Trip Start Apr 24, 2007
63Trip End Jul 09, 2007
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Where I stayed
I don't think the picture of the planes meant anything, that one didn't go to the airport either. After I was the last one left on the minibus, the driver asked me something of that I couldn't decipher. A guy at the hostel had taught me the proper way to say areoport and Boryspil, but apparently I hadn't been the best student
Before I got into the cab, I asked how much (another phrase I had tried to learn the night before). The cab spoke a bit of English and understood exactly where I wanted to go and best of all, he said the price would be 5 Hryvnia (about $0.80CAD). I was quite happy with the price, but a bit surprised that he was offering it after the cab yesterday, so to be sure I gestured 5, repeated it twice and got to him to reapeat it and nod his head as well as shake his head no when I questioned the currency and verbally agree that he meant 5 Hryvnia and not 5USD. Satisfied I got in the Cab and 5 minutes later was in front of the airport. I handed the cabbie 5 Hryvnia, he turned around and said no, no, 50. He faked a good shocked expression and even called me crazy (in English) for thinking it was only 5, I showed him my wallet that now only had 1 Hryvnia left in it (I had thought it would be better to take money out at the airport than the night before, just incase any hands found their way into my purse on the metro)
Made it to Simferopol and this time was prepared for the cabbies in arrival and walked right through them. For the persistent ones who followed me around the airport and outside I discovered the glorious new tactic of pretending I don't speak English! It worked quite well. Caught the bus into town and then found the shuttles to Yalta. Success at last with public transport in Ukraine!!
I fluked out big time with finding my hotel (that's right hotel, no hostel here!), I went up to the doorman of one random hotel and asked him where the Bristol was and he pointed inside
The place is stunning; no wonder they call it the Russian Riviera. It has a long promenade which starts at one end with a big square and fountain where, among other things, there is a bunch of bouncy castles and trampoline rides. There is also a statue of Lenin that seems to glare directly at the MacDonald's Express. Along the promenade there were shops, flower beds, huge trees, guys with monkeys, roller bladders and exquisitely dressed couples. Next to the promenade was a rocky beach full of people. I wandered down to the end and there were a bunch of market stalls. Have I mentioned it was +30 and a clear blue sky? Then I went along a side street that had a little river running next to it with tiny water falls all along. The street was mainly people selling painting and little Baba's sold plastic cups of nuts and packs of smoke off upside down boxes. I wandered a bit more before finding a cafeteria style place to eat
After my interesting dinner, I wandered back down the promenade to my lovely room. I realized on the way back that a lot of signs are in English, just using the Cyrillic alphabet (or a lot of the words are extremely similar to English). I think I am starting to catch onto the alphabet quite a bit. When I got back to my room, I enjoyed all my new modern conveniences. I sprawled out in my wonderful bed and watched a bit of TV. Simpsons sucks in Russian, but Futurerama actually sounds better! They were also showing coverage of some fireworks in Moscow, I took a quick look at the trusty lonely planet and found out it was Victory Day in Russia from 1945. About an hour later I heard fireworks going off here so I went on to my beautiful balcony and watched them before climbing into my wonderful bed. Even with the setbacks, Yalta has already climbed up the list as one of my favorite places in the word.