>> Friday, January 01, 2010
Image by yasmapaz & ace_heart via FlickrThe flight over to Ukraine was rather disappointing, to say the least. We arrived at the airport only to discover that the itinerary that had been mailed to us just the day before was actually wrong. Aerosvit, the Ukrainian airline that managed the international stretch of our flight, had changed the outbound domestic stretch and didn't relay it to the company that handled our tickets. So, we missed our flight to begin with. Some calls to CheapTickets, where we purchased the tickets, provided no help whatsoever and the only option remaining was for Delta to reroute us to Laguardia in New York. From there we had to catch a taxi over to JFK international. It cost an extra $35, and we had to haul our luggage from one airport to the other - oh, that cost an extra $10 for the luggage carts - but it wasn't horribly intolerable, and we got to see a little bit more of New York than we would have had we been confined to JFK.
Once we got on the Aerosvit flight to Ukraine, things were a little bit better because at least they went according to schedule and at least we were sitting next to one another. However those seats were about as close to the bathrooms as you could get. The planes that Aerosvit uses are old and comfort is understandably lacking; sleep was hard to come by and what sleep you got really wasn't worth it.
When we arrived in Ukraine I was reminded why I haven't been here in four years. Don't get me wrong; it's worth travelling to Ukraine and seeing what there is to see, but there's really a limit to the amount of time you'd want to be over here.
Some thoughts about what Ukraine is, good and bad:
dangerously broken roads
open orloose manholes
last year's leaves piled everywhere
lots of exercise; walking!
Men standing around drinking beer
large, wooded parks
convenient public travel
Not too many people overweight
women who are beautiful without even trying (my wife is from Ukraine)
dusty, dangerous playgrounds
confusing city layouts
the good people here are very good
plastic is abused and/or wasted perhaps even moreso than in America
When we arrived in Kiev, a friend of my wife's picked us up and helped us throughout the day, which really was very kind of him. I think we'll certainly have compensated him enough when it's all through, however, since we also decided to give his daughter the car seat stroller that Digory has about outgrown. I had wanted to give it to my brother for his upcoming child, but perhaps it would be even better to give them a new one.
The first day after we got here, and admittedly the second as well, really consisted of hanging around grandma's new apartment and recovering from the travel. There was more to it than just sleeping, of course. I played outside on the typically-dangerous playground with Leilani for a while, and we bought some things in the local stores. We also went to the evening church service at my wife's old church. I don't know what was going on but it seemed like it was Guest Mike night for the service as everyone and their grandmother was getting up to give some lengthy talk on some point or another. We gave up when the kids were either asleep or too rambuctious to keep in the church, and some friends who were there gave us a lift home on their minivan.
We had/have an offer to stay in the apartment of a friend of ours instead of at grandma's. I'm a bit torn; he DOES have internet there, which would be really nice, but then there's the matter of making the trip to grandma's every single day, too. It's fine, either way. We've decided to just stay with grandma, and if we were at Sasha's, I'm sure I'd just be on the internet too often anyway.