April 03, 2015

Lviv, Ukraine

I woke up today around 11:00, showered, dressed, and then hung around the hostel. At 13:30, the Ukrainian computer programmer and his girlfriend invited me to go shopping with them at the “Supermarket” (a small mall with two floors, a number of shops, and a large supermarket inside); since I needed some new clothes and shoes, I decided to tag along. We walked out to the nearby bus stop and rode the bus to the edge of town where the mall is located. Throughout Lviv, there were piles and patches of snow everywhere from last night’s and this morning’s snowfall (at present, the snow had ceased to fall and the weather was okay, though very cold). We eventually reached the mall after about forty minutes. We entered in to the mall and started looking around at the different stores; several belonged to the same chains I had encountered yesterday and I was worried that I would be met with the same problem: too expensive and not enough selection; however, I did find some decently priced stores and I ended up with two pairs of slacks, one pair of jeans, two t-shirts, two button-up shirts, socks, underwear, sunglasses, and nicer, better shoes. I spent more money than I had wished to do and I ended up replacing most of my existing wardrobe with today’s shopping. Prior to buying all the aforementioned items, the Ukrainian programmer lent me his mobile phone and we had split up to shop separately (mostly because our styles were not the same and a store that would benefit one would be a waste of time on the other); after purchasing the shoes, my last item, I realized I had received a missed call from his girlfriend; I called the number and she answered and I found out they had just left the mall in a taxi, but were willing to turn around and pick me up. So., I waited around outside, the taxi pulled up, I got in, and we drove back to the hostel. We reached the hostel just after 17:00 and met a 57 year-old Turkish man outside who had reserved the private room in the hostel. Then, we all went upstairs (to the fourth floor of the building) and entered inside the hostel. I immediately sorted through my clothes, changed in to some nicer wear, and left for the Lviv National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet to see the night’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker.’ I reached the theater, found my seat (next to an American family), and then watched the two Acts of the show. The show began with the main character, Clara, in bed, sleeping, and snow falling outside; she than began to dream and form there the story unfolds with the Nutcracker, the Toymaker, and a number of other toys and – possibly – the mice (not sure, they were dressed more like goblins and there was also a character in red, looking like an evil sorceress – this version was obviously tweaked from Tchaikovsky’s original). It was an enjoyable show, but the thin story line and fanciful elements didn’t really appeal to me. After the ballet, I exited the theater, found a nice restaurant near the hostel, and had a salad (salmon, lettuce, orange slices, tomato slices, and parmesan cheese), a pizza (a large, thin pie with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil leaves), apple juice, and a beer. After dinner, I walked to the hostel and typed out yesterday’s journal entry. I also talked some more with the Turkish man and he wanted to go out for some wine; I too wanted to out, but to see some clubs and had earlier talked with the Ukrainian programmer about it; unfortunately, the programmer was too tired and it looked like it was just the Turkish man and I. So, we left the hostel, walked to a nearby bar and each had a glass of Chianti; sadly, the Chianti had been opened too long and tasted like vinegar with a hint of plum (most establishments in Ukraine don’t know how to treat and serve their wine). The Turkish man, already drunk from beer earlier, ordered another glass and shared half with me; this time, it was poured from a freshly-opened bottle and had none of the vinegar taste. After that wine, we walked to another place, but they didn’t serve wine; so we walked on to another, but it was closed. I then suggested we walk to a nearby club; when we reached where it should’ve been, there was nothing there (perhaps the map was wrong or it had closed). We then tried another club, but were denied access (given the bullshit excuse of “there is a private party”); so we walked on until we found another bar, where we had Georgian Saperavi wine that tasted of raspberries and black cherries. Once I had finished the glass and the Turkish man had knocked his over and broken it, we paid the bill and walked out as the bar closed (at 02:00). I still wanted to see the club scene in Lviv and told the Turkish man that I would stay out later and he can go back to the hostel; unfortunately, he chose to stick with me. We walked to another nearby club, but were denied entry (a prejudice toward our combined ages and lack of wealth). I then gave up and we ended up walking back to the hostel where I eventually went to sleep. Hopefully, Bucharest or Belgrade offer better partying options and, hopefully, I end up at a hostel with a more outgoing and fun crowd of guests (I miss the hostels I stayed at while in Thailand where there were actually more English-speakers and a partying-oriented crowd).

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An open journal or an exercise in narcissism.