Thursday, April 29, 2010

Road Show

Left town at 7:00 am Tuesday morning, arrived in Kyiv at 12:30, found our rented flat which was near the railway station and only $50 (down from $100 a couple years back) and set out to meet with our friend  Sveta at 2:00 pm.  We had coffee and then set out for the Magnolia Botanical Gardens.  Not being a Southern boy, I had never seen magnolia blossoms before, though they are everywhere in Crimea this time of year, Tanya says.

The white magnolias had been blooming for three weeks already and filled the air with a wonderful scent.  The red blossoms were just beginning to open.  No camera of course as this was an impromptu tour.  Sveta had her camera, the bag being nearly as big as she and shot picture after picture with her humongous Nikon SLR digital.  She is supposed to send us some so must remind her.  And remind her not to send the 12 or 15 mb versions.

We headed for TGI Fridays to meet my friend John Jackson from Great Bend Kansas at 6:30 for supper.  He is a tall gentle cowboy, at home on a horse, managing cattle ranches on Indian Reservations or in the FSU, managing logistics for other companies.  I met him years back, though our respective Agricultural Consultants Associations.  He brought me a package of farm magazines and we talked cows for a couple hours while devouring Jack Daniel's Steaks.  His logisitcs man Hriday Gupta and Tanya conversed in Russian as we were boring them.  John and I could have talked cows for another week or two before I would need a break.

Wednesday morning, Tanya went home on the Dnipropetrovsk express and I took the Kharkiv Express to deliver my presentation at the scientific conference organized by Dr Rodenko head of the Animal Science Institute. My train left at 6:30 and I arrived in Kharkiv at 12:30. One of his Post-Docs (they call them Junior Scientists), Victoria met the train and we took a taxi to the Hotel Mir (Peace) where the conference was located. Her area of research is factors affecting milk fatty acid composition.

We walked in just as a speaker was finishing.  They broke for coffee and I was the next speaker.  I had 30 minutes (15 in English and 15 for translation - done by Dr Rodenko).  I crowded in another 15 minutes of questions and could have gone longer.  Then Victoria and I had a quick lunch and the Vice Director took us, again by taxi, to their Institute for a tour of their laboratories.  I met four Post-Docs all told and they all spoke poor to fair English and, I expect, read it fair to good. Augurs well for them to keep up with scientific research published in English.  I was impressed.

Victoria then took me on a quick tour of the city, including an old monastery, the main Cathedral of which was undergoing renovations and repairs.  Inside was just stunningly beautiful.  A service was in session so we did not stay long. We then went to the bus station, where she bought me some sandwiches and water for the trip back to Dnipropetrovs'k.  Victoria was glad to escape the conference I think and looked after me like I was her own father.

Now Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovs'k are 210 km apart, outskirts to outskirts.  The bus trip took 5 hours.  It was the milk run bus from Kharkiv to Mikolaiv.  We arrived in Dnipro at 11:00 pm.  My seat mate would arrive in Mikolaiv at 6:00 am.  Andrei was waiting for me at the bus depot, with our car and his friend Sasha from Krivii Rih.  We had to return Sasha to home so we did not arrive home until 2:00 am. 

A long day for a 15 minute presentation.  But...more on that later.


  1. You seem to have a wonderful Life.
    I'm sure along the way it had it's ups and downs..
    Enjoy ;)

  2. Oh for the days that you didn't remind the pretty girls of their fathers!!! ;)

  3. I used to travel quit a bit back in the day. Don't think I could do that again.

  4. Sounds like you guys had a great time! You and your ABC... another bloody cow.

  5. T - life has its ups and downs and jerks and sudden stops.
    DM - how come you understand so much about men? I have three wonderful stories about that where the joke was totally on me.
    D - I slept until 2:00 am the next day. I can't do this either.
    MB - cows are interesting too, you know.


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