Writer, traveler, maker


Travel updates and occasional commentary

GSP 5: The Kyiv post I didn't plan to write

Late-evening sunlight and a local sketch variety show on the bus TV provided my first introduction to Kyiv once I'd left the airport. This mix of the familiar and unfamiliar proved a good foretaste of my week there.

I had a nice blog post written about my week, interspersed with various pictures, but after I clicked "save," Squarespace decided to eat all my updates, prompting me to cry for the fifth time today.

I should have been packing for a flight to Cape Town tonight. Instead I'd spent an hour on this post, in hopes I could finally finish one of the many cities on my travel-blog backlog (I'm actually typing this in Ethiopia, stop 3 in Africa, which at this pace I probably won't manage to write about until December 2037.)

Instead of that original post about trying to discern Cyrillic platform signs and spilling beer on my first taste of Ukrainian food (plus the white shirt I'd worn to church; at least it washed out), here are some pictures from my stay.

I had wonderful hosts in Kyiv and some very interesting conversations, but somehow I never quite connected to the city the way I did others.

Most unexpected moment in the city: After I asked a young man at the grocery store to help me decipher a beer label (on the guess he spoke better English than the middle-aged man next to him), he asked if I'd buy him a beer! Turned out Kyiv had a higher drinking age than I would have expected.

Most satisfying moment with my hosts: Watching their 18-month-old son discover my travel fan.

Most beautiful moment: The boys choir concert one of my interviewees invited me to. I hadn't realized until then that music formed one of the truly global languages I've encountered this trip. As I sat there that warm June night, listening to songs both unfamiliar and familiar, I had a momentary feeling of home.

Country snapshot

  • Subway pass: $1.54/4-5 rides
  • Beer: $.83 at a restaurant
  • Water: My hosts bought bottled in 5-gallon jugs
  • Recycling: None that I recall