After spending a few days in the Western Ukraine city of L'viv, I wanted to head down to Simferopol, where I taught English for a spell. From there we could make a quick trip to the Black Sea, visit my former colleague Olga and just see the place I once called home. But, first a 24-hour train ride lay ahead.
I didn't even struggle a little bit when buying the tickets. However, when we boarded the next morning I soon realized that I neglected to make one important request: to have a cabin away from the bathroom. In fact, we were right next to the loo which, as previous experience has shown me, can lead to some unpleasant odors. Luckily, however, nobody was sharing our four-bed cabin...at least not immediately.
After a few hours of chilling in our cabin and playing cards, we arrived in the town of Ternopil...and with that came our cabin mates, Nikolai and Victor. The two burly middle-aged Ukrainian men entered our compartment with a couple of small bags and a big suitcase, which they proceeded to try, unsuccessfully, to fit beneath the bench in numerous different ways. Finally the hoisted the massive thing into an overhead shelf. Shortly afterward came the obligatory introductions, where I explained my rudimentary knowledge of Russian, Nikolai tried some broken English, Victor explained he would only be speaking Ukrainian (as he has great pride in his homeland) and Heidi smiled and nodded.