Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Mire la calle

¿Cómo puede usted ser

Indiferente a ese gran rio

de huesos, a ese gran rio

de sueños, a ese gran rio

de sangre, a ese gran rio?

Nicolás Guillen*.

i don't normally go in for poetry, but I just saw this online y me gusto bastante. Here is a quick translation.


How can you be

Indifferent to that great river

of bones, to that great river

of dreams, to that great river

of blood, to that great river?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I am really tired.

And in Warsaw, which is another beautiful city. This one is a real city with a Marriott and a big Samsung sign on the side of a building etc. It is, however 5.26 and I'm already awake. There is also a phone ringing somewhere in this hostel and has been for roughly the last ten minutes. This is both confusing and unfortunate. I was having those half awake hallucinations that occur when you know you have to do something. First I imagined turning on my cell phone and seeing that it was 9.50 (basically guaranteeing a missed flight) and then I heard someone across the dorm telling me, "Kira, I think some guy came in and was trying to tell you something. He was using a clicker." In retrospect this makes no sense, but since I requested a wakeup I interpreted it as relating. So I finally gave into my head's voices and got up to really check the time. Lol, дерьмо, the phone ringing mystery turns out to be my cell phone alarm in my pocket. This is how conscious I am.

Here are a few other examples of Warsaw ups and downs that have happened in the last 11 hours:
1. My debit card is frozen again (although to be fair this is like blaming Obama for the economic crisis. Really it is Ukraine's fault) BUT I found an extra five euro I had squirreled.
2. I was walking for forever trying to find this hostel and I was SO tired BUT I found a cool art exhibit along the way and the lady gave me new directions.
3. I had to ask a billion other people directions too BUT they all spoke very nice english and were really friendly.
4. The hostel girl looked up a great restaurant with cheap vegetarian peroghi that looked really nice BUT when I finally walked the mile there it was closed so I had to eat some crap falafel BUT I also saw the most beautiful street in Warsaw AND found a really cute cafe w/ some kind of hot pudding they passed off as hot chocolate and a marzipan croissant.

So all in all a place I would really love to come back to. Lots of setbacks but they always seem to lead to something good, which is what one would like to say about life, right? Rambling, rambling. Maybe I will try to go back to bed...

Two last things:
a. Maybe the coolest thing about Warsaw is that they have these stone benches with maps engraved on them and a little talky bit about "Here is where Chopin looked for the last time at his front door," etc but THEN in the corner there is a button you can press and the bench plays music! AND there are these strange bar code squares that you can apparently SCAN WITH YOUR PHONE to get the music as a ringtone or something.

b. So, taking stock of my financial sitch here is where we are. I have 20 euro that I found in my estuche that made 80 zloty or whatever they call it here. 32 was the night, (that sounds like a mystery novel title), 8 was the falafel, 17 was the hot chocolate and croissant, 5 was the juice. So I have enough to get to the airport and maybe even get some breakfast. I also found an extra 5 euro in a jacket which means that, and this is exciting, NOT ONLY did I use it as key deposit but I now have enough to take the train from Manresa to Barcelona, or vice versa I mean, when I arrive back in Spain, which is very exciting. Or I think I do. Wait. I have enough to take it from Arc de Triomf or Plaza Catalunya to Manresa, but how much was it to get from the airport? Maybe I can rechange a few of these zloty. CRAP.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I am really really enamored of some things about this city. Like this song, that Oleg taught me a few phrases from and then I just found the actual song while searching something unrelated (trying to find out the roots of the phrase "odessa mama" which on our first night someone told us has folkloric roots) and i LOVE it. I love how they say "odessa". And I think Ukraine is one of the most beautiful words ever. The city doesn't quite live up to it, but people say I have to see it in the summer. I want to live here I think.
I also got really sick last night and was busy puking out both ends, if you know what i mean. I thought it was some crepes or a bell pepper i bought but some people reassured me that it was probably the water, which I drank a few times when I first arrived w/o realizing the danger. Apparently depending on where you are in the country the water can be radioactive. Depending on where you are in this city the water can be traveling through lead pipes. So, we'll never know but it was awful, but was only for one night, strangely enough.
The best part of yesterday, though, was walking through a few blocks where I think they were having a power outage, because there were no lights at all which we all know is particularly magical. But since everyone here wears black it was also dangerous.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Yes. Still. I got to take a russian sauna though with Sasha's neighbor. And eat really good food. I love the food here! It is all really good. Very cabbage and other vegetable based. And oiled. All my favorite things. Then I spent maybe the worst night I have spent in awhile because everything went terribly wrong.
Sasha's cousin's car broke down and so we had to stay an extra night, which would not have phased me at all if I were not supposed to meet with two different people in two different countries that day. Anyway I had a psychosomatic asthma attack and so couldn't sleep even when I was finally tired much later that night.
But now I'm with Laura so it's all good and we're catching the next bus to odessa to see masha and everybody is almost happy. As happy as we can be in life knowing that the next challenge is arriving, yes? Very good. Updates later, just wanted to let everyone know I'm alive and well.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Okay, quick update (or not so quick)

here I am in Moldova, Chisinau to be exact. And let's just recap the MOST exciting thing that happened to me...ever. I voted (in my head, because I wasn't watching it directly) for the winner in Eurovision!!! You should watch it on youtube. It was Norway. There were quite a few pretty good songs though. Ukraine is another one worth watching, if only because it is ridiculous. Wait, I forgot about Germany. That was the most ridiculous. Unless it was Bosnia, the guy's face is of Eldar quality in its torment.
So staying in Czech Republic was great. And Slovakia was just a bonus I hadn't even counted on, just check (yes, yes) that off the list of countries to visit, you know?
Okay, center. Let's see. Moldova I have seen very little of so far, except the world of booze! Which has been an exceptionally thorough tour considering how little time I've spent here. Let's see: descending from the bus and grabbing my backpack I turn around and there is Sasha towering over me. How exciting! Then we checked in to a typical rip-off (but european style so more expensive) hotel and went out. I had some most delicious white cheese (LAUREN! WHITE CHEESE! And it was delicious, should i bring some back for Markek?) patties, a sweet white cheese that you dip in sour cream and then elderberry jam. We also had a shot of honey vodka which was delicious and some pilsner Moldovan beer which was actually good, and then you know some wine and then we went to a grocery store where an old babushka talked to Sasha for possibly 20 minutes about her life. She was tiny. Later we found a nice bar and had a drink which was complicated. First the bartender put alcohol in a class- no, first he put coffee beans in a shot glass. Then he put alcohol in a snifter or whatever, a glass, and balanced them on top of the shot glasses. He proceeded> to light them on fire and spin them around to get hot. Then, one two three he dumped the licker in on the coffee beans and turned the empty glass upside down over a straw that had been stuck through a napkin (previously), trapping the bent up part of the straw under the glass. Follow me? Then you drink the hot drink and then you suck in through the straw. Nice.
So the hotel front was a rip off but we're not going to think about that because I got to have a nice bath and seeing Sasha/Alex/Constantine again is worth it, and meeting his family is maybe even MORE worth it. I am enamored. Let's see if i can get a picture up here.

Oh, this is me after having bought my FIRST bus ticket to Moldova. In the communist bus ticket station. You can see what a relief it was to get out of there. Unfortunately that bus didn't end up existing, so when I got there I had to exchange the ticket at another office for two days later. Which turned out to be fortunate because I was able to laugh really hard and really obnoxiously with some other Americans who work for IBM. Okay but here above you can see Sasha's sister and dad. It's bad quality but they are really cool people. Natalie spent all day yesterday making me food and talking with me/translating words for me between Russian, Romanian and English. And then when the parents, Galina and Constantine, got home she had to translate between all of us. It also turns out we are very Russian. Not only does my name blend in well here but Mom, your name is Russian too. Did you know? Actually, my name is very easy to travel with. It has very easy consonants and vowels I guess. Well chosen. And since my haircut is very Czech (according to Kyle) and also very Spanish I just blend right in anywhere. Well, more or less.
It's still really weird to think that I'm in this part of the world.
It's also really weird, Kyle's face in this foto. This is when we climbed to the top of this hill, scaling dangerous cliffs and braving black rider territory to enjoy our bag full of pastries. That cream puff he is ardently devouring lasted him for about three days. I mean, in his stomache, because it disappeared from the light of day in approximately five minutes. I'm going to also upload perhaps my favorite picture of him ever, upon the night of this, our most important invention: the snoily. I'll let you guess as to its purpose.
Okay, let's do two more. Here is a picture for Lauren, because this is a Larsen Bay face if I ever saw one, and yet another indicator that there is no hope for me in this life. This is when we went to patinoar last night with some of Sasha's friends.

Lucky that we skated for so many hours last Christmas because I felt much more comfortable and was able to avoid all the hazards typical of a small sheet of ice covered in people with blades strapped to their feet and differing abilities in the use thereof. Let me tell you, there was blood on the ice within ten minutes of the herd being let loose. Drops all over the place. We cuidadosamente avoided them in case they contained H1hash1 (which is how they call the swine flu here) along with the myriad other typical blood born pathogens. So in short, it was good.
So here I will put up the view from Sasha's family's apartment, but let me say that the view inside is much nicer than the view outside. Today I think I will attempt the journey to the history museum.
Updates later, maybe not until I reach Spain, and wish Laura and I luck with Ukraine. O! I didn't talk about the much feared bus ride. Well it was great. Firstly, it had a lovely band trip atmosphere, everyone knew everyone else and had their blankets and donuts and oranges. This was probably because there were four different bus drivers and they each brought their wife/girlfriend with them. Also because I got to watch a movie that I rather liked, in Russian, and could recognize more words than I can count on my hands, which I think is hopeful. Let's see if I can remember them.
And the bus was not packed, so I had two seats to myself, and then we watched Eurovision and guess what? This year it was held in Moscow, so between each performance they would show Russian vocab words. How perfect? Then the next day Romania was lovely to drive through. I very much liked looking at the houses with their piles of hay and cows rubbing their faces on trees. So the 28 hours really flew by. I like that state when you are traveling. The feeling of just sort of oozing in and out of consciuosness. When is it pleasant, like that bus ride. Not like the Ryanair plane ride which for some reason, even though it was only three hours, was almost untolerable. Maybe because I was sick but also because it was loud and no entertainment and small seats and inadequately shaped space for legs. Okay, enough for now.