Well settled in Kiev, sorry for the delay in posting but it has taken me this time to find somewhere to do it , all Wi Fi I'm afraid Chris has been here too. The trip here was reasonably straight forward though I had a challenge at the airport over whether I had the right to be in Rostov at all. Clearly the concept of a country wide visa is still an issue away from major centres .It was sorted in the end ,no issues in Moscow.
Kiev is pretty relaxed with lots going on. The churches are magnificent and again there is a Paris feel with wide tree lined streets .The river is not as wide as the Volga but still pretty big .I went on a short sail the 1st day which was great and so decided to take a 4 hour trip up to the lake above Kiev created by the H E scheme . 2 young local couples joined me at the table and in Ukrainian style offered me a beer. Then food was produced and I was again asked to join in . All was OK till just after the turn round to come back. I only just made the heads in time before throwing up I had to visit again before getting back. I didn't want to upset my hosts who seemed OK but I must have appeared pretty miserable sort of person . A dash into toilets on the dockside ,throwing up twice in the street( what humiliation) and 3 times back at my room rounded off my day !!
A very quiet following day was had.I think the problem was some of the food had obviously been reheated .
The same day as the sail I had my 1 st encounter with street crime. I was just about to go into the metro when a small package of dollars dropped on the pavement in front of me. This is a well known scam where the tourist picks it up hands it to the dropper and then told there were 2 packages , the tourist must have stolen one. I side stepped the package but another man ,I think an accomplice, picked it up handed it back then I found myself being thanked and suddenly we were in the 2 package routine! I became strident in English( one of my few skills!) and suddenly there was a plain clothes policeman asking me what was the matter . He spoke good English and I told him .He asked me and the other guy had we taken it we said no and I produced my wallet and offered my passport.He told me to go ,he would deal with it. It is a power full scam because most tourists carry foreign money and could not account for every piece. Fortunately the policeman recognised what was going on no doubt from past experience .All part of life's rich tapestry !
I was going down the Babyn Yar the site of the massacre of 30,00 Jews and 70,000 others by the Nazis the memorials especially the one put up in Soviet times are very moving unfortunately the Jewish one has been vandalised !
I had hoped to visit the Chernobyl site but have been unable to sort it out as a key manager at the travel agency was sick. However I did make the Museum which is rather worthy but the last room with hundreds of pictures of the children affected and their toys moved me close to tears remembering those days in 1986 chasing the cloud and its deposition .It alone made coming here worth while.
Well home tomorrow all being well .Love John