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Donhollio's FSU Pursuit !

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Donhollio:
   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.

 

DonA:
Hey Don good story. When do we get another dose?

DonAz

mendeleyev:
Don, like the others I'm waiting for the story to continue!  Also, great photos.

ECR844:
"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

DonA:
Don get on the stick dude and get another segment up for crying out loud!  :(

DonAz

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