Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Western Ukraine

I've been traveling enough of late to not only have seen The Worst Toilet in Ukraine (on the train to Kherson), but also its closest challenger. Today, I took a picture of the latter, a pit toilet out back of a bus station in the Carpathian town of Yaremche. Perhaps I'll post the photo later, with a disclaimer like those voiced before the more especially disturbing segments on the evening news: I must warn you, these images are graphic and may not be suitable for young children.

In other news, after almost a year of hesitation, I braved my first squatter last Friday after arriving to the Kyiv train station with what can only politely be described as some small degree of gastrointestinal urgency. Like most things long avoided, it wasn't as bad as I'd imagined. But I won't go into the details here. That sort of writing requires, and I believe I'm paraphrasing Wordsworth here, a period of quiet contemplation more appropriate to a book than a blog.

Tonight, I'm in very comfortable surroundings, at the On The Corner bed and breakfast in Kolomyia, a town nestled amidst the Carpathian Mountains in western Ukraine. Why am I in western Ukraine? I'm not really sure. I haven't quite scared up a marriage agency connection yet, though I have found great accommodations – the best I've yet seen in Ukraine. After checking into On The Corner this afternoon, I was almost immediately served a home-style Ukrainian dinner. Last night, in Rakhiv, another Carpathian town, my host was no less accommodating, giving me the best room I've yet rented in Ukraine – and for a price of only $10. I should write more about these places later, when I have time and computer access (both have been scarce of late).