I woke up and instantly hit the city. Mark was at work and Daryna wasn’t going to meet up with me for another 3 hours, so I had some time to explore solo. The communication barrier was a complication in my quest, but one I adverted nonetheless. I quickly found that the younger generation understood English more fluently. I walked over to the protest where propaganda was being blared over P.A. systems between the Ukrainian and Russian fight for government control. I felt a reassurance that all of America’s problems simply weren’t that bad in the grand scheme of things.
I then checked out Independence Square and San Sofia, a cathedral that my mom would have loved to see. The cathedral had been erected for 1,000 years. It really put in perspective the history of mankind and how short the United States existence is in the timeline of human life.
I then met Daryna for some food. We went to a place called the fat house for some traditional Ukrainian foods. The popular dish is something called borsh, which essentially consists of beats, cabbage, and onions in a red soup. After checking out more cathedrals, and this spectacular overlook view of the city, Daryna insisted on taking me to her favorite bar for a “special” cocktail. The place was really cool, it was all in the theme of a hospital setting. Daryna went up to the bar and ordered me a “stop light” which I could tell was bad news based on the twisted smile that sketched across the bartenders face. He then came out with a giant apron and a WWII helmet. I was then presented with 3 cups of liquor which I was told to down once he blew the whistle. Before doing so, he soaked a napkin in liquor and placed it on my helmet. He literally lit my head on fire. He started blowing the whistle and grabbed the first cup, smacking it against my helmet as some liquor cascaded out adding to the flames, before presenting it for me to drink. The same thing followed for the next two cups. After all 3 cups were finished, he hit me on the head with a wrench, and then a mini keg – thus commencing my first “stop light” cocktail.
Ukrainian’s have some weird traditions I suppose. Loose minded, I kissed and said good bye to Daryna and set home alone, getting lost in the process and eventually found my way back through the little Ukrainian that I knew. Getting lost in a foreign country is a scary/exhilirating experience. I then went to dinner with Mark and two of his guys from work, Sergia and Nick. It was a very high scale restaurant, and we sat, ate and drank and shot the shit in deep conversation; it was 1 o’clock before we knew it.
We didn’t get to the bars till 2 am. We went to a bar called Cerebno, which means silver in Ukrainian. It was an upscale bar with lights flashing and Eastern European electronic/house music pumping. The women were stunningly beautiful. They were all predominately from Ukraine or Russia, tall thin blondes with chiseled facial features, and seemed to love the fact that I was American.