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Author Topic: FootballDad's Trip Report - Summer 2008  (Read 11425 times)

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Offline FootballDad

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FootballDad's Trip Report - Summer 2008
« on: July 07, 2008, 10:43:02 AM »
Note:  Trip to Kiev and St. Petersburg with my Ukraine lady-friend "N" starting July 6th and returning home July 16th.  Kiev for 3 1/2 days and St. Petersburg for 5 days.  Staying in Apartments in both places that were arranged by "N" (she paid for .. did not want my help ... at least yet!).  I paid for all airfare, including "N's" to St. Petersburg and back, and she paid for train travel from LViv.

Pre-Curser:

It has been four months in the planning, although I met "N" thru Elena's site back in December '07.  I had been using Elena's and another site and had written about 50+/- ladies and started frequent letter writing campaigns with six ladies into January.  By Valentines Day, I had eliminated all but two (or some eliminated me  ::)) by this time and I continued to write and (about weekly) call both "A" and "N" and really learned alot during the February & March months.  During that time, I started communicating with both ladies using "Skype", and this was really a great tool in almost being there with them (for those newbies, like myself, who haven't tried this method of communication, I greatly recommend doing this with your lady-interest, if possible).  This enabled me to really see the personalities almost real-life as this is very important to me, as I am looking for a woman who can can be serious7, possible professional, but can see daily life positively and can roll with the punches with a smile  :).  I have a comical side of me that will need to find the right person, but who also enjoys theatre and sports as much as I.

As I rolled into March, I started leaning toward "N", as she is only 8 years younger than I ("A" is 14 years younger) and although both are true working professionals and highly educated (are currently in the "doctorate" (PhD) programs), "N" seemed to not only have the personality I was looking for (which for what I have read maybe unusual in Eastern Europe), but she is very athletic and sports minded and that is a big part of my life.  I think the kicker was that I sent both ladies Valentine's Cards in February, flowers in March, and a light-hearted April Fools joke on April 1st, and "N" responded much better to these than "A", and much more than I could have ever imagined.  When "N" "gave it back to me" with a joke of her own, I just knew that she was going to be the one I would chase after.

By mid-April, she was begging me to make plans to see her and I was ready to hop on a plane that month, but as she works for a University in Western Ukraine (basketball coach / fitness teacher) while finishing her doctorate, she only had a window this summer, so the dates were set by her (see above).  So I made reservations for travel (thank GOD I did, as the same flights would be $800 - $1k more now). and when I sent her confirmations and itineraries on all of our travel (besides the train from Lviv to Kiev, which she wanted to take care of (and has never asked for $$ to this day)), she was so excited that when we talked on Skype in late April, she was actually very emotional about what I had "taken a chance" with in coming to see her on her terms.  Yes, we decided that her 12 year old daughter would not accompany us and that "N" wanted to meet outside of her family, of course to make sure I am "presentable" and we can be compatible together before she attempts to introduce me to her family.  I have no issue with this and I think she is being very mature about this decision for us to meet first without family influence.

So our trip consists of Kiev when I arrive to meet her (she get's in early by train, gets the apartment settled, and then goes to airport to meet me (I hope)).  We spend until Friday in Kiev and then we fly together to St. Petersburg, where she also has an apartment rented for a 5 day stay.  She did her undergraduate schooling in St. Pete, as well as played Olympic-qualifying basketball there for a full summer, so she says she is very familar with St. Pete.  I then fly home to St. Pete via Paris on the 16th and then "N" flys directly back to Lviv.

In preparing I have hopefully done all the right things:  power converter, electronic translater, digital camera with extra SIM cards, money belt (hidden), specific for traveling ATM card (not attached to main accounts (as well as notification to bank of travel itinerary), international phone, VISA card for international purchases only, gifts for her and her daughter (even though I will not be meeting her), pictures of my home and scenery (Lake Tahoe / Reno, Nevada) and even a little Napa Wine (for her) and some good GJack Wiskey for me!! ;D

As the days wind forward to meeting "N" in Kiev and I get so excited I can barely sleep the week coming to Day 1 (I have traveled to London, Glasgow Paris & Dublin previously, but not into Eastern Europe) for the new "places" I wil be going and experiencing.  "N" is also getting excited as our daily communications become 2-3 times daily this last week going into Day 1 and this only gets my blood pumping that I can barely work.  As I sit in my office this morning writing this, I just can't wait for our meeting!!!

..... why am I in my office Monday morning, July 7th, when I was supposed to leave yesterday at 4pm? .... check the next update to find out   
 :popcorn:

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Offline Olga_Mouse

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Re: FootballDad's Trip Report - Summer 2008
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2008, 10:48:52 AM »

..... why am I in my office Monday morning, July 7th, when I was supposed to leave yesterday at 4pm?


Maybe because you realised too late that:

1) Ukraine & Russia are now two countries apart;

2) Kiev is the capital of Ukraine, while St-Petersburg used to be Russian capital for a while;

3) US citizens do not need visas to enter Ukraine, but surely NEED VISAS to enter Russia?  ::)
Leaving Russia is not an emigration, rather an evacuation.

Offline FootballDad

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Re: FootballDad's Trip Report - Summer 2008
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2008, 10:58:06 AM »
Day 1:

Well I arrive at the Reno-Tahoe airport and as I stand in line to go on the first leg (to Salt Lake City), I see a gentleman in business dress slam his fist down on the Delta counter, and then turn to say "what, no extra planes, and everything going out of Reno is sold out today" ... well not knowing what he was upset about, about 5 minutes later he turns to the crowd in line, that is almost apexing the outside doors (because it had not moved in 15 minutes) and he said, if there is anyone going to Paris, then the SLC plane to Paris is "broke" and there is no replacing it.  By the time I got to the counter 20 minutes (or so) later, I was told that everything going out of Reno was overbooked and there was only two carriers taking people and poor "M" of Delta was doing her best to try to get me to Paris through to Kiev.  But between the travel agent's (my tickets purchased) requirements and the schedule and trying to get out of a resort-town airport on the Sunday of a 3-day holiday, I was sent home only to leave around lunch (in about 3 hours) today and be about 20 hours late.

Last night I called "N" and told her the bad news and at first I don't think she believed me ... like I was the American scammer who was breaking his promises.  After about 30 minutes of conversation (thank GOD she speaks fairly fluent English and some good French, too), explaining the events that lead to this phone call, she started easing up and telling me that she has some friends in Kiev that she can meet up with and go to the Kiev library to do some research on her dissertation paper that she is working toward completion this December.  It was a tough phone call, knowing she had just arrived in Kiev and we were going to miss almost a whole day of our planned trip.  Anyways, I am going to try to stay a day longer in St. Pete (if our apartment is available an extra day) and see if I can change flight arrangements without too much pain, anguish and $$$.

Well, as I close this and await the taxi to the airport from my office in Reno, I hopefully will be eastward bound and make it through to Kiev and start a great trip report.  As I am not taking a computer, unless I find my self with "N"s computer, the report will be continued upon my return in mid July.  :travel:

Wish me luck!!! 8)
 
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Offline Manny

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Re: FootballDad's Trip Report - Summer 2008
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2008, 12:14:14 PM »
Sounds like you have prepared rather well there; shame the airline let you down at the eleventh hour.  :(

Have a good trip and I for one, look forward to reading the TR when you get back.  :)
I apologise.
And so he should.........

Offline FootballDad

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Re: FootballDad's Trip Report - Summer 2008
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2008, 04:51:22 PM »
WOW!!!  no... DOUBLE WOW!!!!  That's what I have to say about the trip and the experience I just had ;D .   Except for every damn flight that was either cancelled, delayed, or late arriving, it was a great experience!!!

ARRIVAL DAY (#1 extended due to flight cancelled on first day):

Yes, Delta was two hours late on it's flight to Salt Lake City the 2nd attempt getting out of town and thus I had to literally do the "OJ-run" in the airport to catch my Paris flight.  With only three minutes to spare before the door closed, I was sweating like a pig and just making my 10 hour flight aboard a 767 to Charles DeGaul field.  Once settled with a cellebration beer in my hand, my first thought was "Well, so much for my checked baggage getting to Kiev on time" and am thankful I took a handfull of your stories' advice about packing a 2nd set (at least) of something to wear on Day 2....

Not much too eventful on that flight and arrival into Paris as I had about a 1.5 hour stay and the plane was only 40 minutes late (due to the wrong wind across the "pond" and circling Paris twice.  I was really surprised at the small gate areas at such a major city and definitely my first experience to "European crowds" (literally shoulder-to-shoulder space for the passengers, lack of organization, and a lack of care for Americans in France (or so it seemed to me).  Once on the Air France jet to Kiev, I started sensing the differences between peoples, cultures, ideals, and attitudes as I was pushed like cattle onto a plane with seats meant for only 'healthy" Asians.  This is where I experienced my first interesting meal that was alot different from even the French or European cuisines I thought I was familiar with as I had some type of main course that I thought was Chicken Cordon Bleu, but nothing like I had ever tasted before.  The apearingly Eastern European lady sitting next to me was quite humored at my several squinces as we ate our meal.  Just keeping somewhat of a stoic look so not to seem too spoiled (on what I eat) was a feat in itself!!!

I was given the Immigration Card to fill out and when my flight arrived, over 30 minutes late (which became a major theme in the rest of the rest of my European travel), I stood in the wrong line at Passport control until I realized that it stated "residents only" in Ukrainian language and everyone was staring at me like they wouldn't believe I was meant for their line even if I was the heir to all of Russia.  So after changing lines and getting through (actuall the easiest part of the trips was passport and customs), I then got to wait for 40+ minutes (LONGER) for any luggage to come out on the carousel (another theme to my report as I believe luggage they must purposely have a meal between unloading the plane to putting the luggage on a baggage line!).  Of course, as I barely made my flight, I figured I would be returning back to Borispol the next day or two in retrieving .... but, when the line started, my bag was one of the first to show.... YEAH!!!  Customs green line was easy as I put both bags onto the screening machine and tried to act like I knew what I was doing and no one questioned me at all.  Turning the corner out of customs was a large group of people and my biggest anxienty just hit me ... What if "N" doesn't show to at airport ... what is my backup plan?  I had a few contacts of agencies, but "N" booked the apartment and I was expecting her to be my translator, so the first "fright" settled in and what would I do if she did not show to greet me?


 

 

 
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Offline FootballDad

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Re: FootballDad's Trip Report - Summer 2008
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2008, 06:26:16 PM »
Meeting Day:

As I turned the corner from Customs to outside the doors to a large crowd awaiting, the was "N", in all smiles who saw me before I saw her and was rushing through the center of the crowd to get to me.  After a peck on the cheek and a hug, she wisked me away to a cab driver she had hired to take us to the downtown district were our apartment was located.  As I met her in a trouser & jacket ensemble, the first thing I noticed was the high humidity that was a concern now (as I was pouring with sweat in the cab) while I am trying to make an impression with this lady .... she saw that I was uncomfortable and was very adamant that I take the coat off and settle in.  One thing that "N" did the whole trip was make sure that I was dressed and presented in the most comfortable means to the climates of Kiev and St. Pete....

The apartment in Kiev was a small two bedroom with probably the smallest kitchen area I have ever seen, but it did have a nice balcony over looking the busy "prospect" (boulevard) that was one of the main parts of the business' district.  My next surprise was the elevator made for hobbits and the optional steep stairs to the 7th floor (of 8 floor) apartment building.  As "N" had previously checked in a day earlier, she was already prepared to make me a meal and I was ready for something after the offerings I had on the last two flights.  She told me to "clean up" and she would have something prepared before I could shower & unpack.  Well, about 5 minutes into this plan, I heard something being loadly said and heard quite a commotion going on in the other room, so I jumped out of the shower, threw some sweats on to make sure everything was ok.  Well, she couldn't figure out the gas line had a shut-off valve to the stove and she was ready to throw the thing out the window when I arrived to save the day.  Boy ... these gals sure can show some excitable emotions when they get a little miffed!!! (I would see this one other time later in the week when I snuck up behind her as she was exploring a dark closet ... which only cost me some water in my face, 10 minutes of apologies, and a bottle of good Napa wine that I brought for just that occasion)!!! :evilgrin0002:

After an interesting concoction of fried fish, cabbage, and some other mush-like food, I was just getting my second wind when she wisks me away to "take a Ukrainian walk" (my first of many this past week) and we go for our first chance to see the lights of Kiev that evening.  After about a 3 mile walk, 50 pictures, about 10 bottle waters to help me acclammate to the climate, we settle for a nice little Ukranian restaurant in a nice park area near some of the major churches & theatres in the city.  Here, we had our first desert, wine and coffee and we really sat down and took some time to get to know each other in person.  There were three young ladies playing music behind us in the cafe and it really helped to spark the mood for us as we were almost the last to leave after some wine, my first shot of vodka in Europe, and some tea/coffee to finalize the night.  Conversation was anything to my adventures on the flight and food to what she wanted to spend the next full day doing in siteseeing Kiev.  As we walked home through the city to our apartment, I could tell (without her saying) that she was relieved that not only did I show up, but maybe I was someone she actually might enjoy being around.  I had, by that time, no doubts that she was the best choice that I could have made as our slight age differences and past marital and life experiences seemed to be so similar and I was really happy to have taken this step.  But to see her smile and show a little bit of affection the first evening together as we made our way back to the apt., was a very special feeling that would make the trip oh, so, enjoyable.

Note:  see some pictures of Kiev in the first afternoon & evening

   
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Offline FootballDad

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Re: FootballDad's Trip Report - Summer 2008
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2008, 09:29:40 AM »
Kiev Site-seeing (Day 2):

"N" and I had made plans to be out and about by 9am (as I am usually up by 6am, and no jet lag, so I was up with some guy point a hammer on a road sign outside at 5:20am), thus was able to study for my upcoming NCAA football exam.  Unlike most American woman, once she was up, she "zipped" through her morning rituals, including tea, and was ready much sooner than I expected.  Here, we struck out in the City to see several monuments and go to the Opera Theatre to get tickets to the evening performance.  (Note:  one of our similiarities is the love for sports and theatre, so this was going to be a major test for both of us that evening). 

As we walked amongst many buildings, some old, but some very new, and stopped by to see why my international phone was not working like it was supposed to (so yes, I ended up buying a phone Sim card that I wasn't expected to need) and I noticed how many places did have English direction and store signs, as well as restaurants having English menus and directions and alot of shop owners who spoke English.  This really helped me to adjust to Kiev quite nicely, as my Russian was only about 15 words strong at this part of the trip.  As I had noticed the night before, with all the people out and about in the city, the first difference I noticed was the large amount of smokers (especially men seemingly being the larger number, which is much different I think is USA) and the openess of drinking, especially among the young males and females.  Seemed that every 3rd man we passed had a "tallboy" in his hand and a bag in the other (probably carrying other tallboys, I suspect), and seemed like this was the most popular dating style (both in Kiev and St. Pete) was to invite your girl out to the park for a tallboy!!!! (Oh, how that so would NOT work in America  :D

We made our way past many churches, theatres, old buildings toward the river and park area and over to the President's Mansion (being rebuilt and not being lived in currently by Ukraine president) and onto a long walk in the smoltering heat.  "N" was able to talk to a fairly educated "physician" who was at lunch break taking a walk in the park, and she was very happy to communicate to "N" what to see and the best way to get there (for the most part) and this was very helpful.  After walking the distance of this large park and many breaks as neither of our legs were ready for such a workout, we made it to what mostly likely was the lowest (altitude) spot of Kiev and started walking back uphill into the center of the city.  We found a small road that went about a mile that was all cobblestone and supposedly was the oldest road in Kiev (very alike SanFrancisco's Lombard street) with many vendors selling books, souvenirs and other touristy items.  We found a nice cafe and had some lunch and tea and I believe I had the first soup that I liked (a cold soup, something that I have never had, and I cannot think of the name of it (starts with an "A", I think)).  We really enjoyed this break and was able to get to know each other even better with some good conversation, so much, that we ended up ordering a couple glasses of wine to help savor the moment(s).

As we slowly made our way back to our apartment and to buy some more hrivna for the next 1.5 days of our stay in Kiev, we really enjoyed walking through a couple of museums and churches, seeing all the different architectural styles of buildings, and enjoying walking through the parks and quite often finding a bench to satisfy our legs and good "getting to know each other" conversation.  At the end of the afternoon, we were definitely tired and needed to now get ready for the opera theatre, so we stopped and had a quick "buffet" type early dinner and made it back to prepare for a hopefully great night out.

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Offline FootballDad

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Re: FootballDad's Trip Report - Summer 2008
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2008, 09:53:50 AM »
Kiev Theatre Night (Day 2)

While at the apartment, "N" prepared herself for the theatre and I prepared myself in a good slacks & coat and when she emerged from her bedroom, all I could do was melt.  She was so damn beautiful, and I couldn't take my eyes off of her.  I was so struck, that I moved in for a "complementary" kiss-on-the-cheek and she did not flinch, but actually allowed me to get close and do it a second time.  This was very sensual and definitely had me excited to go see an opera which I suspected I would not understand the words that would be sung, but would understand the play and music, so I was roaring to get going with this stunning woman!  8)

The theatre was a beautiful building that we had visited earlier in the day to reserve tickets and was very nicely decorated inside.  We had bought balcony tickets and had one perch all to ourselves and really enjoyed the view and the show.  It was here that I first put my arms around her and lightly caressed her hands and I was expecting for her to shy away, but she did not and this helped my confidence in understanding if she was enjoying my company.  I must note that as she was very reserved the whole trip in her verbal communication to me about if she was enjoying being with me, but the body language was (usually) a different story.  The show was an Italian opera, but performed in Russian language, so yes, I had to rely on my experience in theatre to understand the theme, which was of a lowly servant man who was attracted to an effluent young lady, and the trials and tribulations of his trying to get "permission" and access to this girl and the "villages" help to promote their relationship "dupe" the father.  It was a great show and very professionally done, and as "N" and I discussed on our walk home (while holding hands) that we both enjoyed it tremendously.  This was a great mark of our compatibility for entertainment and need for this type of enrichment and this was really the best building block that we overcame in starting a beautiful friendship and when we returned back to the apartment, I think that we we so both genuinely intrigued with each other, that she allowed me to get close enough to give her a good American backrub and a little more closeness before I passed out from the (finally hitting me - jetlag) and good night sleep.



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Offline Jinx

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Re: FootballDad's Trip Report - Summer 2008
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2008, 11:25:03 AM »
 Great TR so far, looking forward to more...this is what it's all about.

 Thanks for the pics too, brings back memories. Great view from that little park past the archway huh? You can look down and see the Dnepro river winding through the city, looks awesome.

Offline Manny

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Re: FootballDad's Trip Report - Summer 2008
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2008, 04:29:06 PM »
Great TR so far, looking forward to more...this is what it's all about.

I love TR's!  :party0031:
I apologise.
And so he should.........

Offline FootballDad

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Re: FootballDad's Trip Report - Summer 2008
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2008, 04:30:29 PM »
Day of Confusion (Day3):

As we had stayed up late on Day 2 and the jet lag finally caught up to me (only 6 hours sleep the past 53+ hours), I actually was awakened by "N" about 9:30am (man, I haven't slept that late since I was in college.....) and I felt good.  She was shoving tea and fruit down my throat and telling me she was hungry and needed to eat.  Now, this is a part that we are different.  Of course, although I manage my weight being an old football player and my metabolism screwed up since college (gaining weight on purpose-- not steriod driven like most my teammates), I usually only eat 2 meals a day and usually only one of those is any size.  Well, "N" likes to eat 4-5 times a day, so this whole trip, it was interesting satisfying her "fitness-mentality" food-cosuming lifestyle of needing to stop and eat every 3 hours or more!!  (I guess that is why she is so fit for a late 30's-something).  So, I hurry, shower and dress and try to get out the door to find a small cafe to satisfy "N's" hunger (I will say that when she became hungry, she was not shy at all about letting me know!! :-\  During the "brunch", I asked what our plan was today and she just sat there like I had been to Kiev my whole life and since she "guided me around" the day before, it was up to me to decided.  This was probably the first instance (of a couple of times on the trip) that she actually perplexed me and I was dumbfounded as what to say (or do).  I stated to her that I don't know what else there is in Kiev to see outside of what we saw the past 1.5 days and I was at a disadvantage to know what to do or where to go.  So I tried to sugar-coat my "need" for her "guidance" and she just acted like I was to take the lead!  ???  This was really ackward and I was about to really start to wonder if I was still asleep dreaming when she changed her whole attitude and said let's go (this-a-way).  Don't know if this was a test .... but it sure was similar to a few other actions later in our trip that were just so "outside" of her normal actions, that it kept me guessing!!!!

Well, she wanted to get on the subway and take a trip across the river and see some other buildings & sites on the "West Bank".  This lasted for about 3 hours and then we were eating again (this time I participated, but my stomach was still telling me that it was not ready to really "dive in" to the differentiated food that I was experiencing).  I would have to say, that I must be spoiled with too many sauces, spices, consistencies (of food), and portions, that my eating was not satisfied for the most part of the trip.  I basically, later on in the trip, became a fruit, "danish", lots of tea, and cold soup fan!  The most interesting thing that I noticed, outside of the small portions, was that their meats are prepared much differently than we prepare ours.  Outside of one Italian restaurant in St.Pete that we enjoyed ourselves at, did I really enjoy my meal (except for a sandwich from "Subway" that I treated "N" to (also later in the week).  Anyways, we set back for the apartment and we just got near when "N" spotted a small market and we jumped into it to make some things for dinner and night/morning snacks (cheese, bologna type meat, fruits and peanuts) as well as water, wine and a little soda for my sugar fix once a day.

When we started leaving the market, two bags in my hand, a heavy rain was falling, one heavier than I have seen in years, and we duped under a canopy of the adjacent restaurant to wait it out with about 40 other pedestrians.  In the 10-12 minutes we were there, I watched a table of three older Ukrainians (two men & one woman in 60's or so) and one of the men was flailing his arms and yelling at the wall (or maybe someone inside the restaurant) and the woman was trying to calm him down.  At this point, I was just writing this off to a couple of drunken elderlies who were looking for some small attention, until the yelling man pulled a handgun (looked like an old .38 long barrel - American made) out of his crotch and began waiving it around like he was going to shoot out the lights.  My first instinct was to sneak around him and take it away from him, but "N" grabbed me shirt and pulled me back into the crowd (I probably could have done it easily & safely as I was to this man's back and the three were so drunk they probably couldn't see 2 feet in front of them, but "N" just wanted me to "hush").  So we watched as the woman and other man tried to grab his gun and yell at him back until after a minute of this, he gave up and put the gun straight down his front of pants (crotch-area) and sat down.  If the gun had been loaded, I was sure that he was going to shoot himself the way he slumped down on chair.  About 30 seconds later, the rain lifted and we walked gingerly back to the apartment.  I asked "N" about what the issue with the old drunk was and she said he was upset with his meal and he wanted to "get back after the restaurant keeper", but the old woman was telling him to come back tomorrow when he was not so upset.  Per "N's" understanding of their yelling, nothing was said about the gun ... as if it was ok to pull it out and threaten the crowd with it.  I asked her if this was maybe because of the early 90's (mob-run) Russia or if he was just "loosing it", and she said that this was fairly common with older men, especially those who may have been KGB, mob or policia. When I told her that this would have been very unacceptable in America, she acted as if she sees such things everyday in Lviv and when visiting Kiev....

To finish this section's storyline, I was deeply perplexed with the day to this point as to some of "N's" actions, others actions, the weather (from hot to rain in 2.1 seconds) and where is stood as we entered the apartment on our last full day in Kiev.  Wasn't sure if "N" was just out of synch, maybe with me, or if she was just keeping me off guard, but a little later on in the evening, I would probably understand a little better.....
 
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Offline Jinx

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Re: FootballDad's Trip Report - Summer 2008
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2008, 04:54:10 PM »
 During the "brunch", I asked what our plan was today and she just sat there like I had been to Kiev my whole life and since she "guided me around" the day before, it was up to me to decided.  This was probably the first instance (of a couple of times on the trip) that she actually perplexed me and I was dumbfounded as what to say (or do).  I stated to her that I don't know what else there is in Kiev to see outside of what we saw the past 1.5 days and I was at a disadvantage to know what to do or where to go.  So I tried to sugar-coat my "need" for her "guidance" and she just acted like I was to take the lead!  ???  This was really ackward and I was about to really start to wonder if I was still asleep dreaming when she changed her whole attitude and said let's go (this-a-way).  Don't know if this was a test .... but it sure was similar to a few other actions later in our trip that were just so "outside" of her normal actions, that it kept me guessing!!!!

 I had to smile when reading this, and I'm sure other guys can identify too. Even if you have never been to a place in your whole life, and she has lived there for most of hers, you are still expected to "lead"  :chuckle:   Men lead, men make the decisions..where to go, what to do, what to eat....anybody thinking of taking a trip over should really pay attention to this TR.   :THUB:

Offline Olga_Mouse

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Re: FootballDad's Trip Report - Summer 2008
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2008, 08:25:45 PM »

 We found a nice cafe and had some lunch and tea and I believe I had the first soup that I liked (a cold soup, something that I have never had, and I cannot think of the name of it (starts with an "A", I think)). 


Seems it's окрошка (The initial o tends to sound more like a when pronounced by Russians; though I'd expect Ukrainians being more "O-inclined"?)
Leaving Russia is not an emigration, rather an evacuation.

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: FootballDad's Trip Report - Summer 2008
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2008, 09:57:12 PM »
FootballDad, am enjoying your TR!


The soup OlgaM mentioned is here:
http://www.good-cook.ru/proth/proth_029.shtml



If this is it, and you'd like the recipe in English just follow this to the RUA soup recipes: http://ruadventures.com/forum/index.php?topic=2054.15

Offline FootballDad

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Re: FootballDad's Trip Report - Summer 2008
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2008, 11:01:34 AM »
Evening of Understanding (Day 3):

When we entered the apartment (from the elevator that was smaller than a Yugo's trunk space and slower than a turtle in reverse), I started putting groceries away and "N" wanted to eat some cheese and motioned for me to open some wine.  Well, guess what, no wine opener, so I found a four inch screw in a closet, slowly and carefully twisted it in and spent about 3 minutes trying to pull the cork without making it into mush (and I think my fingers are still numb today).  I was finally successfull and "N" was amazed at my (slight "McGiver") ingenuity to do what it takes to get some wine for us to share and not have to run back out to the market for just this tool.  This was really the first time I saw her "really" smile and even laugh a bit as I tried to excuse my "feat" as nothing.  So we sat, ate cheese and drank wine and this really the first time she started to "let her hair down" a little and really seemed to enjoy my company.  We drank the bottle of wine (together) faster than I had ever done (note: I am not a wine drinker ... I probably drank more wine this vacation than I have in 5 years), and I was very mezmerized with her new openess and change of attitude from (most of) earlier in the day.  "N" now seemed to be relaxed and very comfortable with me around and I picked up on this feeling as her letting a little bit of her guard (against me) down. 

We decided to stay in the apartment that night (our last night in Kiev) and munch on bologna-type meat and cheese and I had brought some local Virginia City chocolates and a bag of Nevada made Pepper-Teryaki Jerky and brought those out for her after the light dinner, and even shared some ice-cream after all this, that I had snuck into the grocery bag.  "N" really liked the jerky and mentioned that she had never had such meat before (thanks everyone for the RUA advice about bringing this to Eastern Europe) and she ate about 4 sticks before I had to take the bag away from her ... then her mouth got hot from the pepper spice and the funniest look came on her face. ;D  But she played it off well and told me she really liked it and that I "made a good choice".  She decided to have me wrap up the bag and save the chocolates so she could take home and share with her family & friends.  Although I had brought her several small gifts of books and maps of my area, these (food) gifts she seemed most impressed with up to this point

We spent the rest of the evening looking at the pictures we took the past 2+ days and reminisce about what we had seen.  We had some type of M-TV program on the mini-television with some Russian language singing and then once in a while an English sung video-song.  We laughed a bit at the pictures, the TV videos and just generally getting to know each other.  This night, was probably the beginning to our new relationship, as I feel that we really started to "connect" and, whilst trying to stay a gentlemen, thoughts of lust started making its way into my mind.  To counter this, I just kept the conversation going and she responded better that I had ever anticipated.  As we relaxed further into the night, I offered to give her a good ole American backrub and after some hesitation of her not understanding what I meant by a "backrub", she then understood "message" and I slowly and gently took her neck to lower back into my hands.  Within 15 minutes, she was like butter and almost purring, and probably had her ready for anything.  But gentlemanly, I gave her a kiss, helped her off the couch and walked her to her bedroom door.  At this moment, I gave her a deep goodnight kiss (note: the first one she allowed me to place on her lips) and wished her sweet dreams and she looked up at me like I had just saved her world .... and I felt like I had.

Go Seahawks!!! Go Vandals!!!