Friday, June 3, 2016



I'd contacted six different places - three agencies and three private individuals.  Only one agency bothered to get back to me.

"Oh, we're poor!"

"How's your business professionalism?"

So in another little nip, the son of the lady I'd made the agreement with informed me that this house is neither his nor his mothers.  And, in an amazing bit of coincidence (since it is on the day my rent is due) his evil landlord has raised the rent and so he will raise mine.  He wanted $40 more, I negotiated it down to $30.  Not much of a haggle on my part.  It is annoying.  Not sure whose idea it was but I did e-mail his mom to let her know I'd be staying for another month despite the rent being raised.

Honestly, I really dislike business in Ukraine but the prices are the counterbalance to the shenanigans.

Fortunately, my old friends in Romania are going to make me feel very welcome there and so I've got that to look forward to.


The possibility - from Ukraine to Romania to Moldova back to Ukraine then on to Poland?

Not sure what to do after this.  Look for somewhere warm in Europe to hole up for the winter?  Because 'fuck the cold'.

Romania:  My friend Diana said she would take care of Romania so I'm skipping research on that.

Moldova:  I did the capital a few years ago and boy did it suck.  There was absolutely nothing there I wanted to see.  Going here would be a place to put between so I am just not going back and forth between Romania and Ukraine.

Note to self - might have to go through Transnistra.  Check to see if this can happen or not.  Train might be a way around it.

Another note - there seems to be absolutely nothing I am at all interested in within Moldova.  Been there, done that, didn't like it last time.  Figure out something else.  Croatia?  Bosnia?

Ukraine:  I'll have to look for somewhere else.  Between Moldova and Ukraine, I will need to burn a total of three months so that I can get back into the Schengen Area.  Then, I can get back in to visit...

Poland:  It's looking like I can stay in some really sexy cities for $300 per month rent.

After Poland, I'm really not sure where to go.   My goal is to be outside the Shengen area and somewhere warm.  My goal would be (after wintering) to head back to the USA in April (?).

Note to self - research how to get a Schengen extension.   It looks pretty rough.  Probably better to just duck out then back in later.

Later musings:  Europe during the six months of warm weather - nice.  The other six months - cold and sucky.  Right now, I'm trying to figure out a place to winter.  Not really thrilled about going back to Morocco and eating a bunch of 'tangine'.   Finding non-Schengen countries that are warm and not overly expensive to hang out in for half a year until it is time to go to the states - rough.  Especially since much of northern Africa either sucks or are busy squatting in burning villages polishing their AK-74's.   I'm not sure why the entire continent of Africa generally sucks so much - or if it is decent it's a bit pricy.


By the gods I hate staying in a place more than a month. However, it is much easier on the pocket book. Since saving up for LHI2-TSC and a new computer that can play more than FV2 is important, I'm just sitting on my ass in Lviv.

It's weird but I find that I fall into a pattern depending on which part of the world I'm in. My pattern here is after my start up sequence (aka 'waking up') I will walk into Lviv (about 6KM) to a cafeteria restaurant. Honestly, the food is about the same quality as the other restaurants and about half the price. I can eat (with a drink) for under $4.

After that, I grab some supplies (diet soda, cookies to balance that diet shit and possibly alcohol. Note, I only drink on days ending with a 'Y'.) and get on the bus to get back. The bus costs .16 USD. Not a typo, it is sixteen cents. No idea why they bother to charge at all. Probably to get the bus driver to stop. I suspect they get the money or at least manage to shave off their cut.

After getting back, I will shower, mess about with the computer for awhile and possibly take a nap. You are suppose to sleep less as you get older. Still waiting for that part to kick in.

After waking up, I'll order pasta and a salad (note the health conscious thing there with the salad!) from a delivery place. The delivery guys seem to like me as I may be the only person in the country that tips them. I generally give them a dollar. Only the USA (due to Prohibition) is afflicted with the tipping BS. Dinner generally costs around six USD, including tip. Begin drinking when food is delivered.

Here, I am drinking wine mixed with diet soda. Considering a decent bottle is two USD, it's a treat. As my travel mentor once said 'When in Rome, drink what the Romans do'. IE drink what is cheap. Here and now, it's wine which is fine with me.

After consuming a bottle (or two if it is a special 'fuck the soda' night and I want a bit of a buzz) and stuffing my ever widening ass with sweets. They actually go into my mouth - though it would make a better story if I fed like a giant sea cucumber. Yeah. Take a moment to look it up to see how it feeds. Internet FTW.

After that, and watching a few movies (and possibly posting a bunch of stuff to the FB group 'Movie Geeks' if I am MST3000) I will go to sleep to start it all up the next day.

Note that my schedule (as well as what food I eat, etc) all might change depending on which country I am in.  Also note that I love my schedule and freedom.  If I were rich, I'd have even more freedom.  If I was really rich, I would begin distributing some of that freedom to my friends.


Thanks to David H for pointing out this excellent article on what's going on there now.

Best not to visit a country where the word 'bloodbath' is making it into articles.


Wheels on the bus go...

A lot of different backpacker sites are always talking about taking a bus (while loaded down with your gear) to get around the high cost of taxis.

Since I take one or more buses daily in Ukraine, here's the deal:


When you get to a town, your best option is to call (or get someone to call) a taxi.  If you take the rip off artists on the street (independents) you will pay double, triple or as much as they think they can soak you for.  Don't fall for the 'let's use the meter' scam - they can set the meter for whatever the hell they want.  If you have to use one of these bastards, negotiate hard for a fixed price before you even step in.  Do NOT accept the meter unless you have lube.

As to the bus, if you have anything over a small bag of groceries - and sometimes even with just that - it is too crowded most of the time.  On about seventy percent or more of the buses it's standing room only and not much of that.

If you travel during a busy time (when people go or come from work or lunch) it is Japanese Pusher crowded.

This is Japan - not Ukraine.  But packed in like hot dogs kind of feels the same either way.  Your only hope is that you are gassy - because believe me, someone else will be.  It's a built in defense mechanism!

Getting on and off the bus will be hell and honestly, it's not fair to the other poor commuters.  Suck it up (Buttercup) and get a cab.


Been trying to play a bit of Skyrim and was stymied that my computer would sometimes shut itself off.  Searching the internet told me that the insides were probably dirty.

Of the computer.  I know my insides are no picnic.

Except to a cannibal.

Lots of people enjoy taking their fancy computer to a coffee shop and doing stuff there.  I don't.  Especially when the computer is about half a years wage to the locals.  For a black market resell.

So I stuffed it into a backpack and tried the closer of the two places I'd found which advertised they cleaned computers.  He quoted 350 UAH (about 14 USD).  I asked him if it would be possible to do it right the hell now and let me watch for 500 UAH.  "Impossible - I am very busy right now."

I pointedly looked around his abandoned, silent dusty shop.

"Riiiiight."  I responded.  "I might be back later."

I often feel like him when dealing with people.

I always like to say that I might come back later.  It is better than saying something you will be refused service for later.  Went to the other place on my list.  It was tricky to find, located within a courtyard of a building and the only signs in Cyrillic which I should learn but just can't work up the caring.

They only wanted 300 UAH, it would take an hour and I couldn't watch.  Offering a couple hundred bribe to watch didn't work though the guy did snap two pics of the dirt inside for me.  That was nice of him.

It's always good to watch when you can because they may take more care with your computer and I may learn something.

Got back the laptop.  Parts of the case still needed to be snapped together but the computer did actually start back up (yea!) so I am happy.  No water drained from it either.


Unfortunately, they also scrubbed the paint off the LED light which I had painted over meticulously.  Now, I have to find more paint or white out or something to cover it up.  It is annoying and distracting.  The LED is one that DELL felt necessary to have light up should you decide to disable your thumb pad.  Why is this necessary?  Because someone at Dell is a moron and morons up the chain decided to go with it.

Bernie Mac had a solution for those kind of people. 


I would like to say that there are some disadvantages to the novel. While I love the concept (oh, if only in real life!) and enjoy the story...

Well, the author has what in the USA would be considered 'extremely sexist' views of women. Not having been to Russia, I don't know if this is a 'typically Russian' viewpoint. To me, it seems a lot like a USA 1970's viewpoint. "Oh, look - the little lady has a job! Isn't that cute!" type of crap.

And a bit of casual racism. Again, much like in the 1970's USA. If someone is a skinflint, he is 'jewing you' type of crap.

Again, if I'd ever been to Russia, I could always say it fits in with the Russian stereotype - but I haven't. No clue. It could be just the way this guy is and not even realize he's doing it.

It reminds me a bit of this.


Getting the dust and grime of two years of road dust out of your laptop, 300-350 UAH.


  1. Have you seen this?

  2. I've been relistening to a lot of HC... we had some fun times.

  3. Indeed we did. I still remember the time you passed out from laughing.



{{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 - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster | Thailand: Bangkok | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2018}} Ukraine: Kiev - Chernihiv - Uzhhorod

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