Kevin and I have been having fun using the Metro system to explore Kiev and getting to know various other adopting couples. On Saturday we joined Juan and Nancy Gonzalez for brunch at a pizza place near their apartment that has English menus. I had a delicious mushroom and cheese omelet, Kevin had the same with the addition of smoked meat and onions. Juan and Nancy had some kind of strawberry pancakes with what looked like slivered almonds on top. Kevin got a little cup of coffee-flavored foam and I got 3 cups of tea from my pot. I'm telling you there is a definite advantage to being a tea drinker!
There are 3 metro lines here in Kiev--the blue, the green and the red. Nancy and Juan had been told that they could ride the metro all the way out to the orphanage where their girls are so the 4 of us set out to see if that was true. We made our way to the green transfer station and rode that subway all the way to the end of the line. It was 10 stops and included a ride over the Dnieper (pronounced kind of like Nipper) River. By the last stop there were only 2 or 3 other people left on the car. We got off and sure enough there was the orphanage. The place was built in 1964 and they were saying no one has ever adopted from there. (Hint! Hint!) This is only 40 cents for a round trip for 2 people for extra rides to the orphanage. Nancy and Juan said the place is well kept, there are bright colors, kids appear to be well fed and there are lots of kids of many ages there (You'd never guess they're trying to make a case for other people to look into the possibility of adopting from this place!)
We went back into the metro station and Kevin our fearless leader did not realize how far ahead he was of the rest of us. He jumped on the subway and the doors immediately closed with the other 3 of us still outside. This was a problem because none of us were carrying a cell phone and we hadn't agreed ahead of time on what we were going to do if we got separated. All kinds of possible scenarios were running through my mind. We decided to just hold tight and wait for 3 or 4 subways just in case he got off at the next stop and came back. He didn't. So we proceeded to the stop where we were originally heading and I was so relieved when he was there.
We transferred to the blue line and proceeded to our stop -- called something like Polash Ukraina, got some pineapple-flavored cream cheese- filled round bread things to munch on as we walked around and showed Juan and Nancy around 'our' market. Then we all jumped back on the Metro and sped across town to their apartment.
The next highlight was that across the street from Nancy and Juan's apt a snow-board jump had been being constructed during the day complete with manufactured snow and by the time we arrived so had a couple zillion teenagers with another zillion headed that way. We watched several snow-boarders and even a few skiers make their runs, splats or combinations thereof.
Next we ooed and ahed around the vestibule of the Dnieper Hotel, took the elevator to the 12th floor and took in the beautiful view of the city and the river. Unfortunately I'd forgotten to plug in my phone so couldn't take any pictures.
Then a trip to one and then another underground mall ending at the food court where the remaining zillion of Kiev's teenagers were lined up at McDonald's. It's funny because this food court has many more patrons than available seats. Kevin saw people seated on the edge of the fountain; I saw 2 guys with their trays poised on the covered trash receptacle. You walk around looking for people who look like they're about finished, hover around their table and swoop down on their chairs as soon as they're vacated knowing that other people will do the same when YOU are nearly finished. This time I tried a pot pie and some crunchy buttered toast. Kevin had sausages, potato wedges and a salad made with chunks of cucumber, cubes of cheese, pineapple pieces, corn, and bits of smoked turkey. We decided not to pay for the opportunity to use the WC (water closet/bathroom) though the WC sign made me chuckle remembering that old story about the peope who visited a place with the thought of renting the facilities or something but had forgotten to inquire about the location and description of the WC. Their written inquiry was received with confusion, the recipients finally deciding that WC must stand for Wesleyan Church. Their response is so hilarious I still laugh every time I hear it.
Anyway, by this time I was absolutely beat with a stick so we headed home where we found out that Dima had been trying to get hold of us. That guy must work all the time.
So this morning (Sunday) we met with Dima about 9 am. so Kevin could fill out some paperwork for the US embassy. Hopefully he will be allowed to sign papers at the embassy tomorrow morning prior to leaving on Tuesday. Otherwise he has to take it home, get it notarized and fed-ex it back. Dima stayed to chat for awhile which was a lot of fun.
We did some Bible study and devotions and then got layered up in tons of clothes and headed out for Souvenir Street. It's really called something like Anadresky Street (I know I'm not spelling that right nor probably even pronouncing it exactly correctly) It's cobble-stoned, quite steep and historic. It is lined with booth after booth of varied wares many of which are gorgeous. I wanted to complete this while Kevin was still here but WOW was it cold out there today. I do not know how those vendors survive out there day after day during the winter. The warmth of good old McDonalds, a burger and fries was MUCH welcomed. The food tastes the same to me as at home. One thing I notice is that the tables for two are tiny and there is very little space between tables. Of course, there were many tables outside but no one was fighting over those. But nearly everyone here is slim so they don't have any trouble getting around between the tables I guess.
We got back to our apt and enjoyed coffee and tea. A little later Kevin went back out in the frigid air and bought me groceries and then cooked pork chops, fried potatoes and veggies for supper. He's a good guy to have along on outings such as this! We're celebrating Valentine's Day early.