Today consisted of everyone going everywhere. Some home, some to other events. Boring day for me as I fly on the 22nd. Found out, there is a "train caravan", or a group of people travelling by train together, going to the universala kongreso. If I new about that before I would have joined them. Oh well, time for reflection.
What did I think of my first esperanto event? It does give the language more meaning to hear it being used. Even more when i spoke to people who don't know English or are not very good at it. I also learnt what the language barrier feels like. I often didn't get the detail of a conversation, so I often asked for English for important stuff. Of course, this was not always possible, so I did my best.
The next observation is the atmosphere. Although it is an international party house, I did not notice any exclusion or bad drunken behaviour. This may be due to the fact that people here have strange interests. Turns out, at least 30 people are in poly-relationships and many are computer programmers, linguists or some other technical field. I guess alcohol is seen more as a social lift here rather than the social focal point as seen in the more common alcoholic party.
Talks with people uncovered some interesting information. I am use to hearing English spoken by people from all countries. Turns out, most people from other languages almost never hear their language spoken by a foreign tongue. Also noted is how universal social problems are.
As for Ukraine and Kiev, they need to move on from the communist days. The place looks dirty, run down and inefficient. There is very little to encourage foreigners. It really is stepping back in time by about 50 years. This is unfortunate as there is great potential in the city. I am amazed how strong and well maintained their religious institutions are. I didn't think I would ever be filling up my water bag with sacred water from sacred taps and springs, or seeing a sacred grove in the forest, or swimming in sacred water under the shadow of a church. Of cause, all these places were well hidden; the average foreigner would not find them without local knowledge.
The food shops had a nice touch. They were decorated, often in traditional Ukrainian themes, sometimes international themes "pyramids". The shop owners did not like photos being taken though.
Amazingly enough, I don't recall seeing a single McDonald's, or any other fast food store, anywhere. I guess the food is already fast, and of reasonable quality.
The photo is my final meal in Kiev; Chicken Kiev. What good luck for Ukrainian surprise!