Following a mere 3 hours of sleep, the transit from Minsk to Kiev was, in a word, disagreeable. The only thing keeping me awake in the airport was the cacophonous ramblings of a nervous, intoxicated flier. Somehow, she palmed a glass bottle of Carlsberg (500ml, 13.62 Ukrainian Hryvnia!) directly onto the plane. I chuckled, buckled, and snuggled against the window, proceeding to do what I do best on airplanes – sleep like the rock of all rocks.
After settling in, my colleague Catherine and I walked to the nearby Bessarabs’ka Square, where part of the Ukrainian May Day demonstration was taking place. While I couldn’t understand the speeches, I imagined that the workers were frustrated with their country’s current economic state. Ukraine is on the verge of economic collapse, and the government, as I understand it, is unable to take action. When I learn more, I’ll do my best to clarify.
And now for some pictures:
1) At a French-Moroccan fusion restaurant. Desert. Baked apple with cinnamon sticks, mint leaves, lemon juice and honey. One of the best dishes I’ve ever tasted. Catherine and I coupled it with puffs of densely packed, apple-infused hookah. Yummy.
2) On the weekend, traffic is blocked on Khreschatyk Street. Pedestrians flock to the streets for pleasant walks, street performances, and live music.
3) The main statue of Independence Square – where hundreds of university students went on a hunger strike in 1989, kicking off the movement for independence from Moscow.
4) Another shot of Independence Square. More recently, it served as the epicenter of Ukraine’s 2004-2005 Orange Revolution, a series of protests and political events in response to accusations of voter intimidation, electoral fraud, and other forms of corruption during Ukraine’s Presidential Run-off Election of November 21, 2004.
5) Independence Square, shot 3! A hubbub of pedestrian fun.
6) Stopping to admire the architecture on a quiet walk back to the hotel.
Tomorrow Catherine and I will be taking a much-needed day off and touring Chernobyl. More images to come!