies in a tone of like, "What are you doing, that won't work!"  He mumbles some words to her and walks off.

  Now I'm too worried to walk outside in case I miss the night train to Odessa. So I wonder around the stations platform, when all of a sudden this very patriotic music blares over the speakers! It's flashbacks to cold war propaganda, then at the top of the stairs this man in his 50's is standing there proudly signing the words, and swinging his arms like a parade soldier. It was wild!

 The time finally comes to board and I walk up to the train, holding my ticket in front to the cabin stewards who wave me further down the train. Finally I get the right car (so I thought) and she looks at it and tells me to go to hell. Well at least that's what it felt like. With this rejection I'm back in panic mode! I run back down to the cutie in the window, but she's not there! I bang on the glass and then run to the other window, where I point to another ticket seller get the cutie back to her window!
 A moment later she comes around and has a shocked look on her face! She knows the train is pulling out in minutes, and I need a real ticket fast!  I toss her 100 UAH and she trying so hard to get it done fast she drops her pen and mis types! She gives me 80 UAH back, and  finally I have my ticket and plead with her to help me to the train.

 She closes her window and scrambles to my aid, only as I turn I almost wind up kissing two guards who request my passport. The one guy spoke English and waves me on within a minute. By this time the guy who wrote on my ticket comes around and decides he'll take me up to the train. I thank the cutie, and I board the train with maybe three minutes until it leaves. Inside the air was thick with body odor, and was very humid from the scorching heat of the day.
 I make my way behind my helper and he directs me to the steward. I tell her I don't know where to go, and then I hear a voice in English asking if I need help. I was so relieved when I was in this girls cabin with her aunt and cousin.

 Lena about 26yo had been to America on a work visa. She came back home and really didn't want to leave Ukraine. Seated in the small cabin her aunt and cousin seemed to take to me as if I was a novelty. What I found really nice was the cousin made my bed for me (I had no idea how it all fit together) so I was thankful. I had no food to share with them as I was almost out of water, just a few sips left.
 This was my first night I was able to lay down since getting to Europe. This cabin was much better as it even had air conditioning, however since it works off generators from the rolling wheels, it would heat up fast when the train stopped. I spoke to Lena for a couple of hours, her cousin seemed to be quite curious about this Canuck travelling alone in Ukraine. So while the teenage hardbody was using Lena as a translator and asking me some questions, it proved to be a nice break from the past day.
 
  She may have been 14, or maybe 15, and was asking about my teeth!  This was alittle weird to me, but being polite I just chuckled and brushed it off.  Well she then taps my teeth with her long nails, and I just laughed about it. Glad I had no idea about the general hygiene of the country at the time!    Somewhat embarrassed by the attention of her, I just kept thinking good thoughts, and looked forward to Odessa.

 Morning arrival in Odessa and I tried to call Anna right away. First I stood in line for a payphone, and I got cut in front of constantly. Then I noticed that 5 out of 7 payphones didn't work!  So I kept trying several times, and gave up after about an hour. Frustrated I walked out front of the train station, and showed a taxi driver Anna's address. He told me 15 UAH, I agreed and got in. So the bloody guy drives around the traffic circle and drops me off about a block from the train station!
 There I was in front of Anna's apartment, but couldn't figure out how to find her suite. I also wasn't too keen on knocking on her door, just didn't feel it was right.

  So I walked across the street and bought my first UA (Ukraine) beer! Yeah baby! Nothing better than a beer on a 30c day after taking a train ride from Germany to Ukraine. Saturday afternoon until Monday noon on a litre of water, and a pack of juicy fruit gum!  Nothing better for ya than a cold beer with high alcohol content!
 Now I walk around looking for a telephone to call Anna, I stop to buy bottle of water as the beer is making my head spin. So I casually walk and take a sip of water only to have it spray out of my mouth!  Great it's carbonated!  Who the hell drinks carbonated water I thought?
So now I have a wet shirt, with added embarrassment thrown in for good measure.

 I continue walking and I finally find a payphone, yeah you may of guessed, it was back at the train station...whatever. I finally get her on the phone and she thinks I'm in Germany (I told her I would call her from there,never did)  I tell her I'm in Odessa at the station. She's worried about me being there alone, and tells me to head over to the McDonald's and she'll be there in 20 minutes. Now after all the hours looking at the website, writing, phone calls, there we were, facing each other what for me seemed almost impossible after the trip I had made.

 The Photo's are of Odessa's train station.And some more of the Carpathia mountains . and Odessa's train station.

Offline Donhollio

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2007, 12:48:09 AM »
It really was hard to believe that I got to Odessa unscathed, and seeing Anna for the first time after months of wanting this moment. It was a bonus to hear her speak without all the poor telephone hiss whirls and cracks. Not forgetting the regular dead air, followed by a dial tone.
 So there we were outside the McPatio hugging each other with the smell of transfat in the air!  Before leaving Canada I asked Anna to find me a place to stay. I didn't know that they rented apartments, so I told her to get me a hotel room. Knowing what I know now, it would of been an apartment. Anyways, we head off to the Black Sea Hotel, that is a short five minute walk from the train station.  Anna got me settled in, made sure the phone in my room had a dial tone, and let me be for a while so I could get some desperately needed sleep.

 The phone rings a few hours later and Anna is wanting to know if I was ready to meet up. Hey of course I was! I Didn't come this far just to sleep in this "luxurious suite!"  I told her I haven't ate anything since leaving Munich, and she was shocked! I told her I wanted to eat some chicken, and to sit in a decent place for dinner.

So we walk over to the edge of the street and she holds out her hand for a taxi.  A car stops, and I'm wondering where the taxi sign is. As to me it looked like a Lada, just like the 1500's they sold in Canada. Some words are spoken and we hop in and head to a nice place, turns out I never knew what the place was called until I received my visa statement. To this day I have never seen or heard of a Red Lobster in Odessa.  During dinner we talked about many things, and I tell her how it's nice that we found each other. I expand on by saying since I wrote her first, without her getting my postal letter. Then she writing me from Aweb. To which she replied, "No, I didn't write you."   

What! I couldn't believe it!  I had her explain to me that the agency writes to men ,then asks the girls to write to them. Anna got tired of this dishonest game, and that's why she sent me the, "I already have a guy letter."

  But she was curious to speak with me, and that's why she had the 3-way call. Anna had her fill of men old enough to be her father wanting her, and all the bullshit that comes with it. She even attended a social, and after getting a number pasted to her chest and paraded around, she was disgusted with it all.  Feeling like a whore, she left and wanted to leave the agency behind.

 It was mid July and hot in Odessa +30 everyday, even the beach was too much to handle at times. We spent some time together in the day, then would meet up again in the evening. I got a bit sunburned, and was using what I thought was cream that I purchased days before. It wasn't working very well, infact it didn't work at all but I continued to use it. Then one day while applying the cream, my face began to burn real bad!  I ran to the basin to wash it off, and to my horror it began to lather up on my face! Afterwards I took the tube with me that day and showed Anna, she laughed and told me I had been appling shampoo to my face!
 WTF! It said creme on it! Later that evening her friend Olga brought her 'Olya of Olay' with her for me. I looked at it, and questioned appling women's cream to my face, but it was better than the other 'creme' I bought. So Anna started to apply it right there on the patio, wow it sure felt better!

  I thought Anna was great, she was pretty much what I wanted in a girl. But I was getting the vibe that she didn't feel the same about me.  What was I to do? I had no plan B, no other contacts at all in eastern Europe, and wasn't in the mood to get on a train back to western Europe, via Poland enroute to Germany. So I decided to stay in Odessa, and just enjoy my time with her.
  The nights were spent going to small sea side clubs, and I told Anna to bring a friend as I don't dance. The last thing I wanted was for her to be there and wanting to dance. So she brought along Olga, who was enjoyable company for us. After a very late night, Anna calls me early in the morning to say her mother had to be taken to the hospital, and she couldn't see me today.  It's a tough call, you can't come out and say she's lying to you unless you don't want to ever see her again. So she suggested I hang out in the hotel lobby with the American men on a Aweb social tour. She knew of this because they sent her an invite to the socials.  I tell her I hope her mom will be better soon, and to call me later.

  I went out for a walk, took some photo's, and thought about the situation at hand. Didn't look good in my books, Anna was my only connection here in Ukraine. Without her I was just lost in a country that the only word I knew was 'No.'  Later I headed down to sit in the air conditioning of the lobby where a guy comes in and I can tell he's American. He later takes a seat near me, and we spark up a conversation. He of course was here for the same reasons I was, to find a girl. We got talking and it became clear to me that this guy was a little sick in the head. 50 years old and he had been writing to some Aweb girls, one he wrote to the most was a 18 year old from a nearby town. Then adds he has a 14 year old daughter! I really didn't say much, just kept my thoughts to myself.

 He wanted to get to this Aweb social, and said he was late in arriving, and it was going on right now. I told him a group of guys headed off a few hours ago, but didn't know where they went. But he's determined to get there and asks if I was going. I told him "No way it's $400 I tell him"  He knew it was winding down and said maybe we can just walk in.  So I walk over to another American guy I had met earlier, and asked while he was eating with his date, where this social was. With the directions off we went, and sure enough we walk in.
  It was almost over and these 2 girls at the front stop to say hello to us. I'm just keeping quiet, and he chatting it up. He was really on a mission!  We end up in Arkadia at a seaside cafe. It was quite nice, the one girl Marina was interested in me and gave me her number. Though I never called her and I never saw her again. Meanwhile he was wanting to dump his girl, and try his luck elsewhere. So it's back to the hotel, then back to Arkadia, reason was we didn't know where anything was. Normally I'd be not into it, but when your alone in a different country and you have nothing to do, you go.

 The night ended without any luck, and the following day he was off to his other social city. I had called Anna that night from Arkadia, telling her that I was going to go to Zakota for a couple of days. I couldn't handle the noise of the city centre any longer. I was getting hypertension, and needed to do something besides walk to the beach in Odessa. I figured if her mum was sick and had no time for me ,than I may as well see something else.  Anna didn't take this very well, infact it was met with a dead line .
  No matter I went anyway the following morning. Zakota is a beach resort with great clean beaches, and small cottages to stay in.  I got the luxury suite that had it's own bathroom!  Getting there was by taxi, and I was greeted by some very friendly staff, who seemed very surprised to see a Canuck travelling alone. Hitting the beach solo isn't the greatest, most of the people there were families so I relaxed and pondered my trip thus far.

 If your in Odessa and want to take your girl to this place, she will know of it. There's even a mini bus that leaves the train station regularly.

 So after two days in Zakota, I returned to the Black Sea hotel. I called up Anna to see how things were going with her mum. To put it politely, she was cold, colder than a north wind blowing in January. I saw my Zakota trip as a small get away while she was tending to her mum. She on the other hand saw this as a stupid move on my part, and said she was busy and hung up!  WTF!!!  Ok I sat down on the edge of my tiny bed, and contaplated my next move.  Going through it in my head went something like this.

#1- I just pissed off the only girl I know in Europe.

#2- I had no back up plan.

#3- I had a few more days to kill before my return flight to Canada.

#4- There was no way I was going to take a train back through Europe to Germany.

So I did what every loser tourist would do without a plan... I walked and walked and walked. Got lost for hours, and it didn't matter because I was killing time. Then I noticed on a pole a poster that said something along the lines of learning English. On the poster I noticed the word Canadian, and thought I'd give this school a call. Turns out a guy named Guy, owned the school and once hailed from Montreal. Well just my luck, I travel 1/3 around the world and find a Quebecker!  Well I put my political differences aside, the way I saw it he couldn't be all that bad if he left Quebec.  Guy and I chatted for hours down at his school, he was excited to speak to another Canuck, and even spoke of his dismay for the way the French screwed up Quebec. We continued until 2am, having some beers and agreed to keep in contact.

  My plane was leaving at 2pm the following day, I had a couple of hang ups from Anna since my Zakota return. I figured I better go over and see if she would at least say goodbye to me. I made my way to her apartment and as I'm approching she was walking out of these big steel doors. I thought great, what timing!  I called her name and she looks over. Their wasn't much reaction from her, a little bit surprised I was there, and somewhat wondering what to do next.
  I told her I was sorry, and didn't think she'd be so mad at me for leaving. She asked me when I was leaving, and I told her in a few hours. Than she says she has to go, turns and walks towards a mini bus. I follow and hand her a stupid map of the world. She had told me earlier didn't have a globe, and I couldn't find one days earlier, so this big poster was the best I could do. What was I thinking,this thing was huge. I give it to her anyway ,and she continues towards the mini bus. I ask her to stay, but she says her mother waits for her to visit.  I reply, "So that's it? " Anna turns and walks towards me giving a farewell kiss on my cheek. Seconds later shes gone. I'm standing there feeling like a Hollywood moment has just happened, and I'll never see this girl again.

 I watched that mini bus go down the street until it disappeared. I return to my hotel, packed up, and head for the taxi ride to the airport. Things got so much better for me as I got the time wrong, and was at Odessa airport 4 hours before my flight. Great waste another 2.5 hours while I'm at it. Landing back at Munich was like stepping into a different world, the differences were unreal. For starters my ears weren't ringing from not hearing the noise of Odessa's centre. There is a sense of order and calmness that I found in Munich.

  I waited for my plane to board, and pondered my time spent in Europe. I hadn't seen any castles, didn't use my Polish visa at a cost of $100. Annoyed the girl I based my entire trip on. So all in all, it seemed like a wee bit of a waste, however I didn't regret it at all. Upon my return to Canada, everyone wanted to know if I was married.  Some were thinking she would do whatever it took to get me to marry her, after all they know what those girls are like...whatever.  When I told my stories of the train travel and pissing her off they thought I was nuts!  But I vowed to return again, and this time I will tour western Europe and continue looking in eastern Europe.

  A couple of months passed without any communication with Anna. I suppose I was waiting for her to cool off.  Than one day I decided to call her, she was nice to me and we had a nice talk. No future visits or any plans were discussed. But we were at least on speaking terms.

 That was my first trip.

 Photo's are :   

                       My hotel room, I hope it was the economy room.$40p/n
                     

                       The beach in Zakota,and of course the dude tanning his pubic patch
                       

                       Leaving Europe behind











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Offline alenika

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2007, 01:34:55 AM »
Don.. don't know if you want comments on this.. But if you still wondering where you made mistake and if she made mistake judging you too strictly. I think it was your mistake still.
I'll try to explain: As I understood you communicated and liked each other, it was serious step to visit her, she waited for you, there was some level of lcloseness between you two which means care of each other.
I understand you could consider her behavious as cold, but as you tell she had sick mother. And.. you know if I visited a man and if he had sick mother I'd try to help him and wouldn't require and expect him to spend all the  time with me. And in case if I offered help but it would appear that it couldn't be accepted then only in this case I'd think how to spend time somewhere alone and maybe have fun.

On your place I'd ask her if you can somehow help her, maybe accompany her to hospital. I don't mean financial support btw. But maybe go with her, help with buying food - as here people usually take food when go to those who are in hospital.
If she worked this all was not easy for her at all. And if she used minibus but not taxi it was even more difficult - therefore she had to restrict herself in spending, had to carry maybe heavy things in hands. Do you at least know what exactly was sickness of her mother?
I close eyes to see better

Offline Donhollio

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2007, 07:39:04 PM »
 I did ask if there was anything I could do,but Anna declined any help. I have since found out that her mom does have some health problems, so doubting her honesty was my own paranoia.
 Thanks it's always nice to get a FSU womans opinion  :)
 

Offline Donhollio

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2007, 06:39:55 PM »
Fast forward to spring 2004, I'm still searching the agencies, getting a little better at it (I thought). In hindsight I wished I had remembered about a forum that I found one evening. However I had forgotten all about it, and didn't recall even reading a single post, Oh how this could of saved me a lot of time, and $100.
I moved my search onto Globalladies I think, and Family Plus (scam agency)
I began writing to several girls and it quickly went down to two then one. But things over at Free Personals date site were going good, well so I thought. I was itching to return to Europe, and determined to see the sites that I missed the year before. So in October I found a $500 fare Montreal to Brussels return, taxes in. I took it, and began plotting my western Euro tour.
The girls were to be a second to the sites this time, history was to be first. So it was to be 4 weeks in Europe, with 3 girls to meet in UA. My friends thought I was nuts. But it just gave me more determination, after all the more someone pisses me off, the less I listen.  I set out to show them I will succeed!  Uhh yeah well still working on that. So did I have a back up? ..... No, I thought my time spent in Western Europe, will be my back up. If I hit it off with one of the girls: all the better. I even had scuba diving and mountain biking in Crimea on the list. So if nothing worked out, I always have some activities to do.

  I land in Brussels Belgium on a beautiful autumn day, and I walk out of the airport with no idea what to do next. Or for that matter. Eventually I managed to navigate my way how to get to where some of The Great War history was made. I went to see Tyne Cot, it's the commonwealths largest war cemetery. I have to say it was shocking to see this place knowing that each cross was a young man who had his entire life in front of him. These guys were younger than me, and I tried to put my mindset at their ages, and how differently I would have viewed going off to "kick the Gerry's ass."
 My life at 25 was all about girls and having a good time. There's was a war with British aristocrats plotting the battles, with little regard for human life. So I also visited the, "In Flanders Fields Museum."  It was good to see the schools were taking the kids to see this place.  While in Belgium I went to a battle that was a turning point in the war, Passchendaele. At the time it was a small bombed out town on elevated land. At the time a Canadian general said to take this town it will cost the lives of 16 000 men. He wasn't far off the mark, in fact he was off by less than 350. (see photo)

http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/canada-europa/brussels/passchendaele/battle-en.asp

 I stood at the monument for the Canadians who took it that day in 1916, and then walked around to see what 16,000 CDN dead was all for. It was shocking to see this small rolling area having a death toll so high, and that was just for that battle. Back on the bus, and to find a place to sleep and eat. I had also wanted to see a few castles, and upon asking at an info booth, the man handed me a pamphlet, and told me it was easy to get to. Alright!  So I headed off in the direction he told me, and as I was reading the info it said the castle was closed for renovations. I guess that's to be expected when you tour around in the off season.

  I was lacking in sleep and headed off to the local hostel. Got a bad night’s sleep, and in the morning took off to France. In keeping with the WW 1 theme it was to be a stop at the Canadian war memorial, Vimy Ridge. During the war the French & British both tried to take it, but failed. I suppose the way the British thought back then was to give it to the colonies to get slaughtered. This was the must see site on this European holiday, as was the Menin Gate, and Passchendaele ridge.
 The border between France and Belgium is indistinguishable, and you move without border checks. It was great to see these sites, and strongly recommend it to anyone.

  Getting off the train in the town of Vimy was shocking to say the least! (see photo) Before I could get any idea of what I walked into, the train was gone! After getting my bearings, I made my way up to the local shops to ask for directions. One shop   keeper was surprised that I would walk up to the monument, and after doing so I could see her point. Little did I know it was to be a 2 hour trek up hill. But I figured I'd keep my bitching to a minimum as the guys who died on this ridge went through way more than my walk to the park; kind of put it in perspective for me anyways. France was so grateful to Canada that it gave them this land. And to this day it remains the only Canadian park outside of Canada. I spent a few hours touring the park, and it was near closing, so I thought this maybe a good time to look for a place to eat and sleep for the night. 

  I got a ride down the ridge by a local who will drive Canadians up to the park from the train station. Now why wasn't he there when I departed the station? Well he was there, but I walked out and turned right, and he was sitting in his car on the left side. I headed via rail to Ypres, found a small place to eat, and inquired if there was a place to sleep. It was about 8pm, and the town was closing down for the night from what I could tell.  Yeah, you may be wondering,"doesn't this guy plan these trips out"? Uhh no. But hell, ya only live once! Luck was on my side, and a patron in the restaurant/bar owned a hotel! 40 Euros and a ride to the hotel, I'll take it!

  It was the best night’s sleep I had in days, even though the room was so narrow that the door hit the single bed when you opened it!  But it was in the town square, and I couldn't be too fussy.
 So it was at this time I decided to see Paris, and get in at least one bloody castle.  Why I went to Paris I still question, I knew a guy who lives there, but never bothered to call him up.
 This time I had a hostel room booked, and I later went to the centre and had the worst food in years at a place that calls itself a restaurant. 14 Euros for roast chicken and a beer.  But I should of known before even eating that it was going to be bad. While I was drinking my beer and taking in all the city noise, I noticed the "chef" walking across the street to get my chicken at a rotisserie outlet!  Yeah!  Can't wait for that Parisian renowned food experience!
  As you may of guessed it was pathetic, only made worse by all the noise, and I couldn't help but wonder why these people brag about what a great city it is.
 In October they have a celebration of "White Nights."  From what I could tell it was them turning all the lights on the tower, and some other stuff. I didn't really care, but just walked around until I noticed a small rush towards the subway entrance. It caught my attention, and it soon turned into a mass exodus!  I thought to myself ,''they can't be running the last subway trains at this time could they?"   It was a Saturday night and a festival going on. The place was packed, and they shut it all down at midnight? 

Well within a minute the exodus turned into a full out sprint for the subway!
 Thinking I better follow, I went down, looked at the subway layout, got confused, hopped on one train, and realised it wasn't the one I needed than went to get off. Too bad the driver didn't think I should, and the doors slammed on my arm while I was standing on the platform!  As it started to pull away the idiots, err riders just looked as I tore my arm free, I realised just how much I hated this place!!!

  Early next morning, I made my way back to the train station, and headed back to some normal city.  Now if you have never been to Paris, go and you'll know exactly what I speak of. I thought I'd get a train to Germany from Belgium, and when I got to the ticket window in Belgium, she informed me I'd have to catch that train to Berlin in, yup you may of guessed........ Paris . OK so back on the TGV, cool train it does like 300 km/h! Tilts into curves and take about an hour to Paris. I finally get my ticket to Berlin and set off in due time.

 Yah!!! Berlin comes at a late hour. Since I have no watch, I noticed it was after midnight. Great: nothing like looking for a hostel in a new city after hours, and in eastern Germany.   For those who have not been to Germany, the east and west is noticeable still by the general run down condition of the landscape, trains and vehicles. There's also a lot more graffiti, and you just know you’re not in Munich.
 I find the hostel quite easily, and the dimly lit streets again remind me that this is not the best Germany has to offer.
 I had some things on my itinerary to see, mostly WW 2 and the rise of Hitler's Germany. I took off to find some food to eat, as it had been a long day, and found the golden arches in the train station to be just what I needed.  I walked around for a couple of hours taking some photos, and questioning whether it was safe to walk the streets of Berlin after midnight.

 Photos of:
 

Tyne Cot cemetery
Passchendaele
Vimy's train station , monument and some of the battlefields
Berlin


 Is this getting boring for you to read yet ?  It's been a ball breaker trying to write it, so if you want me to speed it up, just tell me .....please !!!
 OK if not Ukraine is coming up shortly!

Offline alenika

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2007, 03:59:13 AM »
<<< waiting for Ukraine  :smokin:
I close eyes to see better

Offline Donhollio

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2007, 06:04:00 PM »
Berlin ! What a great city !  I have never been on that circle road that Manny speak so much about ,as I was without wheels and relied solely on public transit.
 At my hostel I browsed through the bookstand ,and saw some tours one can take. Like I mentioned I wanted WW2 history,and found a no fee tour, you simply tip the guide what you feel is fair. i also checked my email, as I had yet to hear from Victoria in Kharkov about meeting me.  We had very little correspondence, but as I said earlier this trip was the sites first and girls second. So I was happy to see she emailed, however she claimed she had found love already and we would not be meeting. Bummer. :(

  I thought to myself, now that's 2 girls in Kharkov who disappeared before I would get there. In her brief email she went on to say she had a friend who saw my photo, and wanted to meet. The i-net connection was very slow, and the photo of her friend was huge! More than the full screen !
  As it slowly developed before me starting at her blonde hair, and working down, I began to think this Victoria isn't such a bad girl after all for not wanting to meet . As Oksana became visible, I totally forgot Victoria, and began to pant ! :P
  Holy shit  I said !  All the pre writting crap was done and she gave me her number and to call her upon arrival  ;D   Well now I was looking forward to Kharkov and meeting her.  More on her later.

 Om the walking tour we walked to various Nazi sites, post WW2 aftermath, the wall, Hitlers bunker, the chancellery, even the Jewish memorial that was behind schedule,and tainted in controversy.  As you can see in the photo, they are tombs cast in a special concrete. One thought arose during this is how to keep vandals from spray painting on them. The answer was a chemical added to the mix and when any paint is applied, it simply runs off. So they began making these and some investigation into the company revealed that it was the same company that made the cyclone B gas that was used against the Jews, political prisoners,and anyone else viewed to be not worthy.
  While it was embarrassing , it was pointed out that many companies back during that era did work for the Nazi party. So  work continued,and I believe last year it was finally opened to the public.
 
 Good tour except I have this thing about Australian girls accents. No it doesn't send me wanting to be surrounded by them, infact it drives me nut's !  Don't ask why, I'm damaged :laugh: So on the walking tour this one OZ girl wouldn't shut up !  She just kept babbling on about the other western European countries she had been to. I did my best to stand as far away from her while still in ear shot of the American guide. 
 After the tour she tipped him 1 full Euro ! Just as she apparently said she would.  Nice now FO ! :antagonize:
 
 So I headed back to the hostel and headed out to see some more of the city.  I took some more photo's and called it a early night, Now in this hostel I booked a single room, so I had very little interaction with other travellers. It can be good and bad ,depending on your idea of travelling.
 For me it was getting boring, walking , eating, taking trains all by myself, doesn't take long to make you want to change the pace quick.  The following morning I was off to the train station  to board  the iron horse to Krakow Poland !

  While I was sad to leave Germany and all it's perfect running trains ,planes, just about everything was so clean and efficent. To this day I still remark to others about the clockwork presion of that country. You can stand at the platform looking down the track for the train that is suppose to be there in 20 seconds and theres no site of it at all. Yet with seconds to spare it rolls in exactly to the second !

 Leaving Germany through the town of Frankfurt on main, one can see how the east still has a long way to become as modern, as the western part of the country.
 The Polish trains were much more basic , however the price was nothing compared to the western countries.  Now I was feeling like I just left a more familiar culture, and entered into a much different scene. While getting tossed around in semi comfort of 2nd class I reflected on how the Iron curtain really kept these countries from becoming all what they could have.

 I pulled into Krakow and night had fallen, great another effort to find a place in the dark :( I had with me another hostel  to stay at. So walking out I find a taxi driver to get me there. Turns out the place is closed, permanently ! :o Ohh oh, here I go again :chuckle: So my rally car taxi driver whips me through the streets of Krakow to find another hostel. Again this one has no beds left ! :o :o
 
  He's speaking to the girl and finding out where other hostels are, and finds one near the castle..... whew !  I give him a decent tip that would make the Ozzy chick think I lost my mind. It made him very happy, and made me happy that he found somewhere for me.   Now this hostel was a party palace ! There must of been 20 people from all over the world, mostly from English countries, and even some of the female staff were making the most of it  :bow:
 I met 2 Canucks, one guy was about to finish his world tour. he started in Japan, than went to China, Russia , Mongolia, the Stans and a host of other countries along the way. All by train,and road, I asked him about the trans Siberian railway, and while he liked it , he told me they have yet to get it right for tourism. You don't say ?   You buy your ticket ,but if you decide the 10 day trip isn't something you want to do without stopping and seeing things along the way, you need to keep buying tickets. Well maybe one day it'll change.
  Another guy had his grandfather in the Great War,and  told me he was a Vimy vet.  Injured 3 different times ,he was sent back to fight another day :(
I asked if he had gone to see Vimy ridge and he hadn't. I told him he should, but he didn't seem to interested.

 I also met 2 Brits and 2 Ozzy's ,happy to say they were guys  ;) So after the Brit makes some comment to the Ozzy about his family being a criminal. I just said to him something along the lines of ,"  Yeah to get shipped to a warm country year round, without having to choke on the coal smoke and cloudy days. Personally I'd be robbing granny's ! :laugh:"

 So the commonwealth troupe + 1 Yank headed off to a local pub. The place was something out of Transylvania !  Wow!  Now were all having a beer,and the 2 Brits and Ozzy guys start drinking........... I had heard about drinking at the football games and this was like one of them. They were yelling and yelling ! It was getting embarassing :-[ the Yank looks at me ,I look at him with a WTF  is this all about, and the rest of the locals are looking at us like FO !

 So being typically Canadian, we sit back and keep quiet. Well a few minutes later, we get word that their not serving us anymore and want all of us to leave  :(
 What a scene, having a few beers in a foreign land with some other foreigners, and were kicked out of Dracula's den :'(
 So we finish up the night in the hostel kitchen, where one of the girl's on staff seemed to be enjoying her English lessons. :chuckle:

 OK, next day I head to the bus station, and I'm wanting to get to the death camps Auchwichs and Berkanow :reading:
 Couldn't figure out how to get a ticket, and as I walk out to the parking lot I see the bus pulling away. Dam wonder when the next one is?  Back inside a guy walks up and asks if I need a ride there, says he does this for a living and it's 30 or 60 euros I think there and back ,with visits to both places. Well I'm not going to sit around here waiting for the next bus, and take him up on his offer.

 He's quite proud gives me a bit of history along the way,and even shows me happy customers notes praising his services. I wanted to get on a night train to Ukraine ,so wasting hours wasn't going to be on the intinary.
 Now he had a older Mercedes, but it was in good shape. It needed to be ,for the way he drove, a beater would of grenaded long ago !  :) After seeing the museum and camps ,he drove me back to town. It was my first Polish road experience. I still think about that half car half wagon thing hauling a load of coal. Some crazy shit  :P

 I got on the night train to Kiev. Dam this was a nice train, even had a shower on it !  I really thought maybe it was going west not east, but hey what's the worst that could happen ?  So I was bunked in with a father son combo, and they did their best to guide me through the process. This trip I took a translation machine, but it proved too useless.
 
 Hitting the UA border the border patrol asks me how much money I have.  I show her and she stamps my passport and off she goes. That was the only question she asked. In 2004 Poland had not switched to the euro, I didn't know this and had I think 100-150 euro's on me. It had been a few days since I had needed it.  By morning the train was coming into Kiev,this was my first time to the capital, I had planned earlier on going to Chernobyl ,but the tour company said you couldn't take photo's while there, so I backed out.

 Most of my friends think I have a warped sense of travel ideas. Death camps , war sites, and the worlds largest nuclear accident.  Most talked about sipping wine in Paris and shopping .......... yeah I can just see it now , "Oh look this is made in China too ,just like back home !"  Oh shit ya gotta get it ! ::)
 " Two please"  :'(
I had no ideas as to what I wanted to see in Kiev, girls ??  Ohh yes  but they are everywhere  ;D I had none to meet here and didn't even try. First I needed a place to stay,and again tried to ask the duo if they knew of a hotel.
Just before the train is about to stop the father jumps up, has me look out the window, and points to this sign , Hotel !  :laugh: 
 I thank him and head off the train to the hotel up the street from the station. $55 a night for a washroom down the hall, ohh well  I could always plan things better ,and get more value for my travel dollar,errr  grevna. The duo also gave me a number of a woman they said could help me. No a-holes not that kind of woman, a tour guide.

I met up with her the next day after spending a night hanging out at the Pub around the corner, and the Potato House. Yeah I'm a wild one ! :party0031:
 Next day I call up the guide,and we go for a walking tour of some sites. She's the curator of the One Street Museum,in the tourist zone. Later her coworker takes over, and we go buy me a ticket to Kharkov for that night.
 Dam was I happy to have her with me, I couldn't imagine trying this solo at the time. But when you need to get it handled it's always possible I found out :)

 I ask her if she could call Oksana and let her know I'll be there the next day. She tries and the dam number isn't right  :'( Some other girl answers and says it's not Oksana, yet the numbers I wrote down were her number.
Ohh oh  :laugh: So now what ? Go to Kharkov and have no girls to meet , not even a Plan B,and I have no clue what I'll do. Well I attempt to spark up some convo with the guide,and I ask her what her plans for the weekend are.  She says "Nothing" Uhh spending time with your man I ask ?
 "My husband is dead"    :o  So I just never bothered to converse with her after that. She was trying to hear the platform call over the PA ,and I guess she heard it and grabbed me and off we went !  She helped me on the train and told the conductor to take care of me because I  don't speak Russian.  And that's when a man in the car next to me, spoke in English saying he'll watch over me :) That man was Vova, he drove a Volga BTW   :chuckle: I dunno it was funny at the time.

  We got to talking and he asked me where I was from, I told him Canada.  He said his wife and him were just returning from the  Canadian embassy in Warsaw.  8) I asked why he goes to Warsaw and not Kiev , Vova said you get treated better in Warsaw. So he offered me a beer and told me that he will get me to a hotel,and even pick me up the next day to do some siteseeing. He's a good guy, I mean I never would think of doing this for a stranger, it just didn't seem normal to me at the time. Today I know I would :)

 I show Vova the hotel I will go to  The National , not good he says.  But tells me it's not the nicest ,but it will be fine. The train arrives at about 5-6 am and his son is waiting with his girlfriend to pick them up. Now there's 5 of us in the Volga with luggage to make it a tight fit  but hey ,this is first class treatment in my books ! :king: So I get to the hotel and Vova tells me he'll come by tommorow to get me, and we will get my train ticket to Sevastopol. I tell him I'm here to meet a girl ,and he offers to have her come along as well. Ok this could be awkward,but what the hell !

 The next day I call from my suite ::) BTW the floor she stuck me on was under heavy construction ,and I just laughed it off ! It didn't work, I went to a i-net cafe and emailed her. I also tried calling from the cafe,and nothing. At this point life was starting to suck , here this little hottie was in this city wanting to meet me , and I can't call her.  After a volley of emails, and she's repeating the exact number back to me, I told her via email I was at the National hotel, full name and room number.  I  head back to my room, and waited for the call.  Nothing, downstairs and no calls have come in. Shit ! Now I'm getting tired and head back to the cafe. She has replied to my email saying something like I don't know the number at the hotel  :'( :'( :'(  and how is she suppose to know it.  Phonebook I thought  :P but maybe those aren't here in UA. So I go get a biz card from the hotel walk back and send her the number.  On my casual walk back, I guess she called  :'( :'( :'(  Again I try, but still no good . I head down to the clerk who is still working ever since I arrived at 5 or 6 am. it's now mid afternoon and I ask her if she takes a break. ' I work 24hr shift she tells me" :o
 Wow ! that's not good no wonder she was sleeping in the back when I first arrived,along with the "security" men. So in a last vain attempt I ask her if she can try Oksana's number. She call's  Oksana answers !  :party0011:  I have the clerk tell her to come meet me in the lobby. " Ok , she will be here in 1 hour "  :bow: I thank her, and go but on my best Stanfeild's  :laugh:.

  I wait in the lobby and Vova walks in, I tell him she's late and can I have a another 30 minutes. If she still hasn't come we'll leave.  Vova goes and Oksana arrives !  Man what a little honey !  We sit in the lobby and have a little talk about things. Than like clockwork Vova returns, I take him up on his offer to ride around the city with her. Kinda cool I suppose ??? I have a sweet girl in the car ,and I'm fielding questions from the man. But he was also doing some translation work, and at the time I thought she needed it. But it turned out she knows English very well. We spent a few hours walking in the park,and after getting a train ticket we went for a drink. It was at this time I found out Vova had planned on me coming for dinner,and now what ?  I told Oksana he has been very nice to me ,and even though I really wanted to see her, I couldn't be rude to him.  It was ok I still had 2 weeks before I needed to return to Brussels for my flight back home, and I could come back to see her before I left.  She get's a taxi, and I offer to pay her way home,all she needed was 20 grevna ,but I only had 100's left.  Ohh well here you go girl I only met a few hours ago :chuckle: Not even a kiss on the cheek. 

 So back to Vova's home and a dinner with vodka shot's. I bowed out after 1 as I just didn't think it was a good idea. After dinner we talked some more,and told him we must keep in touch. His was due to come to Canada in 6 months.
  His wife came with us to the train station,and helped me board the right car and get into my cabin. Again I offered him some money, but he just waved it off, I just thought what a great guy, to be this friendly to me.
 
I'm tired of typing ,here's some photo's.

 Jewish memorial
 The remade Checkpoint charlie
 Cool looking building with the top broken off
 and the rest are from Auchwitz
Front gate
 Gas chamber
And the barracks 3 per bed

Offline Rim

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2007, 07:49:28 PM »
You went half way around the world to drink vodka with a man instead of going out with a hot girl?

Are you broken?  :chuckle:




Offline Donhollio

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2007, 11:36:30 PM »
Don't worry Rim it gets worse! :chuckle:
 
  I arrive in Sevastopol, it's a warm October morning,and I had a beer from the night before still unopened in my only bag. ( You know in case some thing comes up where drinking is mandatory) :innocent:
I forgot I had this in the bag until I saw the beer flowing out the bottom and onto the concrete. Now all my clothes were smelling like some guy who bathed in beer, and I still had yet to call the landlady for the apartment.
 Now here's the reason any guy travelling to a FSU country should buy a phone and SIM card as soon as he arrives. I walk over to one of the kiosks and do my best to buy a card. She sells me one ,and I walk over to the phone,it's all in Ukrainian and I knew only three words, yes / no / thanks. So I dial and of course its not working,all I get is some recording. Eventually I get it to work and speak to Manita, but time runs out !
What I know now is the kiosk chick sold me a card... her card >:(
 It wasn't in plastic and had only about 2 minutes on it. So I walk over to another place and buy a new card,and getting the directions seems too difficult so I frantically wave over a taxi driver, who was waiting for a fare. They converse and I'm off !

 Manita works as a guide and interpreter in Sevastopol ,taking trips daily to Yalta. We meet and I get settled in, first things first I rinse out my bag and hang it outside to dry. I shake out the broken glass from my clothes and rinse clean the wet stuff.

 I had only one girl to meet here,and when I called the agency they said they will call her and arrange a meeting. I let most of the day pass before a follow up call to check on the meeting. Now you will here stories as to why it's vital to get her personal information,and not let an agency control all flow of emails and telephone calls.
  I call back asking if she knows I'm here as I wrote in emails via the agency that I will be coming this week. They tell me they haven't gotten in contact with her yet,and will let me know as soon as they do. Now I'm getting alittle annoyed,and I ask her for her telephone number. The reply is we don't give that info out to protect their clients,and I have to get that from her when I see her.

 I tell them she knows I'm coming I wrote her weeks ago and told her. They brush it off and tell me to wait until they call. That was a Monday, Tuesday rolls around and still nothing, I call again and now red flags are waving in my face. I know that something is up ,and I want to find out what it is.
So I place a call to Manita and ask if I can hire her for a few hours. Wednesday comes and shes at my door, asking what it is she can help out with. I tell her my story and she has never heard of "Family Plus".
 All I have is the agencys address and we head off, Manita tells me to wait in the taxi and she will go inside and see what the place is like. A few minutes later she comes out and tells me its a conselling centre :o
But says we should go in and find this girl's where abouts, hey I'm all for it !

 I walk in to this dinky little stall err "office" 3 PC's and 3 females working away at who knows what. The look on their faces were ... well lets just say a deer in the headlights would be a good way to sum it up :chuckle:
 I tell them who I am and ask where she is. More BS starts and than the old woman starts in on Manita in Russian and they go at it for about 5 minutes. Finally when it's over manita says they will talk to me only if she leaves the room. I tell her it's ok and she will be just outside the door.

 Only one bitch spoke English to me,and they start in telling me there protecting her from "Guys like me". Like me ??
Yes guys who come to meet many girls and are not serious. Uhh , I'm here am I not ? How much more serious can I get than this ? I'm being too nice of a guy,throughout this interrorgation, acusations fly I think it was about 20 of them ,and I finally ask if she even exsists. "Yes she does Don" Now I knew they were pissed off before I even arrived in UA because they offered to book me in an apartment , but I chose to do it my way and not use them.
 So her parting words to me were, "Don I suggest you go find her yourself" Ohh ok :evilgrin0002: I comment on the nice office, and walk out.

  I breifly told Manita what they had told me, and I said all I know about her is that she goes to some university for economics,and was in her 3rd year.
" I know where that place is , let's go and find her ! " I was willing to drop it,but what the hell I guess stalking laws have yet to come to this country.
 The two of us enter into the admin office ,and now I'm feeling really weird about all this. But kinda excited at the same time. I was doubting if she even knew I was alive,and would freak out if she and I met. But Manita tells them the story and to my suprise they start going through the school records with photo's attached. They come across her name and show me her photo." Yup that's her" I tell Manita, and next thing I know is were heading up the stairs to her class room :o

  Now I'm really really having second thoughts about the next possible unfolding minutes.
1st case senerio : She is happy to see I beat out the agency and found her. That would be wishful thinking, but hey I may as well try to think positive.

2nd case senario : She has no clue who I am ,and Im looking like a loser who came to see this fictious girl. The second one is running in my mind, but we go to the door and asks if shes in.
Whew !! not here,a classmate tells us she's expected tommorow I think... it's been awhile and I forget some details :duh: Anyways I return for reasons still unknown to me at this time, and I wait outside the classroom for her to come out. I was planning on not approaching her, but waiting to see if she notices me as she walks by.
 I guess I was curious and bloody bored after almost 3 weeks of being in Europe. So all the class exits and shes not in there, I than ask a classmate of hers if she'll be back . One girls hands me her cell number ! :o Again I was shocked by this casual release of information, but I took the number and went back to my apartment.
Walking up the steps I notice that my bag is gone ! It had been only about 5c the past week in crimea and the bag was slow to dry. So now I got screwed by a scam agency, had my bag stolen,and the weather was too windy to go scuba diving. I'm thinking it's getting better by the hour :chuckle:

 I call Manita that evening after a long walk down the main street to McD's,and tell her my latest delema.
 She offers....... ready Rim ? ..... To send her 12yo son over the next day,to take me to a market to buy a new bag. I was greatful and she asked how I made out with my girl. I tell her all I have is her cell number from a classmate, but the phone in the flat won't connect the call. I should also add the school gave her this girls home number too. And when I called it I got the mom one time and the dad. Both said she wasn't home.

  I think Manita saw me as a decent guy,and told me she'll send Danny over to bring me to her place and she'll call the number for me. In talking to the mother she informed her that she'll be home on the Moscow train at such a time. I think it was a few days away, as Danny was acting as my travel guide,and was a great historian on the crimea war. He has so much charm, that I hope he puts it to good use. He'll be 16 by now and I'm tempted to call up and see how he's doing.

 So, Danny found me a new bag and haggles a price with the lady ,I think she was just so taken with his charm that she dropped about 30 UHA off the price. At least thats whats I got from the grin on her face.
  In return he was eyeing up some sneakers before ,and I offered to buy them for him for all his help over the past couple of days. He wasn't too comfortable in my offer and declinded it. So I offered instead to take him to McD's for some lunch,he was happy for that and off we went.
  Inside he ordered a big mac a first for him, at a table next to us these woman overheard our English, and turns out they were from Canada. Well Danny speaks up and the 50yo+ ladies are completely taken by him ! WTF !! Give some to me kid ! :laugh: I have never seen it before ,and have yet to see this since, the kid had a gift with the ladies.
   The next day Danny wanted to come by and take me to this swap market that deals in war memorbilia. There I met a guy from UK who was in the same regiment as those crimean soldiers. I later comment to his mom he is a real pistol with the ladies, and she says "I know, I know I'm told all the time"

 So the morning of the train comes and I'm minutes too late in getting there,most everyone is off and long gone. Shitty I thought ,but I do have the cell number,and decided WTF I'll call it and see what is going on. I figured maybe the agency was keeping her in the dark as both parents had said when she'll be home and Manita did mention I had come to meet her. But when I called she kept say "nyet nyet". I asked if she understood English, and she says " No" Okay she hung up and that was it.

  My day trip scuba diving to Balacava was disappointing, as there was only clam shells 3" thick covering the bottom of the sea bed. My mountain biking trip was also off as Sergey wanted 160 euros for one day! I like biking ,but not at that price for 4 hours down a hill. I can go to BC and do it in away better setting.
 I was thinking of little Oksana ,and my time in Sevastopol was nearing it's end.

 Manita decided to try and set me up with some girls she knows figuring why not, I have wasted about a week here already as far as doing what I had hoped . Scuba and a day trip to Yalta by bus were the highlights so far.
 I should of gone to a market and bought a fall coat as I only had this rather ratty looking fleece that had lost all it warmth a thousand washes ago. So I decided to just wear a long sleeve shirt. It wasn't too bad, but I never prepare for much ,and this was one of them.

 I met Inna, she was a very nice girl,and we had a pleasent time,but nothing was going to continue,so that killed one evening. Another short night out was with Manita and some girl who spoke no English. She had black hair and a kid ,so it was more for a night out than anything else.

 So to summerise I am without a girl ,no biking,somewhat bored, bad scuba, no coat, oh and I got robbed of 100 or 150 euros in Kiev. But I was enjoying hanging out with this kid, even took in a football game he was playing in. Ok that was kinda boring, but glad to take in some UA culture all the same.

 Oksana and I emailed each other since our meeting earlier in Kharkov,and I decided to go back and see her for my final 4 or 5 days,before flying back to Brussels.
 Since no one seems interested in blowing up my photo's so far ,I'll post girls.
 Ray Davies once sung ," You Gotta Give the People What They Want"
So that's what I'll do ;)

 This is Oksana and I infront of the Kharkov train station.

Offline Rim

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2007, 09:36:52 AM »
Don,
You're photo with the lady made me think of something I once heard an FSU woman say:
"Why do Westerners all look like peasants?"

Fortunately I wasn't the subject of the conversation, but that is how most FSU women see Western men who come to visit them in blue jeans and t-shirts.

FSU women 101: Dress nice. Wear some nice wool slacks and a sweater with a fashionable shirt. Get a nice (I mean very nice) winter coat. You're spending tens of thousands of dollars in your pursuit of happiness but if you don't come dressed for the part then you're wasting your money.

If you're from America then get some mens fashion magazines because you probably don't know what you're doing.  :chuckle:

Remember that you're looking for a real woman, and this is what a real woman will want.


Offline Donhollio

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2007, 10:50:03 AM »
Don,
You're photo with the lady made me think of something I once heard an FSU woman say:
"Why do Westerners all look like peasants?"


 :laugh:  Yeah that thought did occur to me on this trip. Summer was over and that was all I had to wear in +5c weather, but Susha was warm :-*
 I tend to dress better now though marginally, I figure if they want to live in North America they may as well see we all dress like slobs ;D
 The worse off you are financially the more likely you are to dress better, if your from a economically deprived country.
 Cubans are a perfect example . No paint inside their homes just grey concrete,yet they dress up to the 9's .
 Far be it for me Rim to fake my wardrobe to get a girl.
 Point taken Rim

Online Markje

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2007, 12:25:01 PM »
Someday... maybe I will write my own .... very good reading Don.
You can change anything in life, but a BMW only for a BMW
My first trip to my wife: To Evpatoria!
My road trip to Crimea: Roadtrip to Evpatoria

Offline Rim

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2007, 01:54:36 PM »
I agree, your story is very interesting and I enjoyed reading it very much.

Offline Donhollio

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2008, 04:47:55 PM »
 Thanks guys :

 I later took the train back to Kharkov to see little Oksana,not really sure where it may go as we only spent a few hours together....kinda.
 She told me she was waiting for me to return,and to call her when I arrived.  I looked back on my days in Sevastopol, and realised the best times were with Danny.
 I learned so much about the cities history,and saw more museums than I have in my entire life. For those who have never been Sevastopol is a museum in itself. There's a lot to see if your into military, and the Panorama museum was the highlight of them. Upon entering that one Danny told me not to speak,as foreigners will get charged more.  Of course he knew all it's history, and was excited to fill me in on it all. The poor guy had to whisper it  to me so we didn't arouse suspicion.

 Well the time had come for me to leave, and I walked down to the station to get on the train.  On the train there was a guy from Armenia, he knew I was not a local and tried to speak with me. It didn't work, and I went to get this book that Vova had given me with the phonetic and English/ Russian in it. 
 It was printed for the Moscow Olympics in 1980, very cool book,and was intended to help both the visitor and Muscovite during the foreigners stay.
 
   So he pointed to his nationality and I nodded,he was trying to ask me where I was staying in Kharkov and I told him a hotel.  He offered to give me a ride to this hotel, and I was a little worried about taking his offer. As they always say don't ride with strangers. 
 But the trains arrival was at 5am ,and I was thinking what if there was no taxi to drive me ?   So the train pulls in to Kharkov,and we depart  out to the parking lot.  Now the guy is waving me to come with him ,and I'm still not to comfy in doing it. But it's very late, I'm tried, and well sometimes you do things you shouldn't.

   I walk over to the car and his friend has come to pick him up as well.  Great now what ? Now Guy had told me never get into a car with two guys, because anything can happen and you'll lose everytime.  But I did anyway, I sort of knew the way to the hotel, and sitting in the back at least I was able to keep an eye on the two guys. Weather the doors opened from the inside was still unknown.
  The guys driving, and my head is full of, "what if's "  Than I lose site of the familiar route to the hotel, but say nothing. I am just gauging the situation and hoping for the best. Much to my delight we arrive at the Hotel National !  I give the man some money ,they seems happy,and in  I go!

 I wake up the sleeping guards and front desk clerk, who informs me that there's no vacancy,in very broken English.   Now what, the ride is gone, its very dark,  and they shut off the street lights even on Lenin prospect, and I have no other place to go.
 She points down the street to hotel Mir. I say thanks, and walk out into the pitch black.  Now when I tell you it's dark it's very dark, so dark that I had to stop at the curb to see where I was stepping, as I could not judge the height of the curb.
 After about 20 minutes I see the Mir hotel , I'm just hoping there's a room to rent. Their was and it was slightly better than the National hotel, with better services too !
 
 That afternoon I went to the business centre in the hotel and wrote some emails. Turns out a guy from Cameroon was the owner, and during my stay there he had his other friends from Cameroon  drop in.  They spoke Russian and English, so it made it a somewhat easier stay than at the National. 
 The curiousity was killing me and I later asked him how the hell he wound up in Kharkov, of all places. He told me, " It's a long story, you don't want to know."  We both laughed ,and I never pressed him about it again. But I still wonder to this day,how he wound up there.
 
 Since Oksana works 10 hour days I had too much time to kill until we'd meet. I'd call her in the afternoon ,and we'd arrange a place and time. It usually took place around 7pm,and lasted a few hours. It kinda sucked ,but I was down to my last few days, and wasn't going to bother leaving to wonder around Europe for the remainder of them.
 Oksana is a very sweet girl, our evenings would consist of talking in a small quiet pub, and with the soft light on her face I was falling for her. However the night would always end the same, and I knew deep down it wasn't going to progress. But I was just wanting to enjoy my time with her, though limited. The crunch came when it was her mums birthday, and she couldn't meet me . Of course I was hoping to get invited, but I understood why.
 
 My days in Kharkov were spent walking around, up and down different streets, and taking in some local markets. It was a lot cooler than in Sevastopol, and I was still only in long sleeves. So I set out to find a coat. Yeah I know, spend a month in Europe, and start looking for warm clothes on the last couple of days . 
 I also went to Confidencial Connections, to see what other girls I could meet.  Turns out they wanted $50 for a meeting,and the ones I wanted didn't speak English,so I passed and left.
 The only market I stumpled upon had no winter coats, it had a small clothing section, and there I spotted another fleece. I decided I would keep looking, but soon gave up ,and returned to buy what was the only one in the entire market.
 The thing was slightly  short in the sleeves, giving me the "peasant" look ....... again.   But the old lady was alittle excited to have me there, she kept asking questions ,but I didn't understand. Than she goes next door and tells her there's a English guy here.
 So I finally figure out she wants to know where I'm from. I tell her but she didn't understand until the other girl told her. " Kan na da !  All happy she starts to write down a bunch of words and hands it to me.  I just smiled and shook my head ,as I didn't know what the hell it said !   She was kind of surprised I was buying her fleece, she suggested to have the arms extended    Ahh for $6 I'll give to charity when I get home.

 So that night I showed Oksana my note , and asked what she was trying to tell me.  Turns out she has family in Canada, and that explained why she was excited.  It's times like those I really wish I could speak passable Russian. So Oksana and I head off to another place, but we taxi it around to a few different places and I'm getting slightly annoyed because she didn't like them at all, so we'd leave before even sitting down.
 She is on the phone and her friend suggests some place that's nice, we go there and it's all suits and too high end for me ! But their happy to have us dine in, and Oksana orders her usual tea. I convince her to have some tort or something else and not just tea, she agrees and I have my usual beer. Were both not hungry so I'm having pistachios for the first time, and now I can say I'm hooked on them !

  Now the bad news, the bill comes and stupid me doesn't have enough cash. Our nights out have always been less than this night out, not that it was expensive. It's just with all the taxi rides I used up what would of covered our bill, and her ride home. So I pull out the visa, no good they don't take it.  I was about $2 short and in vain I offer my $5 CDN bill, no good USA or UHA.  So Oksana is embarrassed, I'm feeling like a idiot, the bills I had earlier were filling up my wallet, but they go fast in UA !  So she tells the waiter she'll return to pay the debt later once I get to a bank machine.
  She was quiet until we got outside, than she starts in on me in Russian !  I still was impressed with how fast she walks in those 3" heels ! But she was very mad, and I can see why, I didn't even bother to defend myself.  I said I was sorry ,and if I knew I didn't have enough money I would of got more.

 So we find a taxi who'll take us to the hotel and I'll pay than.  In the car I was thinking how badly I just blew it, she didn't say much to me on the short ride, and all I could think of was to try and make up for it. We only had a few minutes until the hotel, and in 7 hours I would be enroute to Brussels.
 So I told her I have a gift for you, I thought it was really lame, but I had been hauling it from home, and it was only a little stuffed beaver.  I told her I have it in my room ,and asked her to come up and get it.
 She wouldn't go up and I learned why a short time later, once I discovered these forums. 
Reason is they may be seen as prostitutes, and that's why renting apartments is always the best option. She would only go into the lobby and wait on the sofa, so I went and got it, brought it down and pulled it out of the bag. I really didn't know what her reaction was going to be. I thought some rolling eyes ,but she lit up and gave me a kiss !   It was a big suprise, and for a moment the money shortage was gone from her mind.  She really liked her little beaver !  :)  Ok the little Hollio   :saint: on my shoulder is telling me to stop right there and go no futher.  But the   :evilgrin0002: Hollio is offering so many much more innuendo to type !

 Anyways I was glad she left happy,and she waved as the taxi pulled away from the lot.  I thought to myself ," I'll never see her again." And I was sad about it. I was getting feelings for her,and that was going to be it.
  It was a short sleep as my ride to the airport was at 5am. I never asked the driver how much to the airport, and when we got there, I was bracing for the worst. I asked, he told me 90 UHA . I thought it was high ,but it took about 20 minutes without traffic, and how was I to argue with him on whats fair and what isn't ?
 I handed him the 90 UHA and he looks at me kind of startled ,takes the cash and says " No no ! "  Than hands back 50 UHA .  He questions the amount as he taps the money in his hand,and says 90 . I tell him it's 40 ,and he is happy I suppose to learn what 40 was in English.
 So there you go guys, sometimes you can find a honest cabbie in the FSU !
Flying back I was disappointing in having feelings for Oksana, knowing that it wasn't going to go further. I called her a couple of times from home after,but it wasn't changing things.

 And with that flight I ended my second trip to Europe and Ukraine.

 Photo of    Oksana

GREGK

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2008, 06:35:29 PM »
I am looking forward to more !

Offline Rim

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2008, 08:32:09 AM »
Don,
How did you get the $2 to the restaurant or did you leave that for Oksana to do?

I'm not certain that you've definitely blown it with her based on your story, but you would have a lot of ground to make up if you really like her.

Some basic things that seem to apply to most FSU women.
1. If you screw up, apologize once and only once accompanied by flowers.
2. Don't appear to be cheap in your dress or where you stay.
3. You're correct that flats are a better choice.

From her perspective:
You met her and then ditched her to have dinner with your friend. She's thinking that it was probably an excuse to go meet another girl, but at the very least you just weren't that in to her. You then left town to meet more girls and while you were gone you didn't get lucky so you came back to see her. She doesn't think she is your first choice so she will be a little cold if she even agrees to meet with you again.

Your weakness is also your strength because in general women like men who are somewhat of a challenge, but you need to pick it up and do what's right if you want her.

Flowers Flowers Flowers Flowers.

If you want for her to come around then keep roses next to her bed until you return.

Good luck.

Offline Donhollio

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2008, 10:44:25 AM »
 Yes I gave her the money,and enough for her ride home with some to spare. There was no time for flowers, as I was leaving at 5am. And I don't know any address I could of sent them to.  She also knew I went to Crimea to do some sporting activitys, so did I blow it ?  Most likely I did, but this wasn't the last time I was to see her. 
 
 You'll have to wait for further installments  ;)

Offline P356

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2008, 11:28:07 AM »
I am sorry, but maybe I missed something? What's wrong with the lady in the picture? She is very cute! You guys look good together. If you like her go for it!!!!! Yes, I think flowers are very important to Russian/Ukrainian ladies.

Offline Rasputin

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2008, 12:49:53 PM »
I don't know. The impression I got from reading is that she is a bit of a spoiled princess. Attractive yes, but not very patient.
"Seems I live in Russia Rasputin visited" - Millaa
"So do I" - Molly35ru

Offline Donhollio

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Re: Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2008, 06:39:30 PM »
  Oksana is a hottie in my books and upon my return to Canada I thought of her many many times. Flying over the ocean I was questioning what I could of done different. Some were obvious, lack of money, staying in a hotel not a apartment all didn't help.
 Maybe I needed to show her I was really interested in her, but I never pursued girls, they chased me. And that was something I was still working on was having to showed I cared about them.

 The phone calls went no where and I soon gave up on her, infact I needed a break from the PC and searching for anymore FSU girls to write.  Weeks went by and the PC was collecting dust,than after weeks I looked over at it and it beaconed me !   After getting burned by Family Plus I decided to again try the free sites. Up to this point the only exchange I had was with a Moldavian girl, who got very pissed off at me after I told her I wasn't going to return unless I had a few girls to meet.
Big mistake, after a long barrage of
 "Don this, Don that"  I shot back telling her the way it is ,and that she was my first to see, and if it didn't work I would go meet the others. It was the truth, and she did see my reasons for wanting to do it that way.

 For any guys thinking about telling them ,it's a difficult call to make each girl will respond differently, but your better off lying to them. Many have little white lies that they keep from you prior to meeting them,and I really don't think they see it as being too dishonest either. However if you do tell them she's the only one, due be sure to shut off your mobile phone when your with her.
 I'm getting ahead of myself, but just be sure it's off !

 So onto some free sites, I find about a dozen girls to write my standard 3 line intro to, 
" Hi I like your profile and wish to know you better."  It 's a useless intro, and I guess I wasn't fully into trying it as much as I wanted to think I was. But off they go, this was mid December when I restarted.
 
I got a few replies within a few days,wrote back at length ,and they were all gone in 2 or 3 emails.  Than about 2 weeks later the girl I was not going to write sends me her reply.  I sat and looked at her profile and poor photo's for sometime, even coming back to her after sending out replies to the other dozen.
  She had a very nice well written intro that captured my imagination. Not really sure what it was but it convinced me to look past the poor photo's ,and see what may happen.
  In her email she talked about what she wanted in life,and some of her dreams of the future.   Her name was Olya .  We exchanged a few emails and I wanted to speak with her very much on the phone, her letters were great and so after asking she gave it to me . But cautioned her English wasn't that good ,and I would need to speak slowly.  Hey no problem !

 Our first call went great ! We spoke for almost 1 hour, and there was never an awkward moment.  The following calls to her were always 45 -90 minutes, she spoke much better than she gave herself credit for.
 I was liking this girl more with every phone call, our emails had become a second means of correspondence,and we learned more about each other than 50 emails could ever accomplish.
  After a few months she was asking when I could come see her, at this point I really still wanted to find some plan B, but it was not materialising at all.  I could tell she was getting restless with my delay in getting to her ,but my work at the time held me back, going in a weeks time would of been a poor move, so I thought.  If I could turn back the calender it would of been different.
 
 So after our correspondence began to become regular sometime around March or April there was a period of 2 months , where she wanted to know when I was planning on coming.  I finally had a date set for early August, Olya was very pleased to know this and was looking forward to our meeting, just as I was.  She had told  me she felt we were going to get along very well, and that she didn't see what would go wrong. I didn't try to convince her otherwise ,as I was hoping the same.

I told her I will be able to spend up to 6 months there,she seemed shocked at how I could do it,but after telling her she seemed at ease. We both agreed it would be the best thing to be able to do instead of more trips every few months.
  Now for the train ride  :chuckle:  it seems I never learn  :(
I had wanted to see Nuremberg Germany on my last trip,but it never took place. So I thought since I was landing in Germany, I could take a day out to this city than train it again across Poland and on to Zaporozhye Ukraine. Thinking this will help ease up on the jet lag, and I would be at my best by the time I got to Zapcity.  Well so the plan was :duh:  My last trip via the train I was well rested , entering Ukraine, but this round wasn't to be the case.

 A host of problems started soon after I left Nuremberg. I bought my ticket for the ICE
 ( Inter City Express) to Berlin and from there I would get on a night train to Poland. The beautiful high speed of the ICE train was great ! Hurling across the country in comfort and on time !  I get to Berlin and find my platform to board the  train, as I approach with my 2 tickets one for the train ,and one for the sleeper, ( this time I was fully prepared to have a hassle free journey........ Nyet ! 
  I had arrived too late to catch the train, infact I saw it roll down the tracks. I had missed it by a minute.
Good thing I was just in Berlin several months before, and knew of a hostel very close to the station. So after washing up at the McClean I had a bite to eat at McDonald's.  Dam I love Germany ! Everything works so quiet and perfect. Walking in to the hostel I got a private room,and the guy working there asked why so many Canadian's have their flag on their baggage. I don't but many other's  ,young and old do,even some old Yanks that my parents know . I tell them it's so they won't be mistaken for being a Yank, he laughed andsaid that's what his coworker had also told him.
 While in Berlin I called Olya ,and told her my situation, I told her I should of just flown into Kiev that day, but I didn't know if I would of gotten to her city any sooner. At any rate Kiev was going to happen the following morning.....yeah ::)


The next morning I get on to crossing Poland, gone was the modern comfort ,the trip was fairly uneventful, until it came time to switch trains in Poland. Racing from one platform to another with 8 minutes to spare wasn't easy,but I managed to find where I needed to go,though it was a full panic situation ! When the train arrived in Krakow PL I again needed to race to the night train,
I had only maybe 5 minutes from the time I got off  to get onto the UA train and as I dashed to the car a older woman is on the train yelling at the UA  train attendant !   I look with big eyes as I can tell there's a big problem, the train is about to leave and they toss her bags off !  I yell ,"What's going on !" As I was blocked from getting closer to the train to show her my tickets.
 A young teenage girl says to me that the train is full ,and has been booked for months !! :o :o :o
  WTF !!! the doors close  5 seconds later and it's rolling away, I'm standing there,watching another train roll away . This girl spoke perfect English , and was the granddaughter of the UA woman who worked in Germany, but was from Livi UA.
  I just couldn't believe it ! Two trains in 2 days gone without me being on them, now I'm in Poland again for the night. It was late the sun was down,I knew of some hostels to crash at,and after hearing the train was fully booked for months I wanted to hang near the two others to find out what was going to be the next move.
  So the 3 of us head down to the ticket window,and granma starts talking in German, translates  to her granddaughter in Russian and relays it to me in English ::)  What a site! :chuckle:
 So now we need a place to sleep and some guys are there to offer their homes for the night,I told them I know of a hostel we can go to.  So off in a taxi we go,and of course the place doesn't have enough beds for the 3 of us :(  The old lady manages a deal where she and her granddaughter will share a single bed,and I will have my own single bed.  I go down the hall and try to see if theres any flights to Kiev from Krakow,leaving in the morning,the very helpful semi hot Polish girl did her best to find but there was nothing she found. Great  2 nights blown  & Olya's waiting. I'm beyond aggravated,and the stress is built to the boiling point. Worse thing is it was all my fault, no one was to blame but me.

 Next morning the 3 of us head back to the station to catch some train to the border of UA. So the windows are open in the station and the birds have shit on the park like benches. Ohh it was going to get better I was telling myself. The granddaughter Julia  had been living in USA since she was 5yo, she had that look of defeat in her eyes,and when I asked she told me she just wanted to go back home.

  We got to talking about my train ticket,and I told her I had a reserved sleeper,even showed her my ticket,she looked at it and told me they never had any reserved sleeper tickets, and that's why they were refused boarding  :fighting0025:   :censored:!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Why me .... why me!!!!!  :'(
 
We get on the train,and its hot ,no AC and there's everything on this train, huge bags ,bikes,and I'm sure some chickens were there as well :chuckle:
While in 3rd class crammed in with the others, granny takes it upon herself to bump me up to 2nd class. All done in German,and I had no idea what was going on, I thought I paid extra for all of us,but no it was just for me. There I met a Ukrainian guy who spoke  alright English, and once we got to the PL /UA border he offered to take me to a place to eat.   I went with him to get his train ticket, I didn't need mine as I had already bought mine the day before,safely tucked in my back pocket ::)
 While waiting I go to check my ticket and it 's not there !  The dam thing was laying on the sidewalk outside !  You know this happened to me earlier in Krakow, same pocket,and you'd think one would get wise to it ,but for some reason it never did ! :chuckle:  I was lucky as both times I found it, I later figured out that my gym bag was rubbing my ass and it would be hitting the ticket until it slid right out.
 Ahh well such is life. So through the UA border control and onto our cabin. here I meet this bizarre Yank who was in Russia on some church mission. He hardly  seems the type, but looks like a 30 yo hobbit :chuckle: Nice loud guy, don't think there a soul who didn't know where the foreigners were staying. :-X
 
 It had been awhile since I saw the gran and daughter,until Julia comes aboard and asks, " Do you have my grans passport ?"  Shes been refused entry into UA until she shows it. All her bags were dumped out in the room franticly looking for it. I told her the last time I saw it was at the hostel,she had to surrender it to the staff while we were able to keep ours. And when we left we never did stop to get it.  :(  It was back in Krakow several hours away,and this train was leaving in minutes. Julia gets off knowing that must be where it is, I felt bad for them,and Julia only had 2 weeks ,now it was going to be another 2 days until she was back at this border with her grans passport.
 
 By midnight I was in Livi enroute to Kiev, I looked out the window to see if the 2 got off the train and I never did see them. Morning came and so did Kiev , I said my goodbyes to the hobbit,and went to the booth to buy my next and final ticket to Zaporzhye. 
 
 Before leaving Toronto , I stopped in to see Vova and family as they had just arrived 2 months before from Kharkov.  It was good to see them again,and I was curious to find out how they were adjusting to life in the "centre of the universe".
 I was staying a couple of days in TO visiting my friend Andre who used to live here in the Peg. The two of us went over to visit with his family,and I had only planned on a couple of hours,but they had dinner plans at 3pm and we both just finished eating an hour before. Can't refuse the food , it's as bad as being in an Italians home and saying you don't want to eat.  Really Vova, water or a beer is fine,but no she had made this big meal and I felt I better not say no.
 So after dinner and a beer ,we were sitting there and I asked if there was something to drink, he was drinking Crown Royal, and water would of been fine,but he and his friend get up and walk out . I look at Andre and ask where there going ? He has no clue either,and Sveta can't speak to tell me.  Now this gets bad, they come back and he has beer from the store, I told him we didn't need it,and I felt like shit.
 I'm thinking I should of brought over some beer for us to have,but we weren't planning on staying too long.  We make the best of it,and their daughter comes in with a bag full of stuffed animals from a second hand store. She just loves Canada  so far !  Being a skinny 15yo so will the guys soon enough!

 It was time to go and I knew Vova would refuse any money from me for the drinks,but he's in my country and I should of gave more thought to how they would greet us. Toronto living isn't cheap,so I tucked $20 in the chesterfield behind a pillow,they'd find it after I was gone,and hopefully know it was from me.
  I had planned on calling them whenever I returned,but the baggage guys in Kiev stole some of my stuff including dumping out his phone number. To this day I have yet to hear from him,so maybe he's pissed off ,I really don't know.

 So back in Kiev I show the lady my note written by Vova asking to buy a ticket to Zapcity in Russian,she reads it and writes down 41 & 44. than points with a big swooping motion to the back????  Turns out to buy a domestic ticket you need to buy at certain booths. I get my ticket and call Olya telling her my latest situation,and how pissed off I am the way it went.  She telling me she's excited to see me,and adds in that she's now on vacation. She has been waiting for me for a day or so,and wondered what happened,yeah I do to  :duh:
 Her mother has rented a beach house.... well sorta I guess :laugh: on the Azov sea for a few days. Now I'm thinking great I'll get there and she'll be with her mom for a week. But than she asks if I will come with her, she wants to go badly and wonders if I'll be able to find the place on my own. Not likely,without giving very good directions to someone. She decides to wait until 4am when I'll be there,and we'll go together directly from the train station.

 
The next ride from hell coming up  :(


 

 

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