Although I hadn’t slept a wink the night before my departure, I was pretty well rested by the time I landed in Kiev. The plan was to meet up with Herb and two of his friends – Gaurav and Jose – at the airport; we all flew in separately but managed to arrive within just a few hours of each other.
Luckily, despite never having been to Boryspil, we connected without issue and soon found a minibus into town. And the moment we hopped off Tanya was right there to greet us.
In anticipation of Kazantip, Herb had spent the last few weeks learning Russian – starting with Cyrillic, then the Pimsleur lessons and finally on a language-exchange website. Tanya is a friend he made through that site, and as she lives just outside of Kiev she offered to meet up while we’re here. Her English is phenomenal, and she turned out to be one of the nicest and most helpful people I’ve ever met.
First, we headed to the apartment she’d already found, reserved, and paid for on our behalf. Then she suggested we grab some traditional Ukrainian cuisine – but not before stopping at half a dozen cellphone shops to help us get 3G-ready SIM cards.
The next day she spent hours showing us around town, explaining Ukrainian culture and in general doing everything imaginable to make sure we had a nice stay. This level of selflessness pretty much represents every minute we spent with Tanya.
Thanks so much again for everything. In three simple words: “You kick ass!” 🙂
Anyway, our brief two-day Kiev stopover was all in all fairly routine. When planning this trip I’d originally blocked off these days for a tour to Chernobyl, but sadly, less than a month before our departure there was an unexpected court ruling that made trips into the “Exclusion Zone” significantly more difficult. So our plans had to be canceled and we spent the time just hanging out in town.
That’s alright – it gave us a chance to make our Kazantip costumes 😉 On my very last afternoon in LA I went on a big shopping spree that included (what felt like) every party and arts-and-crafts store in town. The booty: silly hats, suspenders, and materials for…
…The centerpiece of our festival costumes: four matching yellow polka-dot capes (yellow being the “official color” of Kazantip) 😀
I can’t believe it…it’s actually happening. In just a few short hours, we’ll be knocking on Kazantip’s door. I can only imagine what kind of debauchery awaits.
Note: These posts are behind realtime; the above took place on Thursday, August 4th.