We’re in Kiev!

We made it safely. Sadly, our luggage spent the night without us in Heathrow.

I meant to post before we left Houston but didn’t get to. The flight to London was good. We drove to the airport and Lori’s friend Cynthia (ok, mine too!) drove my Jeep back home. We had some good laughs while getting to the airport. I had 2 females screaming at me that I was on the wrong lane and made me miss the exit to the Terminal E drop-off. I circled around and they did it again, but this time I kept my cool, ignored them and safely got to the destination. Some people just can’t read signs ;)

We met with J at the terminal and she handed us the remainder of their dossier, some Grivnas (thanks for that!) and more invaluable advice. We went to the food court after getting through security and shared a lunch before heading towards our gate. The plane left Houston around 5:10pm and it showed we’ll be in Heathrow 10 minutes later than scheduled, so we didn’t worry much about it. The Continental flight was great and seats were comfortable enough, with video on demand service. I managed to sleep a couple of hours but Lori didn’t and watched some movies instead.

About 40 miles from landing, the plane started circling, 4 1/2 times to be exact. We landed 45 minutes late and had 1 1/4 hours to change from terminal 4 to 5 (15 minutes bus ride), get our boarding passes, get through security and find our gate. We got there with 2 minutes to spare. But that wasn’t enough time for our luggage and hence we hope to get it later this evening. I usually like to see a 3 to 4 hour layover between international connections, especially Heathrow!

The British Airways flight to Kiev was great too and we had another good meal/breakfast. Once landed, we were bussed in and went through passport control, which took a bit longer than expected (45 minutes; we were one of several victims that had to go to the back of the line for failing to fill the Departure side of the embarkation card). Once we got through, we discovered the missing luggage and found a lady that helped us out with the necessary paperwork. We were getting worried that our driver would have left, but once we got out, Alexander (aka “Sasha”) was waiting for us.


We headed to his car and were pleasantly greeted with a 5 series BMW. And he really showed us what it can do, Ukraine style. Speed limit? Huh? It was fun, let me tell ya! He was riding other car’s behinds, forcing them to move away, weaving through like we were in a great big hurry. We got to the city and immediately noticed how densely populated it is. There is a lot of new construction going on.

We then met Olga, our translator, got the apartment keys, and then took a short ride to get some groceries (great oranges!) and a SIM card. Our apartment is very close to Independence Square (for a webcam view, click here) and is quite spacious, equipped with a washing IMG_2466machine we cannot run (we need to learn the cyrillic alphabet!). Later I called J’s facilitator and he came over to pick up their documents. He was really nice and after a short chat, I went back upstairs and was in bed by 9pm. Lori was out by 7pm. So our first experience as personal couriers went great, with final delivery complete in under 22 hours. Beat that FedEx!

It’s great to have WIFI and we’ve already talked to family and friends with Skype. We’re expecting to be here until Sunday night or Monday morning and will have time to go visit the city, which is just so beautiful right now with all the blooming chestnut trees. The weather gets cool at night and the apartment got chilly since we slept with our windows open. We woke at 3am and couldn’t go to bed, partly because of hay fever. We shut the windows and now I feel better already. We could see daybreak at 5am and it looks to be a cloudy day. Hopefully we can get some more sleep before going to buy a few other necessities and getting some more help from Olga. Later we plan on meeting the Van Nice family and have lunch with them.

4 clicked here to comment!:

adopting2fromUkraine said...

They drive that way ALL the time! They even walk that way. LOL We usually tried to stay clear of that bus corner near McDonald's.

Rest up for tomorrow!


Dave Baldacchino said...

Yep and a lot of honking too! It's so noisy in here with windows open...car alarms going off and all. But it's great. We walked a lot today, met up with the Van Nice family by TGI Fridays and then went to the Ukrainian cafeteria and later got a good coffee right next door. We're worn out and we're not taking naps so we can get some solid sleep! We're still waiting on luggage but they said it's on its way.

Kevin and Tammy said...

Glad you are there. Can't wait to see the results of your appointment. Good Luck.

Dave Baldacchino said...

Thanks, just over 12 hours to go!