Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kharkov at Night

The street in front of my apartment was quiet as I stepped onto the snow- and ice-covered sidewalks. A frigid wind blew in my face and I began to walk. Up Pushkinskya Street and back. Past Internet cafes, a blues restaurant, and shuttered shops. It was just after nine o'clock and while the streets were not bustling as they had earlier in the day, many locals, bundled in fur coats and hats, shuffled by.

Without any doubt, I am a total outsider here. I can barely read the signs, order a meal, or engage in conversation. But for some reason, I feel comfortable in this very foreign place. I stopped into the closest bar, Pivobar, or Beer Bar, and sat at the counter to order a shot of Neimeroff Vodka, Ukraine's finest. I tried to order fifty ML but could only come up with the word for 100. So, "sto" ML of vodka later, I return to the street, to my gorgeous apartment on the second floor, on Furenze Street, still in need of basic things like toilet paper and soap, but having a kind of inner peace I have rarely found anywhere.

As soon as I have the energy, I'll start to post some photos of my neighborhood. Until then, I sleep.

My bartender, Dmitri, asked me where I was from and what I was doing in Kharkov, and we managed to communicate a few ideas before my lack of language skill stopped us.

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