Monday, December 1, 2008

Our Apartment in Kiev

We are in Odessa now, but here's a post I wrote a couple of days ago about our apartment in Kiev. I want to get it posted before it becomes too old.


We have our internet connection set up through our cell phone, so now we are able to communicate with the outside world. Dima provided us with a plug converter so we are able to charge up our computers and camera. It feels good to be connected again. In this picture you can see the cell phone plugged into the laptop. It is still able to make and receive calls while online.

We have been in Kiev now for 48 hours. It is an adjustment for us not just in the sense that we are in a different country, but also that we are in a big city. Our apartment is in the heart of Kiev, just about a 15 minute walk to many landmarks you often see in blogs. It is costing us $110 per night to be here. The landlord lady requires us to pay in dollars. There is a parallel economy in Ukraine that deals in dollars. Inflation is at 40%. We only exchange more dollars into ghrivna that we need for a few days. When we leave, it will be impossible to get dollars back. Traveler's cheques take a week to exchange and is a difficult process. Best not to bring them to Ukraine.

Here are some pictures of life in our apartment.

This is the building. There is a small courtyard in front of it. Occasionally there will be someone sitting on that bench. But not us. It is very cold here. You weather weanies from warm climates who will be coming here for your SDA appointments in the winter will need to be sure to bring warm clothes. We South Dakotans have good clothes for this weather. Our apartment is the one where you see the enclosed porch on the lower right.

The double doors have a combination lock to get in.

Once you get inside the outer doors, there is a staircase to our floor.

This is inside the apartment looking at the entrance to come in. Note the CCTV for security to its right. The apartment has loud yellow-green paint, except for our bedroom, which has loud pink paint.

The door lock uses an interesting skeleton key. Curious that it has a Texas key chain. When we leave, we take the key out of the inside of the door and lock it from the outside. Anyone inside is locked in because we only have one key. We did that once to Mark because he was sleeping late and Nancy and I needed to run an errand.

This is our kitchen. It is mostly outfitted with dishes, pans, utensils, etc. I say mostly, because if you were really going to be here for any length of time and use it, you’d have to pick up a few things, such as a can opener, matches for the stove, a sharp knife, pasta strainer, spices, etc.

The kitchen doesn't have an oven, but it does have a microwave. I picked up a frozen pizza at the market. I couldn't read the box but the picture looked like it had some meat on it. It turned out to only be cheese and tomato chunks. It was a pathetic looking thing, and didn't taste much better.

The bathtub and sink are in a different room from the commode. The showers have been nice and warm, though the water is hard.

The commode is in its own little throne room. I call it the echo chamber. Any noises generated will echo and reverberate endlessly until they can be heard everywhere in the apartment. I think people outside can hear, too. There is a thing on top of the tank that you have to pull up to flush.

This is the hallway that leads to the TV room and the bedroom.

This is the TV room that has a couch that unfolds into a bed, like some huge Transformer toy.

This is our bedroom.

As I mentioned in my last post, only one of our three suitcases arrived with us. Mark and I have been in these same clothes since Wed. We were able to wash a few things in the sink and leave them for drying overnight. The apartment has a drying rack for us to use. We can use a hair dryer to help things along.

There is a washing machine, but it has no dryer. We had a similar unit in our London flat, but it also had a drying function. Here is a picture of the control panel on it, and a closeup of the instructions. I’m not sure what all the little icons stand for. We didn't dare use it.

Here are a couple of pictures from outside. A signboard on the building’s wall and the dumpster. I think trash day must be coming soon.

We got our old expired dossier from Oleg to keep as a souvenir. Here we are looking it over. We are also delivering our 2nd dossier from Kiev to Odessa, along with the referrals. In that dossier, besides each individual document being sewn to its own Ukrainian translation, the complete dossier is sewn together into one bundle.

We brought a scanner along. Here, we are scanning our referral papers for souvenirs.

Friday night we watched a movie and ate snacks while waiting for our luggage to arrive. It finally came at 9:15, three days after we arrived in Kiev. The apartment has a VCR but no DVD player. Even if it did, there's a good chance it wouldn't play American DVD's, as a DVD is coded for a certain part of the world and DVD players from other parts won't play them.


Conethia and Jim Bob said...

What an interesting key! I'm glad everything is finally going well.

Olya said...

well, I think the appartment is w-a-ay overpriced! Looks like it's been recently remodeled, but it is sooo small. People in Kiev are taking every opportunity to make money, it's too bad they are doing it to those that are there to adopt.
Hope everything goes well in Odessa. It's only 3 hours away from my home town of Nikolaev :) the climate is much milder there than pretty much anywhere else in Ukraine because of the sea. Hope you eill get an opportunity to go walk on the beach.

brado said...

Glad to hear that you guys are still making it past all obstacles in your way - hope rest of your trip goes smooth - love reading about your progress and travels - thanks for sharing Alan. Take care - BradO

Drew, Michelle, Luke and Tetyana said...

Hang your clothes on the radiators to dry...I have washed clothes in the bathtub at night and they were dry the next day.

Good luck with your referrals!