Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Blogging from the train

I was so spoiled on my flight from Dusseldorf to Kyiv. I had an aisle seat but no one else in the seats next to me so I had three seats to myself. I tried to sleep but it just didn’t happen.

Nico met me at the airport and took me to the train station. We were able to get a whole second-class compartment (4 tickets, $100) for the same price as one first-class ticket, so I chose to travel second-class. It meant I had the whole compartment to myself instead of sharing with another person. There’s not, in my opinion, a huge difference between first and second class on the train. First class only has two bunks per compartment; second has four. The beds are a little different: first class has something like velour on the beds/seats, and second class has what I think is vinyl. But I haven’t noticed any significant differences in the bathrooms or the service. Nico asked the train lady to take care of me (not sure what he thought I was going to do!) and ordered tea (chai) for me. Tea on the train is 3 grivna per cup, so about $0.37 each.

Since my train ride is 16 hours long, I had a lot of time. I spent the first few hours reading and waiting for the bathroom. For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to ride on the trains in Ukraine, you are not allowed to use the bathroom while the train is stopped or going through towns. This is because the toilet flushes directly on to the tracks. Nope, not kidding at all. We had a lot of stops right in a row after leaving Kyiv so it was awhile before I could get in to the bathroom. After the bathroom, I made myself comfortable and curled up and went to sleep. I woke up a few times (I was actually cold!) but pulled my coat over me and slept well after that. They do have blankets on the train in the compartments, but I’m afraid of them now after Nancy got a rash from them. ;) So I just used the pillow in a pillowcase with another sheet folded around it, and the second sheet folded in half for my bed.

I’m now about 15 minutes away from Mariupol (okay, when I typed this, I thought I was about 15 minutes away. As it turned out, I was still about an hour away as our train was running late). Sasha has said to expect today AND tomorrow to be crazy running-around days, so I expect I will do lots of sitting in the car and handing over money as necessary. :)

Right now all that matters is that I am here and working hard to get our girls home!

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