We got moving at about 11am yesterday morning and wanted to hit up the little cafe we found towards the end of our last trip. We bundled up to the point where it was unbearably hot underneath the layers before leaving. After 2 minutes outside in the Kiev cold (it says the low was -20 C), we were glad to have on all the layers. Voss handles it well, but Cindy said she doesn't want to get used to the cold. Most of the women in Kiev wear some type of fur coat. Most people wear fur hats. The younger women all seem to forgo ultimate warmth to show off their legs and wear high boots.
We made the 15 minute walk to the mall at the corner of Tarasa Shevchenka blvd and Khreschatyk st. From the outside looking in it is another facade of European 4 story architecture, but inside it opens up to a small stadium-looking area with an outdoor skating rink. Surrounding the outdoor area are the shops (Porsche, DG, etc - anywhere you can think to drop the extra 1,000's burning a hole in your pocket). Below is where we go to find the grocery store and cafe.
After sitting down for a few cappuccinos and buying $40 worth of groceries (definately high compared to what we ever paid before- but it was american type groceries) Voss and I went out for a skate (I lost the coin flip with Cindy) for about an hour. Voss went from not being able to stand on his own to making it across the rink without falling within the hour! I hope his skates weren't as bad as mine because it seemed like they hadn't been sharpened in about 5 years. We were the only ones on the rink and were entertainment for everyone walking by.
The mall was really amazing, all these high end stores in meticulous condition, yet there were barely any people in them shopping. I still don't understand where all the money comes from to support stores like these that seem to only belong in the wealthiest of places.
From there, we wanted to give Voss some more opportunity to get some energy out since the last few days he has been holed up. We walked down past the square to a toy store that used to have an indoor playground. They must have had too many visitors with the same idea because this playground was taken out in favor of more toy shelves. So, we sat down for a beer and warmed-up for the walk back to the apartment. By the time we left it was 4:30 and pitch dark outside.
Voss is doing well, but I can tell he is bored. He wanted to throw snowballs the other night so we went at it. He got upset and told Cindy that he wouldn't play with me anymore after I gave him a snow facial.
Our appointment with the SDA is at 12:30 this afternoon. We should know just a little more information after this appointment. We also meet Dima, our facilitator, for the first time. We should get our paperwork tomorrow afternoon and the plan from there is to catch our train at 8pm (I think).
Right now Cindy and Voss are in the kitchen doing homework. I just heard Voss saying his arm hurts from writing after 5 minutes. He has to work on the excuses! I am going to take a shower now, yesterday I spent 5 minutes rearranging the hanging clothes all over the bathroom before I could get in the tub. On the bright side, at least we have a washing machine!
Having had been in Kiev before, we knew our way around for the most part. It was nice to find an apartment right by the opera house which is almost central to everything. From here, we can walk to almost anywhere within 15 minute. I found this apartment on bestkievapartments.com and booked through a contact named Sergey. Very good experience. The apartment is very clean and comfortable. The $70 per night is on par with what we paid the first trip, but much nicer. The first apartment we ever stayed at was a 1/2 bus ride just to get to where we are now!