Tuesday, November 23, 2010

You are the coolest African I have met this entire trip!

My first night in Kiev, I was invited by the rest of the hostel guests at TIU Kreshatik to share a home cooked dinner.  We had amazing borsht, salad, rice and pasta.  As soon as the bottle of vodka came out, the true friendships began.  Around the table sat an American girl, a Greek man, two Turkish guys, a Japanese dude, a Ugandan man, and two Ukrainian chicks.  I am still amazed that at any given point, everyone sitting at a table will be able to speak English; it really makes my life much simpler.  We had such a great time over dinner that we decided we should all go out to the bars together.  After picking up a new addition to our group, a British guy, we were on our way. 
International Relations featuring Borsht and Vodka

Kiev is notorious for its deep metro lines.  Claudia and I joked that you could get so much done on your way to work, just on the metro escalator.  We must have looked like such ridiculous tourists, because we took hundreds of pictures that night, many of them on the escalator.
Metro Photo Shoot!

Work it, Boys!

I had such an amazing time, hanging out with "Sushi," "Dark Chocolate," and everyone else (for the record, those were the names they gave themselves, and I don't have to tell you who is who!). 

Erika to the Ugandan: "You are the coolest African I have met this entire trip!"
Ugandan: "Wow, thank you.  What a compliment.  You are so kind."
Erika: "Actually, you are the only African I have met this entire trip."
Pause.... roar of laughter on both sides

Dancing to the live music
We danced on tables at the bar.  Well, actually "Sushi" did and this might be one of the only times I passed up table dancing.  We ordered towers of beer that I haven't seen since China and all around just had a grand old time.    

Beer Tower 1 of 3

Sushi on the Table

Our group got broken up into multiple factions when deciding what to do next.  Artyom and I wanted to meet our other friends at a different pub, but it seemed like others wanted to go to a Disco, excuse me, "night club." So we went our separate ways.  We sat at the pub for about an hour, before my bad habit of falling asleep at the bars kicked in.  I was exhausted, having spent the last night barely sleeping on the train from Odessa.  Jason and Artyom convinced me that all I needed was some vodka and Red Bull.  *Sigh*  I really did not want any Red Bull, since I had to be up by 8:30AM the next day to watch the Soccer tournament my kids were playing in and it was already pushing 2:30AM.  Somehow, I was convinced to go to Vodka Bar, which was on the way home.  Here is when things started to get ugly.

Right about when things started to get ugly
Besides a few beers, I hadn't really been drinking, and did not plan on starting at 3AM, but I did take one Red Bull to keep me awake.  I had to suffer through the bad techno remixes, and one must really have a good attitude to survive them, so I figured one Red Bull wouldn't hurt. At this point, I had with me Jason, Artyom and the British dude who had tagged along.  All was going fine, until the Brit got too drunk, annoying and apologetic.   You know the kind: gets too drunk, and insists on apologizing about everything.  He also tried to smoke a wet cigarette that he dropped on the floor which we all chastised him for.  He was getting a little strange, and it was already past 5AM when I put my foot down and insisted that I was walking home, with or without everyone.  

I just love this picture.

Artyom was nice enough to make sure the Brit didn't lose his jacket or money, or me, cause I was ready to just walk home and ditch the guy.  We went and bought water in the 24 hr kiosk, but after one 5 minutes of holding Artyom's water, the Brit ran off and apparently started playing soccer with the bottled water somewhere on the street.  This story isn't even worth my breathe, but basically, he was drunk, annoying and almost found himself on the street that night because Artyom almost kicked him out of his hostel.  Artyom and the Brit had a long conversation which went something like this:

Brit: "You just don't understand.  My life is so hard.  I am 32, and I live with my mother.  She doesn't even know I am in Ukraine right now."
Artyom: "Um... actually, my mother is dead.  And well, so is my brother."
Brit gushes through flood of tears: "My life is so hard."

When staying in a hostel, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  This British guy apologized, cried, and promised to behave.  He put himself on voluntary prohibition and is now restricting himself from going out at night.  Well done.

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