Kiev I.

kiev1.jpgKIEV — In transit; not much time in the Ukrainian capital. This time, it was just as well.

Outside was cold, snowing, slightly overcast with a bitter wind in the air; basically living up to the few preconceived notions I had about early February Kiev. Standing on the tarmac in miserable conditions while waiting on a bus to take us to the main terminal was not a particularly inspired version of a welcome wagon.

After not particularly enjoying an outrageously over-priced coffee, I went back out into the frost to head over to Borispyl Airport’s Terminal 1, its domestic gateway. Two men had just finished clearing a path perhaps a meter wide through the inter-terminal walkway, using a pair of make-shift wooden shovels. The security personnel at Terminal 1 were predictably bored, and not too bothered when my two bags fell with a thud from their short conveyor table onto the entryway’s puddles of melted muddied snow. They were equally nonplussed while being castigated by a woman whose white fur coat received the same conveyor treatment. I can’t remember the words she was screaming at the man, working that x-ray machine with a sullen indifference. But I wish I did. They certainly added some color to the otherwise gray atmosphere. I think most of them began with a ‘g’. Or maybe it was ‘t’?

At the far left of the main entry sat a small souvenir stand, rife with typical offerings: some books, maps, wall ornaments, souvenir coins, backpack patches, tea cups. The coins, with fine relief etched portraits of recently-elected president Viktor Yushchenko figuring prominently, caught my eye. They were obviously created before his face started peeling off after eating poisoned soup, and I would even have considered buying one had someone actually been working the counter.

To the right of that was a door leading to an empty room, presumably, a no-longer-used reception room. The sign’s English translation read: “Hall of Expectation.”

Some time ago, I decided that a reasonable credo to live by was, “No expectations, no disappointments.” I decided against wandering into that empty room.

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