Thursday, 24 May 2007
We woke around 8:00 to another beautiful Ukrainian day…not a cloud in the sky. But as we walked to the Internet café in the center of town, we discovered that today was going to be hot…like Africa Hot.
We stopped to exchange money, and then stuck our noses in an interesting looking shope that sold toys, electronics and watches. We found a watch to replace the one Masha broke the other day, and one for Mark and one for me as well! No longer must we dig out the phone to see what time it is!!
We made our way to the Internet café, where we both settled in to see what we’d be able to access today. I checked email and posted yesterday’s blog while Mark surfed a bit. When our time was up, we walked down the street to the rather large bazaar area. Covering several city blocks, local people set up stalls and sell just about anything from toilets to shoes to fish. We only made it through a fraction of the offerings before the heat got the better of us and we headed back to the air-conditioned bliss of the internet café.
After another 15 minutes of surfing (where we checked the weather to see how long it was gonna stay this HOT), we met our driver and went over to the orphanage to pick Masha up. Upon our arrival, Sveta announced that she had remembered a new cafeteria to try for lunch! We all did the happy dance, and piled into the cars.
Every coin has two sides. The heads…the air conditioning in this cafeteria rocked! It was nice and cool and wonderful inside. The tails…no one was eating there for a reason. The place looked like the VFW hall decorated for a wedding reception, and the food tasted about the same. The pelemeni were good (how can pelemeni be bad??), but the rest left a bit to be desired.
After everyone was full, we headed over to the park, armed with a soccer ball, velcro catch game, and a couple of Frisbees. Despite our preparedness, the girls immediately begged for some time in the crocodile, and then on the centrifugal Lunch Retriever ride. Masha was very disappointed that we limited her to two rides, but Sveta explained that we are not cash machines, but, in fact, parents.
We spent a little time on the playground, but Masha was getting into a bit of a funk. Sveta came over and announced that Masha needed to use the bathroom, and offered to take her. Mark followed along, anxious for the Ukrainian Public Restroom Experience. I think I’m glad I missed it, if the women’s room was as nasty as the men’s….Yuk.
This might be a little too much information, but I have to share…My restroom strategy to this point has been to use the facilities at home the second before we leave in the morning, and to limit my liquid consumption to only what I can process and sweat out during the afternoon. So far I’ve been successful in avoiding the public restrooms…knock on wood. (and I’m sure I’ll hear from all of you about how unhealthy this is, but if you look at the photo of this bathroom, you’ll see that it’s the lesser of two evils!)
After the park (and lots of hand sanitizer), we took the girls to the wonderful Café of the Banana Split for ice cream. Masha was still in a little bit of a mood, but she ordered ice cream and reluctantly ate it. We all got really yummy sundaes for about $1.20 each. Have I mentioned recently that the food is really cheap!?!?!
When we had all eaten our fill of ice cream, we returned the girls to the orphanage and said our goodbyes. After this, we asked our driver to run back to our apartment to pick up the laptop…I had seen a little WiFi symbol on a poster at Papa Karlo’s cafeteria yesterday and wanted to check it out to see if it was for real.
Jackpot! We found free WiFi!!!!! We spent about an hour and a half online, taking care of some blog administration, calling home via Skype, and instant messaging. It was nice to be connected for the price of a beer and some pistachio nuts. But the piece de resistance was our discovery of not one, but two Ukrainian Mullets. Photo is not so good, but it’s the best I could get while pretending to take a picture of Mark!