Half a year ago, I wouldn’t have thought that I would be going to Europe for a second time in 2012, after my Spain-Portugal trip in June. But here I am, right now, in the capital of Ukraine, as an exchange participant with AIESEC on the project Explore Ukraine. Yes, I learnt Russian in May after I had ORDed, but at that time I had absolutely no plans of going to any Russian-speaking country. As I walk through the almost-magical palace-like metro stations of Kyiv, a part of me still could not believe that I’m really in this country that I’ve wanted to visit for so long.
I took the 1.25am KLM flight from Singapore to Amsterdam, which was longer than 12 hours. After a 5-hour stopover at Amsterdam, I hopped on the Ukrainian Airline flight that brought me to Kyiv within 3 hours, arriving there at 5pm.
The runway was snow-free, but everywhere else was accumulated with snow. Snow is really special to people like us who stay in a place where snow is only found in Snow City and in desserts.
One thing about Ukraine is that there are really very few foreigners and tourists. I expected that, and was not surprised when most of the people queuing for the flight at Amsterdam airport to Kyiv were Ukrainians, and I was the only Asian on the flight. After arriving in Kyiv, I’ve seen just one other Asian on the streets. Being Chinese, I think I stick out like a sore thumb, but I guess anyone who doesn’t speak Ukrainian or Russian on the streets sticks out too.
I had never expected snow to be that slippery. I’ve not been to many snow-filled places before, and in 2010 when I toured South Korea in winter, the snow was thin and there were no layers of ice formed on the roads.
The borshch I tasted here is somewhat different from the Russian borshch I ate in the Russian restaurant in Little India, Singapore.
The metro is one of the most attractive features of the city. It’s deep underground, and the long escalators give a dreamy kind of feeling. As you reach the bottom, you’re welcomed into another underground palace with intricate designs on the walls, floor and ceilings.
Tomorrow will be the start of the conference, so I should get some sleep now. I’ll see Ukraine, and all the other interns, tomorrow 🙂