All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.

Robert Kennedy

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Zatoka...I don't even know her...

I'm beginning to think the thing I am best at in this crazy time is integrating with the locals. As I have stated numerous times, I love the Moldovan friends I have made over the past year. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to travel with them. Viktor is moving to France next week so we decided to take a trip to the beach for one last hurrah. There were six of us, Me, Viktor, Alex, Holly, Vlad and Marina. Holly and I were the only Americans and we had never heard of Zatoka so we were quite literally putting our lives in their hands. Zatoka is a small town in the Ukraine Southeast of Cahul.,+Ukraine&ie=UTF-8&ei=yLY_UIGoFPPN4QTFuYCACA&ved=0CAsQ_AUoAg

It is about a 5 hour bus ride with some time spent on the border. It reminded me a lot of the Jersey Shore only no one spoke English...much like Jersey. Since it was all Russian, we had to rely on them for everything. At times it was unsettling, but for the most part, it was kind of nice to be taken care of. The hardest part for Holly and me was that they kind of fly by the seat of their pants. We got on the bus and didn't have reservations to stay anywhere. We just walked around until someone made us an offer. It sounded SO shady to us but we ended up at the greatest place. It was run by an older couple. There were about 20 rooms. Each had 2 beds in them. There were 3 outdoor showers shared by the whole complex and two outdoor toilets. The entire place was covered in trees and vines and greenery so the breeze was nice and cool and the sun didn't sweat you out. It was remote and overlooked the sea from afar. It was SO peaceful and I just loved it. And it was 75 Hryvna (Hree-vna) which is equivalent to about $9/day...yeah, quite a deal. Outdoor showering sounds weird but it is SO relaxing. Especially after a long day at the beach with the cool air and the hot water...oh my God it's so awesome. We were on the beach all day, I couldn't bring myself to go in the water. it was just so filled with seaweed and jelly fish it grossed me out but everyone else was in it all day. Good for them! We ate dry, salted fish with beer (yeah...not really my favorite) and chatted in our broken Russian and English. It was so delightful. As we were about to leave a storm started to roll in. Winds like I haven't seen in years, it was unbelievable. I thought the entire place was going to blow over. I didn't sleep too well that night. The storm continued into the next day. It rained and the winds blew. We had a long bus ride back and all were slightly burned and cranky but it still managed to be a great time. I truly love these guys and I can't believe how fortunate I am to be friends with them. It's so funny to spend a day at the Black Sea like it's no big deal. From the outside it seems so exotic but it's just what's available to me. I'm so damn lucky. 
Marina, Vlad, Viktor, Alex, Holly and I make our way to the beach via the train tracks.

Vlad and Marina

Viktor on the beach

Oh how I love having my photo taken.

Yeah...I was pretty confused too.

This is Viktor stealing my camera...I am not this lame.

Yeah...he's pretty disgusting.

Viktor found this old Soviet bomb underneath the stairs of where we were staying. It wasn't active...

Viktor loves the water.

Me, Holly and Alex on the beach.

Ukrainian sunset.

USSR still lurking around...

Alex and Viktor hanging out with the birds.

Alex and Holly went on a ride...a decision they later regretted.

Viktor rode the bull.

I want to strangle him for leaving me.
But I just adore him.

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