Sunday, July 28, 2013

Trip 1 - Ends

Our final chauffeur of trip (we've had several), Barry, Karen & Drew retrieved us from the airport at 7pm last night.
Nothing like a regular sized shower... and a clean, properly stocked washroom. Whats the world coming too! She says I don't have to wash yesterday's clothes in the bathtub like I have been for the past 2 weeks. Can't say I will miss that.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Welcome to North America

The long flight was uneventful. Great to be mostly home.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Hello again - back in Kiev

We did the long drive from Kiliya to Kiev in a nice Mercedes Benz diesel minivan today. Much better vehicle and driver then trip there. In fact today's drive was 4hrs shorter then the trip there. Price is the same, it all comes down to who they find to take you there.
Thanks to our coordinator team, they achieved the goal of making us get back to
Kiev in time for Saturday flight despite some setbacks in the paper process. Without their tenacity, grit, determination, punctuality, and Ukrainian motherliness we could well be rescheduling flights and being stuck here another 3 days. All is well now and we are in hotel next to airport from where we catch the early morning flight to Frankfurt.

the highway between Odesa and 
Kiev is a interstate like freeway where they drive like the autobahn. The roads prior to the freeway were a half decent highway with single lane both directions where they drive according to the road condition and vehicles ability to swerve around other vehicles before hitting the oncoming vehicles. the highway leaving Kiliya for first 2.5hrs is just crumbling pavement and treacherous terrain where you jump, swerve, lurch and roll from crater to crater.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Start your trip list

Start your trip list with heavy duty black large garbage bags because its a very good chance your living space in such countries doesn't have blinds, shades or if it does they are broke. Have traveled to both Russia and Ukraine now and these garbage bags were absolutely a necessity in both countries. The only way you will produce privacy and dark enough room to sleep. Oh, and don't forget the roll of clear packaging tape or the bags are useless.

Kiev Apartment - exclusive inside tour

An exclusive inside view of our lovely apartment in Kiev. Forget a hotel room, such an apartment is 1/4 the price of a dinky hotel room and comes with reliable fast WiFi, washing machine, kitchen with some appliances, not to mention 2 bedrooms, living room and kitchen.

Kiev Apartment- The Key

You can hear the clank of the big long key as Paul was thrown in prison.... No wait... This is several 100 years later but the clank is still the same. Only this is a ancient apartment in Kiev. Lovely apartment, one I will feel very thankful for tomorrow night if the days journey goes well.

Multiple Flavors - as long as its a cabover

Farming Country

Miles of crop land as far as the eye can see. Nice flat fertile gigantic fields of corn, wheat, sunflowers, barley etc. Big grain systems to go with it. This was along the high speed interstate like highway from Kiev to Odesa. We even zipped past a big farm implement dealer with rows of new Butler Versatile tractors (4wheel drive and front wheel assist) and Russian combines (same ones sold through Buhler Versatile in North America). They must be the only new tractors in the country because we haven't seen any newish tractors since getting here.

Lady on Loader

Beautifying the hotel roof. The other morning we heard a tractor outside our hotel window, turns out to be a tractor loader helping a lady paint the hotel roof.

Peace Gardens of Kiliya

Flower gardens on a central street next to our fav restaraunt.

Cabbage Soup & Fried Pork - not a play

I know most of us are familiar with the old Christmas play wherein the lady claimed to make good "cabbage soup and fried pork" but around here its about the best meal you can order. The cabbage borsch soup is exactly as hearty and delicious as the borsch we make at home and the fried breaded pork chop and french fries is awesome as well. The cabbage salad, oh yeah these guys at the reasonable priced yellow roofed restaraunt know how to make a meal.

Market Street

Just a few pics of busy market street. Didn't dare make pics inside market. Wasn't comfortable waving camera around in there cuz it was crowded.

Transportation in Kiliya

I'm posting pics of the modes of transportation from most used to least used. Mostly walking. then its mopeds, motorcycles, taxis then cars and buses.

For the love of beer

A pic of my fav ukrainian beer. Beer a better value here. Around $2 a bottle, the bottle is huge. I asked helper lady if bottle is bigger then what we are used to... Um.... Try 500ml vs 355ml for at home.

Orphanage Playground

The orphanage playground has some exotic and interesting toys made from worthless resources. Check em out. You see the kids of all ages spend time there every time we visit the boys.

Little Boys & Puppies

Today's visit to boys featured an extended visit with puppies. Oh well, every visit has been different. Today it was puppies.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Departure Talk

Hoping that paperwork gets completed here tomorrow so we may depart this city. Everything is 50-50 as night falls.

Boys on digital toy

Jen showing the boys pics on digital camera

Mystery Tractor Brand

On driveway to orphange they are demolishing an old brick structure with this backhoe Loader. This brand, model, and condition is the norm for tractors seen here.

Orphanage Sewing Room

Staff and teenage girls were sewing in the orphanage sewing room.