Day 1 in Ukraine.
Today I awoke at 5:30 in the morning due to not being adjusted to the time zone. It was nice, because it was 11:30 PM in the U.S. and my girlfriend was still awake. So I talked to her for a little while until she went to bed. By then it was still too early to start working, as our partners here typically do not start until 10:00 AM, so I turned on the tv and started flipping through the channels. In Ukraine, the major language is Russian, so I had no idea what was being said on the tv. Most of the content was American shows, like the Food Network or Law and Order just with Russian voiceovers, but I did find a channel dedicated to nothing but videos of people hurting themselves in stupid ways. I stuck with that until I could find the desire to get out of bed and begin the day.
The greatest luxury of my work is the ability to work from anywhere, so when Kameron finally got his feet under him, we went down to his favorite coffee shop, Travelers Coffee, so we could begin our day. I ordered a coffee and breakfast, which I expected to contain sausage, but to my surprise (and Kam’s amusement) the sausage was most definitely a hot dog. I ate as much I could bear (it was disgusting to put it mildly) and began setting up meetings for the day. First one, lunch down by the black sea.
We went to lunch at a very nice place called Terrace, right down by the water. The weather wasn’t great, overcast and windy, but the contrast of the water to the sky was very pretty. Our taxi rides to and from our apartment gave me a first hand experience at how crazy drivers are here. I am not sure why they even bother painting lines on the roads because drivers never pay them any attention. Also, as I would learn from more taxi rides, seat belts are not a concept here either, but on the plus side taxiing about gave me a great tour of Odessa.
Later that night, we visited a place outside of the center of town called True Man Club. We were told that it is the premier club in Odessa and it didn’t disappoint. Once again, our taxi driver drove like he was running from the cops, but we safely made it, if not for some emotional scaring. It is nice to know so many people in Odessa who speak both English and Russian, because at True Man the staff spoke only Russian. We all got a few beers, the local brew 1715, and I chugged mine immediately to show my manhood, a sentiment that I alone shared as I found out later that 2 of our partners had been drinking O’douls. After our meeting, Kam and I elected to walk home because walking alone through a dark and unfamiliar city in Eastern Europe just felt safer at this point.
My opinion of Odessa so far is that is is a very unique place full of quirks and crazy drivers that, in many ways, adds to its allure. I have been told it is much better in the summer, but I find its just fine this time of year as well. The people are mostly friendly and everything is very inexpensive. The architecture really gives the city character. It has only been 1 day, but I can already tell I will really enjoy the stay.