We ran into some problems with our paperwork today, so we will not be leaving Kiev until Monday evening to travel to Donetsk. We will be playing tourists for the next couple of days, as no work for the adoption can be done over the weekend. I thought I might share with you some things about Ukraine that are quite different from home.......
No fast food restaurants. (Except for McDonalds in Kiev...one on almost every corner) Instead they have these places that our facilitator calls "cafeterias." They are like buffets and are all very similar. One section of salads, one section of soups (borscht), a couple sections of meat/potato/rice, etc. One section of "pancakes" (they look like crepes and they all have different fillings), tiny dessert sections, and drink section. When you enter these restaurants, you grab a tray. You go through each section and decide what you want. Each thing you get is served on a plate that is weighed before being given to you. You then go up to the till and pay, go to your table and unload all the little plates off of your tray so you can return it. It is very cheap to eat in these places. Approx $30 Gryvna for the 2 of us (approx $10 US) McDonald's is the most expensive place we've eaten. Another funny thing about the restaurants is that when you walk in there are sinks at the front door for you to wash your hands (usually)
Laundry...we are fortunate enough to have a machine in our apartment in the bathroom. It is tiny. We did our first load today. I pair of jeans, 2 pairs of yoga pants, a T-shirt and some socks and underwear. We BARELY fit it all in. And it runs for about and hour and a half! I don't get it. There are no dryers in Ukraine. We have hung our clothes on the balcony to dry.
Ukrainian drivers.....oy!... You thought Edmontonians are bad! There are no rules here. No speed limits. No laws when it comes to driving. Everyone drives extremely fast. Lots of roads are not paved...they are like cobblestone. Makes for a rough ride. And people park ANYWHERE. The first day we got here, we had to go to a notary office. Several cars just stopped on the road and were parked there! Many people walk in Ukraine (we have walked for miles!) When you cross the road, you do so at your own risk. Pedestrians are fair game for drivers.
Ukrainians don't smile.....it's true. When you walk down the street, no one looks you in the eye and no one smiles. Sometimes it seems very depressing. Our facilitator told us it's because life is so rough here and people are not afraid to show it. Once you speak to some people here, though, or ask for help, they are very willing to be helpful.
That's just a few differences between Ukraine and Canada. I have managed to finally post some pictures below. Maybe as we tour the next few days, we will post some more.
For anyone reading this blog who would like to send us an email, please do not send them to our shaw email address. We can not access it from here. Our address that you should be sending mail to is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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