Visiting Ukraine and Russia. Flight

On Fridays, JFK runways are busy. Our Boing-767 operated by Ukranian airline Aerosvit was slowly moving in line of other planes that were about to take off.

Seventeen years ago I left this country and relocated to the land of opportunities a.k.a. USA. This is my first visit to Ukraine since then.

I “m going to attend a couple of reunions and several other parties, visit a cemetery, have two rather long train trips from Ukraine to Russia and back, and make a technical presentation. At this point I don “t feel nostalgia, but I really want to see people I “ve not seen for years.

The plane was clean, flight attendants were young but grim. No smilies. He stopped by my seat and started threatening, “Coffee, Tea? rdquo;… The fish was good, and so far I didn “t open my sandwich with wild Alaskan salmon on a multi-grain roll with French butter. I try to take this meal on every flight scared by junk food served by American air carries.

A couple of Ukrainian tourists immediately started drinking. One of them was periodically going back to his seat in the business class smuggling cognac and slices of lemon for himself and his drinking buddy who was flying economy.

Man, they knew it! Aerosvit didn “t serve alcohol in economy. WTF? Is this yet another campaign for new and sober future? OK, you don “t want to give it for free, sell it. It “s a no-brainer to me ndash; all alcoholics fly economy, make some freaking dough!

No biggies. As Gloria G. sang, “I will survive! rdquo; Besides, the amount of alcohol that I “ll be consuming during the upcoming week is going to be more than enough for my untrained American liver. BTW, people in the know warned me to avoid purchasing vodka at small vendor kiosks as the content of the bottle won “t match the label.

Americans don “t need entry visa to enter Ukraine (I paid about $200 for Russian single-entry visa), but I “m wondering how the customs will work in Kiev hellip;

Here “s my planned schedule for the next 10 days:


Arriving to Kiev at noon. Check into hotel at 2PM. Taking a two hour walk alone. 5PM the first party with former coworkers begins hellip;.


Morning. Attending the book fair and local food market. Want to buy home-made butter, black caviar and local rye bread.

Attending Babiy Yar ndash; my aunt was buried there alive with a baby in her arms.

Afternoon. The reunion party with my classmates from Kiev public school #94 begins hellip;


Morning. Hired a car with a driver to take me to the city of Nezhin. Need to attend a cemetery ndash; my mother and father in law are buried there.

Afternoon. Returning to Kiev and catching the 17:45 train Kiev Znamenka. Three hour later Yoko, Munya, and Alka, my former college classmates will pick me up at the train station and by car and after a short ride we should arrive to Kirovograd, Ukraine.

Tuesday and Wed. Partying with Alka, our host and classmate. Haven “t seen her for 20 years.

Thursday, Yoko, Munya and myself are boarding the train and after short 15-hour ride we “ll arrive to Rostov, Russia. Yoko “s husband will pick us up and after another 45 min will arrive to Novocherkassk, the city where I spent 5 best years of my life.

Friday, May 1. Noon. Visiting my lovely English teacher Dr. Alice Koutkova.

Evening. Eating crawl fish and drinking at Yoko “s.


Morning. Free wandering around the city.

Afternoon. Reunion party of the group #13 of Novocherkassk Politechnical Institute, currently known as South State University.


Trip to the city of Rostov. Visiting book and music stores ndash; it “s time to buy something for home. Extended lunch with friends. Boarding the 21:15 train to Kiev.

Monday, May 4. After 19-hour ride arrive to Kiev at 15:15. A representative of Microsoft, Ukraine picks me up at the train terminal and takes me to their office where I “ll be presenting on developing rich Internet applications at the joint Microsoft/Sun gathering.

Last supper with friends.

Tuesday, May 5. Boarding a plane Kiev-New York. My wife will pick me at the airport complaining that David didn “t obey to her orders and something broke in the house.

Wed, May 6. Get back to work 😦


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