Monday, September 23, 2019

Day Trip to Dnipro

Yesterday I took the bus into Dnipro to pick up a package at the airport from friends flying in from Regina enroute to Zaporizhzhia. I'd left two portable hard drives behind which were backups of stuff on my computer. Actually, I should back up to the cloud and to the hard drives but my internet speed isn't fast enough.

Last time I was in Dnipro it was by ambulance 27 months ago. Can't recall when I was last there of my own free will. The bus ticket said it was a 2 hour trip. I thought maybe they had resurfaced the highway? Yeah, right. The 30+ km past P'yatikhatki is so bad the bus had to slow to a crawl many times and drive as much on the shoulder as possible. It is part of a main highway connecting Dnipro with the west side of Kyiv and is busy with heavy trucks coming and going. They have to crawl on that highway all the way to Olexandra which is in a different Oblast and has better roads. Is there a war between Dnipro and Kyiv that Dnipro will not fix their highways?

I left the house by taxi to the bus depot at 8:30; bus left at 8:55. This is a real 29 passenger bus. They run twice per hour. Used to run an 18 passenger mini-bus three times per hour. Arrived Dnipro about 11:15, walked to the railway station to catch the mini-bus to the airport. Arrived to see it pulling away. Took a taxi because I was worried about how often the bus ran and didn't want to be late to meet my friends who arrive at 1:00 from Vienna. Turned out I had lots of time as either the plane was late or customs and immigration took forever or both. Time for coffee and a mini-quiche. It was close to 1:35 when they came through the door.

Their driver was waiting and Otto was in a hurry. He would hardly let Florence stop long enough to give me the package. They had just flown Regina, Toronto, Frankfurt, Vienna, Dnipro. When you are 85 you have a right to be exhausted and desperate to get to where you can rest. Caught a mini-bus back downtown. It was not the regular airport shuttle and took an hour, giving me a Cooks Tour of parts of Dnipro that looked familiar but I had no idea where I was at any time.

There are usually homeless people on the streets. There was one old man with crutches and two dogs. All three looked very downcast. I gave him some money and one of the dogs offered me his paw in thanks. I should have given him more, I guess. It looks like something until you calculate the actual dollar vallue.

Got back to the bus depot to buy my ticket home at 3:00 pm. It was Sunday so everyone was going home to their village from Dnipro. The next three buses were sold out so I was on the 4:55 bus with a two-hour wait. Bought a coffee and a donair (shawrma in Ukrainian). The trip home took two hours and 45 minutes. Then I had to wait for a taxi as the first one got tired, took another customer and disappeared before I got there.

It was 12 hours door to door for a 5-minute pickup. Good thing my time is not too valuable.

A rundown of costs in CAD, just for fun.
Taxi to and from the bus depot in Zhovti Vody: $4.60 each way.
Bus tickets: $12.45 each way
Taxi to airport: $13.60
Mini-bus back downtown: 40 cents
Coffee and food: $6.80
Charity: 80 cents

Some of the things I noticed on the way. Sunflower harvest is going full blast, about 3/4 done. corn will be next month. Winter crops are seeded or the land worked down. Some fields showed green but not sure what. Looked like broadleaf so could be winter canola? More of that grown every year.  Good for honey production too.

Ukraine is slowly changing place and street names away from the Russian of their colonial overlords. Dnipro was Dnipropetrovsk, last time I was there. And my favourite, Shchorsk is now Bozhedarivka. I feel like the Swede who complained to my Great Uncle Joe that he yust learned to say crock and dey changed it to yug.


  1. Ukraine is in the news here. Your review of life there emphasizes that nations are made up of humans.
    the Ol'Buzzard

    1. I have been following that. Maybe I'll do my own take on it. Yes we are all humans and to a greater or lesser extent we tend to react in similar ways to opportunity or lack of it. Mostly we common folk just make do

  2. What a grueling trip. Yet another reason for me to love living here in Canada!


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