Sunday 16 September 2007

Travellers Tales... Kyiv calling!

10th September
London City Airport - 8:40am
Early for my flight as normal. Always over estimate exactly how long it takes to get a bus to North Greenwich, go one stop on the Jubilee Line to Canning Town and take the DLR to City Airport. Ah well, better early than late.

So, it turns out that my flight is delayed. Excellent start! It seems that my boss's unfortunate travel experience propensity is spreading! Could be worse. We are only 20 minutes late (at the moment!). I'm feeling quite calm about the whole flight prospect as I already took the tranquiliser!
Mind you, alll the flights seem to be delayed this morning... must be the weather?!

London City Aiport - 9:10am
It suddenly occured to me that I remember seeing "wait in lounge" on the Departures Board on previous occaisions that I have been here, and I don't need the gate to have been assigned to go through security!! D'oh! At least there are more seats up here in the Departures Lounge! Downstairs is a bit chaotic as they are rebuilding the coffee bar!

Schipol Airport, Amsterdam - 12:34pm (local time)
I had to walk about a mile from where we landed to where I needed to board the next flight to Kyiv. I don't think that I'm the only one having troubles. There have already been about 10 calls for passengers 'delaying the flight' and threats to 'offload your luggage'. The place isn't very well signposted (especially if you don't know where you are going!). It took me a good few minutes to find the departures board!

I definitely don't recommend the Fokker 50 which flew me here from City. Definitely the smallest plane that I have ever been on! Only two seats each side of the aisle. Very bumpy too... awful turbulence. Kudos to the Captain for the smoothest landing ever though!

Borispol Airport, Kyiv - 5:10pm (local time)
Finally landed (a wee bit late) in Kyiv. The airplane had no immigration forms so we've had to pick them up here. Lucky that my boss had told me all about them and how to fill them in! The queue for passport control is equalled only (in my very limited experience) by that at JFK in NYC. My boss just rang to see where I was as they had told the driver who came to pick me up that the flight landed an hour and a half ago. If only!

There definitely isn't the British concept of queueing here!

Hotel, Kyiv - 10:47pm (local time)
Finally enconsed in my hotel room. It's very nice except for having a shower instead of a bath... I do like a bath! Sadly the TV is being dubbed rather than subtitled.

The driver picked me up from the airport to take me to the office... he doesn't speadk much English, but enough to give me some sightseeing tips as we drove to the office.

Kyiv is reassuringly foreign. I'm always dissapointed if I go places and they are hardly different from home!

The driving experience was quite scary... I always find that when I'm abroad and everything is on the wrong side of the road. We finally made it through rush-hour Kyiv to the office. It seems much nicer than ours in London. Newer... more spacious... tidier? They even have a balcony! I managed to get a bit of work done before we went out for dinner. We went to an Italian restaurant called 'Da Vinci'. We sat in sight of the lobster tank. Happily nobody seemed to be eating them. They were quite amusing to watch... almost like they were dancing!

Food was great... if a little different. I had salmon with a green frothy (literally) sauce... also some vegetable. Very fragrant and herby. Nice though. Then I indulged myslef and had some chocolate cake! Yum. It cam with some little pears and some raspberries and a scoop of ice cream on a slice of pistachio biscuit. There were also some panes of brittle see through something which appeared to be pure sugar!

The office have lent me a Ukrainian mobile so I got to talk to Rich, this was good as I'm very lonely without him! Only a few nights though... and we always have email!