Last night I got back to my hostel somewhere in the vicinity of 7am. It was the first time I’ve ever gone on an all night party. And after that experience, you can be damn sure it won’t be my last time!
I’m going to actively try to make it happen more often. Experiencing both the sunset, and sunrise, without any sleep in between them is great. I really feel like I’m missing out, having never done it before.
For me, all of this is possible because of Kiev. This city really is amazing, as if I haven’t said that before. There is something here that is greater than the sum of it’s parts. The people are alive and interesting. The food and drinks are cheap. There is an overall feeling of forward progress. I can understand why Ukraine would consider joining the EU. Despite the fact that most people here speak Russian daily, the attitude is more Western than Russian. And I for one support the citizens of Ukraine who want to rid themselves of the Russian influence.
I’ve lived in Moscow, and I’ve lived in Kiev. I don’t want more of a Russian influence here, I like it just the way it is.
I’m Not Alone
It’s been interesting to find out that I’m not the only person who is impressed with the city. My two new German friends both feel the same way.
Yesterday we spoke entirely in Russian for about eight hours. Thanks Zhena, for being so awesome at enforcing the no English rule.
A topic that came up more than once is our mutual love of the city. And to that end, we all have future plans here. Next year Zhena wants to study Russian here for six months. Myself, I’m going to rent an apartment here next summer and live it up. By then I’ll be fluent in Russian, and fluent in my second language as well.
Sergej also wants to come back to Kiev next summer, and there’s a decent chance that if he does, we will rent an apartment together. I think that would be awesome because if I choose to study German as my next language, I’ll be able to practice with him. After I become fluent in German, me, Zhena and Sergej will all be tri-lingual in the same three languages. How freaking sweet is that!
The Secret Party
Our first bar last night was actually an underground pub. If you’re not familiar with Eastern Europe, I’ll be the first to tell you that underground bars and restaurants are really common in Kiev and Moscow. In fact, my favorite restaurant in Moscow, Papa’s Place, is only accessible by walking down a staircase into the basement.
Same with our first pub of the night.
After losing a few people, the three of us changed venues. Me, the American. Zhena, the German. Sergej, the German, Russian (he is very particular about this point).
We moved to a new bar and smoked hookah and drank for two hours. At one point, after speaking exclusively in Russian for 45 minutes, we broke into English for thirty seconds. The people at the table behind us started in surprise.
“Они говорять по-английски!” (“They speak English!).
Shortly afterwards, at 2am, our bar closed and we were back on the street. I don’t think we walked a block before we found a new spot. Maybe it wasn’t perfect, but it fit the main criterion, it was open.
We drank for a minute then I walked down into the basement to find the bathroom. I found it, and I also found the real party. Below the ostensibly boring above-ground of this bar, the real party was in the basement.
A DJ, lights, people dancing, and Russian karaoke.
I went back upstairs, grabbed my friends and we all went down to the basement. By the time we left, it was light out and the sun was near at hand.
The Long Walk
I don’t remember the reason, something about Zhena going home, but despite being five minutes from our hostel, we began to walk in the opposite direction. Kiev is a hilly city and I think we climbed all of them. It paid off.
After forty-five minutes we had an incredible view out over the entire Eastern part of the city. I wish I could have taken a picture but my phone had died hours ago. (Жена, исли ты читаешь это, у тебя есть фото?)
Six in the morning, partying all night, and ending it with an incredible view of Kiev.