Back in the USSR

October 21, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope you have been well! I’m back on survey for the November quarter. This trip, I’ll be headed to Kiev (I’m writing from my hotel here now), Bucharest, Baku, Tbilisi, Istanbul, Diyarbakir, and Ankara. It’s a really exciting trip. 20131021_190158If you’ve been following this blog since the beginning, you might recall that I’ve already been to Kiev! It’s been two years since that second survey trip. I feel more confident in my survey abilities now. I’m in the same hotel as before, and the rooms have received a much needed upgrade.

The flights over here were tough. From Boston to Munich, I was more uncomfortable than normal and very fidgety. I watched The Great Gatsby, which I kind of liked, and played a lot of trivia games. Lufthansa has great touch screen personal TVs and the plane was very modern. Additionally, they have a downstairs area where you use the bathroom. I thought it was very cool to have that area so people don’t line up in the aisles.

The layover in Munich was long, a bit more than three hours. I slept for a little in their relaxing area, and ate some chicken stew. On the flight from Munich to Kiev, I slept almost the entire way. The girl next to me asked me to let her by when she needed to get up to use the bathroom, and i jumped because she woke me up. It scared both of us. I think there was someone important or just very rich on the flight because we had to wait on the bus before getting on the plane and I saw a fancy black Mercedes pull right up to the first class cabin stairs while we waited. Someone got out and was talking on his cell phone as he boarded. We had to wait getting off as well.

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Leaving the airport, I walked right past the guys who want you to get in their taxis in order to get to an official taxi. They say the official taxis with the meters are more expensive, but I know they are full of it. I payed a very reasonable price for my transportation.

Checking in at the hotel, I told them I had been there two years ago, and one of the ladies recognized me! She said she knew my face, and also, she remembered that we had talked about our names because hers is Aniko (I’ll have to confirm the spelling tomorrow), kind of like Annie.

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After relaxing and unpacking in the hotel room, I had a much needed shower and then, armed with my flashlight, phone, and money, headed out for a walk and some dinner. I forgot how nice it was to survey somewhere other than West Africa.

The air is crisp, and the streets are busy so I can walk around. I had forgotten about the fun pedestrian underpasses they have in this area of the world so you don’t have to walk across the busy streets and can be warmer. They always smell like cigarettes.

I walked for a bit and took some pictures. Kiev is very beautiful. The large buildings have so much detail. I came across some guys breakdancing and watched them for a bit with a big group.

For dinner, I went to a restaurant I had already been to – it’s local food, cafeteria style. I had borscht, chicken, salad, and bread. Most of these things were seasoned with dill and garlic butter. Yum.  I happened to sit next to a group of English speakers who worked for Microsoft and they traveled a whole lot as recruiters.  I got a cappuccino, and then walked back to the hotel. I’m very excited to be here and to start working tomorrow!

Love, Annie

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