Before I talk about the Ukraine, I want to say again how wonderful the people in the Republic of Georgia are. They constantly tried to give us things and do kind things for us. They would throw money back in our purse, hand, pocket, etc. At the hotel, they would bring us fruit, sweets, etc. They would say things like, "I love you!" It was very touching. Georgia and Armenia are two places that I would encourage you to go. There are many wonderful countries in Eastern Europe that I would like to go back to someday. - Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Hungary, and Czech Republic are a few of those. Then, there are places that I am glad we visited, but I would NEVER encourage you to make as travel destinations. I may change my mind about this place after 7-10 days and if I do, I will tell you.
Ukraine voted in 1991 to declare its independence from the Soviet Union. The government has had to struggle to escape economic problems and corruption. The country still has internal struggles. The Western part is more European and the Eastern part is more Russian. There are still lots of people
here that would prefer to still be a part of the Soviet Union. Ukraine is a poor country. They have a saying that they can spot a tourist at one kilometer. Tourists are targeted here so we know that we have to be on our toes at all times.
Before we came, we read guide books and knew what to expect. We decided that it would be worth the extra money to stay in a really nice hotel. We researched and found the closest one to the airport that offered shuttle service. To be sure that we had made the right decision, we called hotels.com and consulted them. They agreed on our choice and made the reservation for us. We came into the Odessa airport to a bumpy landing. The runway had many potholes. It was late and there were as many taxi drivers as passengers. We waited for over an hour and the hotel did not send a shuttle. We tried to call them and got a recording. We hired a taxi for 20 Euros. The hotel was not the least bit apologetic for the mistake. Overall, I have found many of the workers to be unfriendly. I have
Long old building behind our hotel. It is full of debris and falling down. Behind it a long new building is being built.
gotten to where I don't want to make eye contact with them.
Power outages are frequent here. The water is not safe to drink or to use in brushing your teeth. Refrigeration is infrequent. On this whole trip, we have chosen to eat very little meat. Most of it is very unappetizing looking. They serve lots of red and pink looking sausages that look like hot dogs. They smell terrible. Speaking of smells, when we have gotten on airplanes, buses at the terminal, etc. we have smelled strong alcohol odors. Men are not gentleman like at all. They push in front of you, break line, invade your seating space on the plane, etc. Women appear in shock when Walt holds the door for them. They clearly don't expect it.
We are currently in Odessa, the main seaport for Ukraine, and located on the Black Sea. It was founded by Catherine the Great in 1794. She realized that a port was important for the expansion of the Russian Empire. To accomplish this, she sent her army to defeat the Turks. Then, she built a modern city with help of architects and builders from Italy and France. Parts of Odessa are now
being renovated. The parts that have been restored are beautiful.
It has rained all day today and been hard to get good pictures. We will be here for three more nights and hopefully, the weather will improve.
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