Tuesday, August 12, 2008

UA - Kyiv

Another late-start, as I spent the morning talking with Svitlana. I noted how it was odd to see her in anything other than a red one-piece swimsuit, or a t-shirt that reads “lifeguard” – pretty much her entire collection of clothing during her time in America. Anastasia contacted Svitlana that morning and said that she’d be arriving tomorrow. We were also amused when Victoria called and said that a friend of hers , from Cypress, would be arriving tomorrow. This place was really beginning to feel like a hostel! We’d have an equal amount of foreigners living here as we do locals.

Svitlana left for the airport to deal with leaving her job, and I left for the city to visit the Caves Monastery. I wandered about the Monastery a bit, as it is set on some incredibly scenic grounds. I joined a tour through the Historical Treasures Museum and checked out the collection of Scythian gold which, while interesting, wasn’t really worth spending an hour on. That hour made me miss the entry into the caves, which was the whole reason I went there. I wondered the grounds some more and took a lot of photos of the great flower gardens, then made my way back toward the city’s core.

Instead of just taking the same route I’d already taken a couple times thus far, I turned down a side-street and began to explore the small roads. There were some truly beautiful neighborhoods – not at all what you would think of when you envision a city which was under Soviet rule less than two decades ago.

I passed by the evening sitting near the Chimera House, when I grabbed some photos then made my way down to Maydan Nezalezhnosti, where I sought out some food. Mastering my skills of Cyrillic, I ordered a Hot Dog Picant, which any English speaker could recognize as a spicy hot dog. It had peppers, hot mustard, and boy was it good… could have been a bit spicier, though.

My appetite satiated, I returned to the apartment and finally got back early enough (about 11pm) to see the others still awake. I even beat Svitlana back. I sat out on the balcony, typing up these here journal entries and processing my photos. When my battery began to run low, I grabbed a shower and emerged to see Svitlana in a black dress. This sight nearly took my breath away, and all I managed to squeak out was “You look nice.” Just like our morning conversation delved into, I’d never really seen her dressed up before, and all this time it was easy just to think of her as a friend; but here all I could think of was “wow she looks good.” It was also a relief, especially after having just returned from the city streets, to see a woman dressed in a more conservative and pretty dress; as opposed to the extremely revealing fashion of downtown Kyiv. It reinforced the sweet and innocent nature that I have of Svitlana.

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