Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Just my two cents ....

Justin's gotten the majority of the blog mileage of late but I just thought I would chip in and say I am having a (albeit occasionally terrifying) blast. The low point so far was breaking down in the Ukraine. The high point was probably actually the border to the Ukraine, meeting cool people and conspiring to infect the border crossing with our jovial cheer. When we had the wagons circled and were playing the Rolling stones on the car stereo loud, with our little happy camp site just on the other side of customs, and the brits put on the kettle to make tea, it was the most brilliant thing. The random woods party with strangers in Kharkiv would be a close second.

But the best story so far probably happened last night; we were following some (helpful?) cab drivers to a hotel in volgograd. It's about midnight, and we are heading farther and farther out of town. I am wishing i knew how to add "but not a hell hole" onto the "not too expensive" phrase I brought out when we were asking directions. Anyway, we finally are in volgograd's darkest outskirts, pulling up to a parking lot with a barrier across it that lets the cab in. It is pitch black but Justin very intelligently points out that this is where westerners go to die. I had been all for this adventure up until now but I have to admit he has a point, so the micra goes into reverse, gets floored, and pointed back up the one-way highway off ramp we came off of, in the wrong direction and at speed. Neither of us much cares and besides traffic is light, and a quick U-turn across the highway gets us pointed back towards town center, not a cop in sight. So we are catching our breath and playing it cool but of course the cabbies (three in the car?) catch up to us and start shouting at us in Russian, at midnight in Volgograd, strangely trying to point us to the town center as if they were being helpful afterall (and god knows maybe they were). Justin is trying to wave them off and eventually succeeds in handing them 300 rubles through the window of the car as we cruise down the highway, hopefully having paid our debt to the local cab mafia. Considering ourselves lucky to have lived, we drive down to the Volgograd hotel, which turns out to only be $60 and well worth it as they have a car park and it is beautiful.

And THAT is not something that happens to a fellow every day.

I also wanted to say that I miss everyone back home and that its not the same without you. Thanks for your emails, texts, and comments. I miss you Jen!


Blogger Kathryn said...

Sounds like a blast. When you guys get back, can I throw you a barbecue for the purpose of giving you a forum to tell stories of the trip to all my friends?

10:20 AM  
Blogger ICMT said...

Thanks for the update. We can't imagine what is still to come! Let us know what teams you are driving with since we read text-messages from all teams.
Love, M**

3:53 PM  
Blogger Monster/DVDA/muffin/Davida said...

you guys are awesome. i totally forgot about this site. i miss you like whoa.

10:00 AM  
Blogger susanash said...

Glad to see you guys are still alive. Nice work!

10:19 AM  
Blogger regis said...


6:37 PM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

Enquiring minds want to know what happened to the Mini!

4:43 PM  
Blogger regis said...

glad to hear you're still rolling along!

9:41 AM  

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