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Finally, Odessa

July 16, 2011

Since I have been in Ukraine I have wanted to visit Odessa. I had heard about it even as a child, and as a PCV I had heard more about it, and had heard about so many others who visited it.  So when nearly a year of my service went by and I still had not seen Odessa, I decided that had to change.

Luckily for me, I have someone who was willing to make the journey and spend a few days here with me. And who speaks the language(s) as a native, so was able to find and negotiate for an apartment (that is nearly in the center of the city) for a reasonable rate. However, first we had to get here…

Our train left Kirovograd at 2:18 a.m. Yep, that is in the middle of the night. Therefore, I decided that yesterday was not going to be a busy day in any way…but it ended up being such somehow. Well, somehow is the fact that I had an extra pair of hands (and again, native speaker) to help me with a few things. Item number one – the small suitcase I purchased at the end of May. The very day I arrived in Prague and was on the bus from the airport, the wheels broke off….I was able to retrieve seven out of eight of them. However, because I do not live in the U.S., you cannot simply return a defective item after you have used it ONCE on an airplane and it broke. Nope. So R was kind enough to buy the necessary items for repairing said suitcase. And did, I think..I have not tried it again…

Item number two – small camera I purchased here which is having some difficulties. We took it to the store and guess what? NO exchanges. I can take it to a local shop and have it repaired. Of course, I cannot do that because I need the camera now and in August…SIGH…so I was having a few “I hate living here” moments the other day…

On the upside – when the curtains in my extra room fell, R was there to repair them. I took the opportunity to wash all of the curtains and I do not even want to say what the water looked like…and I washed them three times…let’s just say EWW I cannot believe I was living with those.

So took the day…that and a nap or two, since I do not sleep on trains and knew I would not sleep well this past night. So 1:45 a.m. and our taxi arrived, we got to the train station, and stepping onto the train I was hit with a massive heat wave. Platzkart is not air conditioned, and people do not keep the windows open, no matter how hot it is. So it was hot. Damn hot. The heat was made up for by a very sociable couple of neighbors (R made a friend in a young boy and a baba gave me some advice on some products for “womens’ things”) and then we were here.

Finding our way to the apartment we rented was the next challenge, then it was waiting for the owner…luckily we brought our breakfast, which we ate while we waited. She and her daughter arrived, showed us around, and were telling us some things about where to go in Odessa. Honestly, I was very nearly falling asleep the whole time. I perked up when she spoke directly to me and asked if I was from Finland.

Finland? Hmm…that’s a new destination. Never been asked that one before. She seemed surprised to find out I was an American. Perhaps I speak Russian with a Finnish accent?

After she left, I got my nap, and then my shower, and then was ready to go explore. We quickly found the center and the loud music drew us to Potyomkin stairs (where there was some sort of skate and skateboard exhibition going on), then we wandered around the port area a bit. Our way to the port, though, was not without its entertainment…I made R stop on the way down for a bit of a rest, and we were immediately approached by a woman who offered to tell us our destinies. As I sometimes do, I tuned out while R did the talking, and kept saying “no thank you”, which she did not accept. She insisted that she could read his past and predict his future, and got unpleasant about it when he again said no. Hmm…she looked at me but I remained mute…sorry ma’am…

Then, after taking a photo of our reflection in the mirrored wall of the sea station we investigated the port, returned up the Potyomkin stairs, saw a reconstruction of an archaeological dig under glass, took photos of Pushkin and the opera building, wandered a bit more, returned here and it was dinner time.

And now, thinking of all of the things I still want to do here, all I want to do is go to bed early! Maybe it is the heat (and no air conditioning), maybe it is the trains and little sleep, maybe it is all the walking around IN the heat…whatever it is, I am tiiiiiired.


One Comment leave one →
  1. helene permalink
    July 16, 2011 6:30 pm

    Finland = very good

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