Goodbye Lenin

The weather was quite cold and I felt lazy to go to Crimea (next time) so I took a night train to Kharkiv. I didn’t know much about the place but looking at the map an University city there shouldn’t be bad.

Indeed apart from the obvious the place was nice, with some pretty orthodox churches, a flea market, some parks, decorated tube stations Moscow style (well, kind of) and so on. The main thing there is a huge square. They claim the 3rd in the world after Tiananmen and the Red Square. What makes it special is a big inspiring Lenin. Well, actually in Tiananmen they’ve got a Mao and the Red Square have the Lenin mummy. Never mind, Kharkiv main square is cool because I say so.

Super awesome
Mega awesome

I had a great time there meeting interesting characters like a dude who developed 7 theorems that explain the world and the meaning of life during one year “into the wild” around Russia and Belarus, true story, book coming soon. The nightlife was great as expected and I had a perfect guide to it, a local post punk guitar player. But the best was the girl working at the hostel and her friends. They took me to places (even to a dinner at their place), gave great advice and offered me to stay at her friends’ in Donetsk. There were as well a bunch of Uzbek students around to discuss Central Asian matters (corruption, plov eating, sheep shagging…)

Flea market stuff
Flea market stuff

Another night train took me to Donetsk, the last destination. The place hasn’t got much to see apart from a few statues devoted to hard working miners and another cool Lenin. But ad I confirmed many times in this trip people are more important than places. I stayed with some really nice locals and had a great time, even with a bbq on my last night.

Comrade Vladimir at Donetsk
“Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners.”  – Comrade Vladimir

And the time to put an end to the good life arrived. But I did it in style. At the flight I took at 6 am the dude next to me opened a bottle of… guess what? starts with a “v”. So I arrived to London ignoring queues Asian style and saying hello in Russian at the passport check. Only meeting old friends (and beer) relieved me from the sadness of the big smoke. I had got used to local markets, everything cheap, street foods, friendly people, a slow pace, sun, nature, smiles… and London is completely the opposite with its all-the-same franchised shit, people rushing… It’s gonna be very difficult to adapt, I feel I don’t belong here any more.


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