Kiev


One of the first places we went after checking into out hotel was this monastery, outside of town. It had recently been re-opened and restored, after years of neglect. It was looking pretty fabulous.

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We also briefly checked out museum of Ukrainian architecture. Here you see my uncle with Sasha and Oksana. My uncle first met Sasha when he had come to the U.S.A. for a short time as a boy. Oksana is his sister, and my uncle had met her also on a preivous trip to the Ukraine.

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We all went out to dinner that first night in Kiev. The place we selected was very interesting - totally a Mafia place if ever I've seen one. Perhaps you could call it Ukrainian Fusion Cuisine. Mafia or no, the food was pretty good, and the Georgian wine even better.

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Alas, for the second night at dinner we had to part company with Sasha and Oksana. We went to dinner at the house of Nikolai Pavlovich, whom my uncle also knows. He's the #2 guy at the hotel we were staying at. Ol' Nikolai's got a pretty nice place for himself, way out of town. He built it himself, brick by brick, parquet tile by parquet tile, over nine years. It's pretty incredible - like Nikolai himself. Dinner was also amazing - heaps of food, washed down with vodka.

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Vodka and...Samagon. Yeah baby. Moonshine. Don't worry, Nikolai's wife said, a little samagon is good for you now and again. And she's a doctor. It was pure, they said. Just water, sugar, and yeast. And you know, it was pure. Didn't taste half bad - probably better than the vodka, actually. But when you are presented with a bottle of samagon - I'm telling you, use caution, my friends. I woke up the next morning just drunk. Not really hung over, but definitely drunk. It wore off a few hours later, but man, it was potent. To some of you degenerates, this is going to sound like a great endorsement. And maybe...it is. :-)

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