09 Aug, 2009
Posted by: Scott In: The Rally
Odessa is a nice mid-size city situated along the Black Sea. There aren’t many tall buildings in the area, and most of the streets are lined on either side with oak trees, so it gives the city a small-town feel. After we woke up the first evening we went outside to do some reconnoitering of the area. We were situated near the center of the city, just two blocks from the central train station. We headed east to check out the beaches, as I had heard good things about them. Following that we had dinner at a kebab/sushi place (interesting combination, but it works!).
The language thing was a bit difficult. We were functionally illiterate and couldn’t really converse either. At least in the previous countries we could read the letters! I had a Lonely Planet phrasebook with me and got to work memorizing basic words and trying to decipher the alphabet. As I had done previously in Japan, I found that just walking around and trying to read store signs helped in learning the alphabet. We had to learn sometime, as the next five weeks of travel would involve cyrillic!
On Monday the 27th we decided to take a day off and just chill–it was my birthday after all! We started off with a Big Mac lunch at what was apparently the city’s only McDonald’s (a very popular one at that) and then headed down to the beach. We plopped ourselves down on the sand and just lied in the sun all day, drinking beers and relaxing. It was a nice change of pace, and we knew it’d be the first and last beach we’d encounter on the trip.
The next day we tried to visit the local Rotary Club for their weekly meeting but found out that they didn’t have anything scheduled for that week (most clubs in the US meet weekly but this is apparently not the case elsewhere). We did however enjoy a nice lunch at a little cafe in the center of town and use the wi-fi connection to check our e-mail and update the site before heading out of the city around 5:00PM. Or should I say, trying to head out of the city. You see, Ukraine has a slight problem with road signs–there really aren’t that many. It makes getting around a bit difficult, as you might imagine. We ended up circling the city a few times before finally getting to the freeway that would take us in an easterly direction out of the city. Two hours lost right there.
Pictures have been posted in the gallery.