lviv, ukraine.

May 4, 2010, Michaela Evanow, 0 Comments

Well well well, this jet lag is just brutal. The thought of hopping on a midnight train and sleeping in the rocking compartments doesn’t give me quite as much comfort as I’d like. You know that feeling when you’re always hungry, kind of grumpy, and when you look at something, you don’t really see it? It’s kind of like having a newborn, I suppose. You are tired, but you can’t seem to sleep. Jay and I keep waking up at 4:ooam, and then tossing and turning and laughing and practically crying because we can’t fall back asleep. There is nothing significant about 4:00 am either, it’s only 8pm at home. We have been watching BBC a lot at night. The same news reports, again and again and again. Times Square Bomber (unsuccessful Pakistani), some airports in England and Ireland closed again due to the ash cloud, BP paying for oil spill cleanup in the States, the US has 5000 something nuclear weapons. Oh yes, we are well-informed. And kind of lonely. No one seems to speak English and we’ve seen, oh, 3 other English speakers the whole time.

It’s an odd feeling, being in a city that requires you to buy water if you want to drink any (and be forewarned, when you buy it, it may or may not taste like baking soda and ammonia) or pay to go to the washroom (though I did ignore a little old lady at a stall today…twice. I was yelled at in Ukrainian, but I didn’t care. I brought my own toilet paper, so there!) It reminds me of India.  I suppose there is some oppression lingering and things haven’t quite panned out for the Ukrainians as hoped. They aren’t incredibly happy people. Many have large, broad foreheads and deep-set icy blue eyes. They are tiny people too! The women here make me look muscular and meaty! They are very beautiful, and of course, very unsightly. I can’t generalize about Ukrainian women, because they are vastly different. Some are skinny beanpoles (I can say that, because they are), while some are fleshy with little bellies. Some are fake blondes, some are fake blacks (I don’t know what you call someone with fake black hair). Some have tiny little noses, chiseled and beautiful. Others have swollen hockey player noses that seem to engulf their upper lips.

You know, they wear high heels all the time. I can’t help myself from tripping and stumbling over broken pavement and cobblestones, so how the heck do they wear heels? And what is wrong with bare legs?! I wore jean shorts today and sandals, and my legs were gawked at so much, I finally put tights on, though it was sweltering. Every single woman who passed us, looked me up and down until I was red as a beetroot. I don’t get it. Is this wrong? These women wear musty nude tights with everything, even when it looks ugly. Black heels, nude tights, fake, icy blonde hair.

It’s not fair to sum up Ukrainian women in one sentence, or two, but I just did. It’s also not fair to think I don’t like the Ukraine. I do, I am just exhausted and baffled by the unfamiliarity, and hardness of these people (at least in Lviv). And did I mention the food is pretty bad? Everything tastes like sweet smoke and old grease. I am starving. I ate a whole loaf of tastless bread today for lunch, washed down with two glasses of grape juice wine (cheap, cheap, gross Georgian wine–but not literally cheap…) and it was pretty satisfying.

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