Saturday, May 14, 2011

Slow and Steady Gets You to Kirovograd

and it is just as scary as getting there FAST.
Soo, after our SDA appt. We sat and had lunch with our facilitators. Walter was starving, but according to the "alignment of the stars..etc" he was not supposed to eat anything much, so he kept ordering tea and soup. And the man talked, A LOT. Very knowledgable about Ukrainian history. And he kept going back to being prepared because something unexpected was going to happen today, you know, because of the planets, err stars, etc 
So we walk around the area a bit. Then out of nowhere Walter declares he is too tired to continue, and too tired to drive us back to our apartment. So he wants to flag us down a taxi. We tell him we will walk back to our apartment. We part ways, he calls to check to make sure we make it back, he is a very sweet man, but odd.
So, guess who is assigned to drive us to our region? Yep, Walter. And guess who doesn't know how to get there? And guess who borrows a GPS from a friend but can't figure out how to use it. And guess who is supposed to pick us up at 3 am and we have to call and wake him up at 4 am.
So finally he gets there to pick us up a little after 4. We drive about a mile down the road and he pulls over to ask someone where a gas station is. Umm, what? We haven't even left Kiev yet, you don't know where you are? And you're driving us 4.5 hours to our region? We get gas, he pulls over, at least 3 more times to ask directions and we get on the "freeway" And we are driving, in the dark, at 30 mph, everyone else is driving, like Ukrainians/Russians. I AM SCARED. And we are pulling over and asking for directions EVERYTIME he sees someone on the side of the road. Everytime he changes CDs or answers the phone he pulls over to the side. Then he swerves into oncoming traffic, going 30 mph. I start crying. So my husband texts our facilitator to call Walter and check on him.
And he does 2 hours later. And we are pulling over at least once a mile. I'm not kidding, to ask for directions. I'm not convinced we are anywhere near where we need to go, and I think we may end up in Russia. We get to Kirovograd, 7 hours later. 3.5 hours longer than it takes the other drivers.
On the way back to Kiev we requested Walter not drive us, I just couldn't take it again. We had our cab driver from our region drive us, he was 50.00 cheaper, and a super skilled driver. That drive was equally as scary. I felt like we were in a video game the way he drove those roads, weaving in and out of traffic. But that is what we are used to when it comes to our Ukrainian/Russian drivers.
We did see Walter again. He drove us to our Embassy appt. We were 45 minutes late. Just so you know, you can call the embassy and let them know you are running late, it was not a big deal. You know, just in case you end up having Walter drive you.
We love Walter, he's part of our story, and unlike anyone we've ever met over there.


  1. Wow! I don't know if I could have taken it! Thank goodness you got where you needed to be and in one piece!

    Brooke Annessa

  2. Ok..ummm Oh...MY...WORD! I would have been totally freaking out. I tend to be a very patient person when funky stuff is going on. You know, "Go with the flow" to just keep things as pleasant as possible. But yeah, that would NOT have flown in this situation! So glad you finally made it there ALIVE!