Wow, yet another crazy adventure day. What a wonderful world this is where I can document two amazing cities in the same day. Admittedly, I have seen relatively little of Ivan Franko’s namesake city, and I must make penance to the fellow for exploiting his monument in Lviv this morning for the sake of photographs. I had to step on the corner of the base to get around some Polish tourists (where I come from, stepping on a monument or even over the graves can be a major no-no; I don’t know about Ukraine), so I feel like I owe him some sincere recognition. As soon as I get Internet, I’m going to get right on that. In the meantime, here’s his Wikipedia entry.
We arrived at Ivano-Frankivsk station in the pouring rain, and we found Oles waiting for us at the back of our car, as Shelley told him the car number over her phone. He helped me get my suitcase down onto the platform and then quite justifiably suggested that it was my hunting equipment. This was followed by “bricks?” as we searched for a cab, and I volunteered “moya devchenna” (my girlfriend) as I shook hands with Oles’ parents in their ninth-floor apartment, after a ride in a quiet hydraulic lift.
And then we had dinner. We were treated like royalty. It was wonderful, and the food (and cognac) was delicious.
Later, now joined by Oles’ sister Krystynna, we set out in search of some beer and Oles’ hair appointment. It was sunny when we stepped out (and I got some beautiful dark-cloud / bright-sun / rainbow pictures from an apartment window), but this quickly turned to hail, and it rained a lot all evening, forcing us to resort to taxis and marshutkes as darkness fell. Nevertheless, we were able to see quite a bit.
We first went out for coffee and had a long chat between the three of us while Oles got his hair cut. Krystynna is studying German and wants to become a teacher. She’s an eternal optimist who likes tragic theatre. I learned quite a bit of German and Ukrainian from her. I’m starting to realize that German is probably the easiest language to learn from my linguistic perspective, so maybe I should get on that sometime.
Later, we went for pizza (again!) but this was a nice place near Krystynna’s university that made really traditional Ukrainian pizza, and Krystynna and I ordered a custom deal with Bulgarian pepers, corn kernels, tomatoes, and sausage. It was delicious, and I really thank Krystynna for letting me in on the joy of corn-topped pizza.
And now I’m back at the apartment, blotted and blogging and considering myself to be one of the most fortunate people in the world. Such hospitality! Such fun! Such adventure! Such safety! (And this is so not Canada World Youth – booking a train and travelling by ourselves – that would never happen on a normal program!)
Tomorrow, Oles is going to drive us to the Carpathians. Wow. This should be awesome. Once there, I’ll most likely pair up with Amy or go my own way. Whatever works. Managing to get here without significant difficulty was a major achievement for me. Maybe travelling isn’t so bad after all!
- I got an e-mail the other day asking me for permission to use one of my photos in Wikipedia! Now the entry for Fenwick Place is graced with one of my drug-store-quality photographs. Oh, dear. =)
- There have been some cultural things that we think we’re just not picking up on. For instance, we’re incapable of telling the difference (in tone and verbiage) between “I’m coming just because you’re there,” and “I’m coming and will meet you incidentally.” Also, ‘plans’ made more than a day in advance tend to be fairly weak, and you can only really count on what is promised for the here and now. (Ukrainians have a tendency to just get up and do things without a lot of forethought – if something needs to be done, it’s just done, usually without much show, planning, or ceremony.) We’re sure that explicit clues are being given; they’re just beyond our skill to pick up on, because while these signs are explicit, they’re not explicitly spoken. (The reverse is probably also true – I doubt they’re picking up on our subtleties, either.) This is happening everywhere to all of us and frankly I’m surprised we didn’t realize it before.
God help me if I start dating.