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Sunday, June 5, 2011

SEVASTOPOL - THE CITY I CAN'T PRONOUNCE

COSTS

Because I had chosen not to bring my $2 pair of flip flops at the start of the journey, I bought a new pair at 80 UAH at the bazaar in Odessa.

From main train station city to Sevastopol by train rather than the death trap buses, 8 UAH.



TEACHIE ENGRISH!

I talked to a lady at the hostel who is teaching English. She gets paid so little that she can't support herself off of the teaching salary. Suckie. In addition, they don't want men teaching because a lot of the very strange men who are here for brides.



ENGLISH CLUB, PART 1

We had gotten invited to an 'English Club' where there were over twenty people who got together to speak English to each other. It was headed up by an overly cheerful English teacher who claimed not to run it - but did. With an iron hand. It was way too structured and lame for sticking around long. It would have been nice to have conversations with smaller groups of these people but they went around the room talking about a pre-prepaired topic. One guy even had printed out a wiki article on it and was going to read the whole thing. This level of lameness caused Henriette to become ill. As a gallant male, it was my job to get her out of there. Especially before she attacked and killed everyone.



ENGLISH CLUB, PART 2

We met up with a good 'English club' that consisted of just four or so people. They would get together to practice English. The people included Bogaan, Dasha, Julia and Ilia. Julia and Ilia hung out with Henriette and I for hours after the meeting had broken up and they told us some interesting things about Ukraine. It was nice meeting and hanging out with everyone.



UKRAINIAN SAYING

"Love is forever, we only change the women."



UKRAINIAN CUSTOM

They have amateur archaeologists looking for the bones of soldiers from World War Two. They find about one hundred ever year. In the United States, they have metal 'dog tags' to ID the soldier's bodies. In the Ukraine, they were made of paper. To further complicate matters, it was thought that if you had this paper tag (I believe they called them 'death tags') with you, you were thought more likely to die. As a result, they only ID 5-10% of the soldiers they find. All soldiers -whether ID'ed or not are then given a proper burial.

They practice Halloween more and more here. [Logan note: Being that this has (in my life time) gone from a kid's holiday to a more grown up 'lets party' holiday, this isn't really surprising.]



WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT?

Henriette told me about 'planking'. It falls in to my WTFITS category.



PHILOSOPHY

I was talking to a lady from Siberia and philosophizing on the fact I believe most men are more adventurous than most women. She said that there were many old Russian songs along the same line. They decry women for snagging the men with their good looks. It was good for the women to have the men sitting at home but not so for the men - they crave adventure.



HEADING OUT

I began my journey to Sevastopol, Ukraine via some other major train depot town. The first train I was on had first, second and third classes. I was advised to get the second class ticket so I did. I don't remember how much it cost but it was cheap. Until the train gets going, nothing works. Electricity, air conditioning and all that shit isn't going. When I first got into the car, it was oven hot and vaguely smelled of urine. They have four hard leather platforms in the train arranged like two sets of bunk beds. This arrangement is called a couchette. In addition, there are pads you can put over them. You also get a packet containing two sheets, a pillow case, a pillow (not in pack) and a towel. Under the bottom platform/bed is a metal box that can fit my large rucksack. The guy who is sleeping on top apparently doesn't get anywhere to store his shit. Three other reasons to always get the bottom bunk when you make the train reservation are that it can be slightly bigger, has access to the table and sometimes there is no visible way to climb up to the top one, even for someone in good shape.

Prior to going on this train I was warned repeatedly about train thieves but didn't see any.

I was lucky enough (and she unlucky enough) to share the compartment with a middle aged lady. She spoke some English as well. She even offered to make my bed for me as I puzzled through the unfamiliar set up. I politely refused. As a result, her bed looked better than mine.



WHAT'S IN THE SATCHEL

2 pens (still need to find more)
Fake wallet with a little cash in it
Camera
Russian phrase book (which it's looking like I'll have to hang on all the way to Georgia)
High power LED flashlight - small
USB stick
Playing cards (when I switch locations only, otherwise it stays in the backpack)
Magnifying glass
Compass (lashed to bag)
Bandanna (lashed to the bag - coming in useful as the temperature rises)
Calculator (the same one so many players have used to make god knows how may characters)

The bag itself is starting to look a bit ratty as it's getting heavy daily use. It's pretty tough so I'm hoping it lasts for awhile.

In my opinion, there are two good reasons to keep the bag light - first, if it gets stolen, the only thing of any real value is the camera (about $100). Second, it hurts my back/neck to carry more. I have no idea how women carry big purses.



SEVASTOPOL FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Honestly, it feels a bit empty here. Just as I was writing that sentence, a marching band went by. I'm not sure how long I'm going to be here for or what I'm going to do. My plan is to talk to Adam to see if I can narrow my possibilities of where I should go next.

3 comments:

  1. Planking... I could just imagine some new to america kid in HS "planking" at school... everyone walking by like... uh... WTF dude? Then the school jocks sensing this odd behavior from the bowels of the school and immediately beating this kid for being dumb... This ranks up there with the Traveling Gnome thing... though that's at least funny.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travelling_gnome_prank

    Now if it was cleverly done I'd get it but all the examples were lying on benches and shit like that... Fuck... that means the homeless are Olympian Plankers... they just can't afford the camera.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree - the traveling gnome thing - much funnier.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You mentioned the travelling gnome in your blog when we were still in Prague I think.

    As to planking - We already have a Darwin awards qualifier in Australia - http://www.smh.com.au/national/planker-tries-new-craze-and-plunges-to-his-death-20110515-1eod4.html

    ReplyDelete

PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia | Michigan | Illinois |

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