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Найбільш розумний курс дій 28/01/2012

Posted by brendan in Avions, Trains et Voitures.
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Last Morning

Double espresso! Double espresso! But there was no coffee jerk chasing crumbs on this morning. In the category Not Waking Up Sans Kidneys in a Bathtub Filled with Ice Hostel Yaroslav wins a gold star. In the category Not Returning to Find Expensive Electronics Stolen they take the cake. In the competition for Best Breakfast Buffet Deal someone entered a double-burner hotplate before passing out backstage. Janice hoisted me from the tangled remains of my bed and hauled me through the early morning sounds of Podil to the nearest cafe.

Podil

Some voluntary vagabond had taken residence in the shower stall, leaving us to wring the sweat from our clothes before packing. Through the darkened hallway then down flights of concrete stairs to pass the key to a different receptionist than we’d met the day before. Janice found a corner in the barren kitchen where the meager complimentary wifi could be harnessed and double-checked that we knew what we were doing.

What we were doing was leaving Kyiv. (more…)

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розпливчасті уявлення про час і місце 27/11/2011

Posted by brendan in Avions, Trains et Voitures, Bienvenue à la Semaine de Fonctionnement.
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On Further Assignment

Tourist trap but I don’t care. Stella Artois on umbrellas and English on menus are comforting when you’re far from home, battered by logistics and suffering humiliating defeats. The waitress running this high-rent cafe smiled through our mangled ordering and let us stew on the terrace in peace.

In celebration of our nation’s birth the American ambassador was hosting a backyard weenie roast somewhere in the surrounding blocks. I suppose that banal banter and sacrificial animal innards in the name of freedom isn’t much worse than our foiled dancing through the poisoned landscape of Chornobyl. No ethical dilemma, dietary or political, was faced. As quickly as I learned of this BBQ I was told in no uncertain terms that I was not allowed to attend.

Not that Our Man in Kyiv had issued a direct decree. A project manager with Bechtel, in-country to oversee work on the multimillion dollar effort to contain, conceal and dismantle the crumbling remains of Chornobyl, had. Using sketchy and possibly illegal information we had positioned ourselves near the official diplomatic residence to receive a post-soiree phone call. (more…)

багажу і беззмістовність 02/10/2011

Posted by brendan in Avions, Trains et Voitures.
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Displaced

Hopelessness and despair had shattered my mind, leaving me unfit to lead our band onward. Janice, grizzled road warrior and freshly settled Eastern European that she is, saw our rattling wagon’s destiny with a chasm and ripped the reins from my lifeless hands. Hostel Yaroslav witnessed our plight and offered salvation, in English and with online booking. Elbows sent morning commuters scattering and saddlebags were heaped onto the blue line heading towards Podil.

Sunk beneath the tangled convergence of streets which comprise Kontraktova Ploscha is a subterranean warren of twisting corridors, fluorescent tubing and grim storefronts. Frequent excursions through the underground passages of Khreschatyk had not prepared us for the intensely claustrophobic rat-maze in which we had been deposited. A lower-class of street vendor populated this den already narrowed by walls. Directions to the hostel had been provided, but the piece of paper on which they had been copied proved useless. Exits to the land of sunshine and air lay in all directions, but which direction did they lead?

Métro stations in Paris can sprawl. They twist and turn. There are multiple points of entry. Conscious of the displacement caused by traveling beneath streets the RATP as chosen to number and identify each stairwell as well as to provide the essential Plan de Quartier.

Metro stations in Kyiv force you to crawl from the depths of hell into a frightening and unknowable realm of shysters, cops, cheap consumer crap and impatient masses. (more…)