Sunday, August 31, 2008

UA - Kyiv

We're riding back to Kyiv from Crimea, and all I can say is: what a cold night! I suppose this could be a welcome change from the hot nights we’d had on the previous train rides, but my sheet and blanket just weren’t cutting it. After waking several times and reforming myself into the fetal position for warmth, I finally gave in at about 7 am or so and got my towel out of my backpack. The extra blanket power of my towel was all I needed: now my body was keeping near the warmth it was working so hard to create.

I’d also put my shorts back on, and then gone on to add the pantlegs onto my shorts, put my shirt on, and put on socks. That should give you an idea of how cold I was. I think anyone who knows me is well aware that I produce heat in abundance, and if you’ve ever shared a bed with me: you know that it’s like having a space heater laying beside you. So when I’m cold: it’s cold. And furthermore, I can sleep with shorts and maybe pajama pants on, but that’s solely as a social courtesy and I’m certainly not comfortable doing so. It’s boxers and that’s it. So when I put on shorts and my pantlegs, that means I’m cold. I never wear a shirt to sleep, so when I put on my shirt, it’s really cold. And lastly, I don’t even wear socks during the daytime when I’m cold because my feet just simply don’t get cold… so when I put on socks, it's really really cold. That’s how cold it was, but now, fully dressed and with a towel as an extra blanket, I was warm. Always bring a towel.

This all made it particularly difficult when, at about 11 am, I was faced with the dilemma of having to go to the bathroom. As it so often does, the Simpsons once again serves up a perfect example of this dilemma. Basically, here I am wrapped up in this cocoon of warm happiness, but there’s this need to go to the bathroom. So unless you want to wet the bed or pee on the floor – both of which are not exactly socially accepted – you have no choice but to get up and go. However, in those first couple minutes you’re awake, one always feels like maybe… just maybe… this time you’ll stumble upon the perfect solution where you can go to the bathroom and not have to get up and stay perfectly warm. So I eventually relented and got myself up. At least by this time, the sun had warmed things up to a more bearable level.

Svitlana awoke right about the same time and we both ordered tea (I proudly took the lead and ordered it for the both of us, in Russian). As the tea arrived, Anastasia also woke up and got some coffee for herself. We gorged on our groceries and then sat about for the remainder of the trip. Along the way, the train traveled through sun, clouds, rain, lots of rain, sun again, and so on. I half expected to pass through a snowstorm at some point.

After having left at nearly 11pm the previous night, we arrived in Kyiv at nearly 7pm. We immediately returned to Svitlana’s new apartment so Anastasia could get her things and so we could sit down and have a farewell snack. The three of us then returned to the train station to see Anastasia off – another night and day awaited her on her train ride from Kyiv to Moscow.

Svitlana and I returned back to her apartment, where I tried not to bother her too much because by that point it was about 11pm and we had to catch a taxi for Bosipol Airport at 4am. Whereas I can sleep in a plane tomorrow, she starts classes tomorrow and actually needs any sleep she can muster. Therefore, I am pulling an all-nighter – partly so I can pack without rush, partly so I can stitch photos, partly so I can write in this journal (notice I just changed from past tense to present tense… I’m finally caught up!), and partly due to a lack of beds. Granted, a bed has since become available, but I figure I’ll end the trip the way I began it: wreaking havoc on my sleep schedule before jetlag gets a chance.

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