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I smiled at the world and said to myself, “That is why I love Ukraine!”

This morning I got up early and hit the bus stop as 30 of us tried to squeeze onto a small bus. I was the last one into the sardine can and 20 minutes later, after 10 more stops and a dozen more people squeezed into a seriously over crowded small bus, we made it to the metro…

I grabbed a sausage McMuffin with egg and cheese and a coffee and fought my way into the metro station. It took 15 minutes to get to the doors of the metro station and the McMuffin was gone before that point. I tossed the wrapper into a burning trash can by the door of the Metro (A normal cigarette fire!). Then waddled my way with hundreds of others to the station insides. I sat on a bench and studied the trains coming and going. I finished my coffee as I figured out which is the best car to try to squeeze onto. For really a sardine can has more room than a train car on this metro station…

I finally attacked the first car and squeezed into a spot near the door. It worked and in seven stops I was at the train station…

Then comes the escalator from hell! There is three escalators in the tunnel leading to the surface. One was bringing people down to the train and two taking people out to the surface. We had a line almost to the back of the station platform and that was with two escalators going…

Then the escalator lady from hell decided to close off one escalator leading to the surface and we all squeezed into one escalator to the surface at that point. I guess that we were getting somewhere to fast and the escalator lady from hell decided to slow us down… 🙂

She got back into her little cubical with her ear phones and TV set. She put on the ear phones and ignored our waves of happiness in her direction. I assume that her cubical is bullet proof and bomb proof, how else could she survive doing something as stupid as turning off a whole escalator in the middle of rush hour traffic…

I finally made it to the top of the escalator and we people who just wanted to get outside, found twenty people trying to hand out opposition propaganda and then as a last blockade, 6 sleeping bums laying the doorway and we all had to step over them! Kinda like a speed bump for a car. Once we broke into the fresh air, we found hundreds of guys sitting all over the steps of the Metro and they were busy drinking beer and coffee. They were also to busy to move and got grouchy, because we wanted through…

So I made sure that I caused a few spillages of drinks amongst the crowd of idiots on the steps. I took it as a job well done when I got coffee and beer on by shoes… 🙂

Now the train station was in sight and a ticket soon to be in my hand. I got into the International ticket line and after 20 minutes of watching the ensuing arguments about tickets take place. It was my turn to battle the ticket lady. This is where I play the dumb American to the hilt…

I am so dumb I do not even know the world for NO! I want cheap and more cheap. I want to get to Moscow and I want lower bench. Now I know my seats and in a train, the odd numbers are lower seats and the even numbers are upper berths. I do not want an upper…

So when the ticket lady expressed that nothing was available and that I was out of luck. I stood there and looked stupid. Now that is not a hard thing to do for I am American you know…

Then she tries to sell me on the expensive tickets! You know first class and second class tickets. With the price of these tickets, I could fly a jet back to Moscow…

Oops, Once again I am too stupid and do not understand anything but cheap cheap cheap…

Finally she finds a cheap ticket! Seat 33 on a slow train to Moscow. About 15 hours, but cheap…

I grab it and see that it is the last low seat available to leave on the 13th and not pay an arm and a leg, plus your first born. A week away and the seats are sold out…

I smiled and got my ticket and felt like I had just defeated the most powerful foe on earth. I won the battle and was ecstatic to call Sveta and tell her I was successful and will leave on the 13th…

Then as I left the train station! I was hit with the reality that I had to reverse all that I said above about the Metro. For it had gotten much busier and now I had to go back to my room…

I smiled at the world and said to myself, “That is why I love Ukraine!”

Kyle Keeton
Windows to Russia…

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