A Travellerspoint blog

Disconnected Piggies

Who knew life could exist without internet?

The piggies left Tbilisi on Tuesday, June 9th on an overnight train to Zugdidi. They arrived at 6am and then caught a "marshrutka" to Mestia (bus taxi). We spent a few hours racing through giant mountains on the side of cliffs on incredibly bumpy roads. There were little memorials to people who had drive off the mountains and down in to the canyons below. One Polish guy threw up on the ride. Good think Beth wasn't on the bus!

But it was worth it for spending a few days in Mestia with a new friend from Australia.
View from the Hostel

View from the Hostel

There was no internet in the entire town of Mestia, pop. 2800, except for one very slow computer in a gas station at the end of town. There was only one ATM hidden at the other end of the town.

But check out these views!

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The town was full of these medieval towers where people used to live to hide from invaders. You could go inside and climb up little ladders.

The town was full of these medieval towers where people used to live to hide from invaders. You could go inside and climb up little ladders.

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Swine-ging in Mestia
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It was definitely a different place. Some of the highlights included all the cows wandering the streets, the little store with three women who owned certain items. I had to buy my ice cream sandwich and sprite from two different ladies, and the Georgian guy who drunkenly kept asking me if I could raise his child because his wife had died. He also spent about 30 minutes every 10 minutes toasting to something: sisters, parents, non-smokers, women, etc....

So here's to creepy drunk Georgian men!

Posted by gabell 03:46 Archived in Georgia Comments (1)

Some impressions of Tbilisi

Pigs haven't been very good at taking photos. Maybe they just feel weird taking selflies in the street while Georgian beggars are staring at them. Or having locals wonder why they are posing in front of buildings. Here are some first impressions...

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The food here is great but you can't eat a lot of it. These are dumplings with meat inside and bread with cheese. Very heavy.
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Cow hanging out on the highway on the way to the lake
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Posted by gabell 05:36 Archived in Georgia Comments (0)

Glow in the Dark Piggies

So the piggies decided to do a tour of Chernobyl and Pripyat because they wanted to see if they could glow.
They didn't last night but they definitely were doing weird things to the detector at the airport this morning. Coincidence? Probably....but it crossed their minds since they literally had no metal on them.

The piggies never take selfies when they go somewhere considered a tragedy. Probably could have but they decided not to risk being disrespectful. Also, you can't touch ANYTHING when you go. The dirt is radioactive. So if they were dropped it might have been bad.

So Chernobyl is abandoned. Here is a house on the road.
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This is a memorial to the first responding fire fighters. All were exposed to fatal doses of radiation and died within a few weeks. The memorial wasn't made by the government. Just some other fight fighters. It sits in front of the current fire station.
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Next we went to one of two buildings that remain in one little Ukrainian town (only about 1000 people lived here). It was totally destroyed by tanks coming into fight the radiation battle. This was the kindergarden.
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Then we went to see reactor no.4
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And then Pripyat. The town opened in the 70s to serve the workers. It was brand new. I think around 15000 people lived there. When they evacuated they were told it would only be for 3 days so they left everything but their food and documents. No one ever came back. There isn't much left in the buildings though because people looted.
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Old shop
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The amusement park was due to open 5 days before the disaster. It was never used. These were going to be the decorations:
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We had to go through radiation control when leaving. We were all a little worried about "not passing" and what would happen if we didn't pass. We heard something about "decontamination." Apparently, if you fail, there is just a pan of water for you to splash on yourself until you do pass. Ha, so chill.
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Posted by gabell 01:09 Archived in Ukraine Comments (1)

A Boaring Post of Kiev

So, due to some pretty ridiculous transportation problems, I'll barely have anytime in Kiev. Which is okay, because Lviv was amazing and it's going to be hard to top it. Starting my travels off with a high note...

So, totally sleep deprived, the piggies did a walk around of Kiev today.

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The piggies really love these Ukrainian playgrounds:
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Everything is so big and over-the-top here!! How oddly American....
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For being little piggies, the pigs have barely been eating. Here is their first meal of the day at 3pm: a crepe with really good meat inside.
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Checking out the "football" field!
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For dinner they had Varenyky, a sort of Ukrainian pierogie (dumpling) so so good!
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So yeah! the piggies are really tired and getting up really early to go to Chernobyl tomorrow so they are going to bed.
Kiev is cool but definitely doesn't have the charm that Lviv had.

Posted by gabell 13:15 Archived in Ukraine Comments (1)

Getting Weird in Lviv

All I can say about my time in Lviv so far is that it is weird. And anyone who knows me knows I love weird. So basically I love this place and I love Ukraine.

It's not easy to get around. Few people speak much English. If they do, its usually only a few words. So far I have made two unsuccessful attempts to buy a train ticket and had to buy a sort of expensive flight just to get out of this city. So I'll arrive in Kiev a day late, tomorrow. I decided that I get to sleep today since I crammed in a year's worth of weirdness in one day. Here's sort of how it went.

Taxis aren't metered and often don't have signs. The drivers don't speak English so I've had to haggle prices on paper. Great thing about Lviv is even when you're getting ripped off, it's still a steal! For instance, I paid 60UAH to get from the airport to the hostel. That's roughly $6.50.....

Then there are these crazy old school buses:
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So OBVIOUSLY I had to ride it. It cost 2UAH (Like 20 cent) and you just sort of throw the money at the driver without getting a ticket or anything. And it's really packed but anytime you pass an Orthodox church, everyone crosses themselves.

Oh right....pigs....Walking around with three plastic pigs seems less weird in Lviv than in Prague. So the pigs made their first unsuccessful journey to the train station Friday morning. On their walk back, they found this:

Super weird ex-Soviet playground???? What????? It's weirdly artistic and creepy at the same time....
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Then we had these two Ukrainian guys give us a tour. We went to this cool cafe where every floor is a different Lviv theme (clocks, this underground river now used for sewage, lions, libraries, etc...) You can go to the top and play around. So even more weird, the piggies got pictures of....their....owner? farmer? idk. Anyway:
Terrifying because this thing bounces
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And you can hang out in the chimney
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These ancient Ukrainian cars are everywhere. Even used as taxis.
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The food wasn't weird, but again, the prices were. $3? For all of this? What??
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Pigs on leashes!!!
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My super cool Ukrainian tour guides
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Yeah.....and then we went to this crazy bar. Apparently Leopold von Sacher-Masoch was born in Lemberg, the capital of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, at the time a province of the Austrian Empire. Now, Lviv. If he sounds familiar, that's because he was the Austrian dude responsible for the word, "masochism." Cause he was into all that.....

Well, that means there, of course, is a bar for him.
Here's the menu:
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The television showed segments of politics and then segments of soft-core porn.

So.....does anyone want to see a weird video of a Ukrainian waitress whipping my Ukrainian friends? Probably not......but it exists. And it's super funny.

Posted by gabell 06:09 Archived in Ukraine Comments (1)

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