A Ukrainian train is like no other...Picture yourself back in the late forties or early fifties...in Russia...got it?? Now you can see what kind of train we were on. It is not a bad ride if you like Six Flags a lot...just kidding. The ride on the train from Dneper to Uman was much like taking a bus from Dallas to El Paso. You will certainly stop at every place that has more than one house standing close together. We stopped so often I wasn't sure that we would make it before it was time for us to come home!
You have to understand the train system here as well. You buy a place to sleep in a compartment that sleeps four. It really doesn't matter to them WHICH four are sleeping together. We were joined by a young man who looked like he was in his late 20's or early 30's. It was very hard to even think about sleeping with him in the same room with us...(stop laughing Ben Andersen)...so we neither one got very much sleep.
The ride was very much like a bad ride at 6 Flags. Every time they came to a stop...which was VERY often...you were jerked forward and then backward. If you had been asleep before, you weren't now. Also, several of the stops were at actual train stations and the loud speaker squawking out unintelligable Russian was very hard to sleep thru, if by chance, the kleig lights didn't wake you. The other stops were so fast I'm not sure that I could have gotten up the steps and into the train before it took off again.
As for the bathroom...
I'm not sure there are words that would describe that experience. Anyone from the old school Casa View may remember the Express Bus. It had a place in the very back next to the emergency exit that served the same purpose. Using that facility was like riding a bull, thus the name "the Bull". Well...I tell you what...give me the old Express! This Ukrainian version is something else!
You have to make sure that you roll up your pants before you go in because there is usually water standing on the floor. And if there is toilet paper it is more like the cheapest version of paper towel available. Then...IF you can stand, there is a stainless steel potty that smells like...you don't really want to know the answer to that! All the while rolling down the tracks, so you are in a Port-a-potty on wheels and the driver is drunk! It sways and jerks so much that they have a grab bar so that you won't fall down. Of course when I am finished I can't make the sink water work at all so my hands are...you don't really want to know the answer to THAT one either! It is an exciting adventure to try and hit the right place while swaying and twisting and trying to hold your breath! You ladies know exactly what I'm talking about. Rita, I might add MUCH after the fact, told me you are supposed to put on foot on the toilet seat, one foot on the ground, and hold to the grab bar with one hand. (the other one is up in the air rodeo style I am sure) It apparantly gives you a sense of stability or something! Next time I'm on a Ukrainian train I'll try it!
Just wanted you to have something to be thankful for today!
love you much,