As the weather heats up again (it actually looks like summer today!), I'm mentally preparing myself to make the transition from Winter Marshrutka to Summer Marshrutka.
The Russian word for route is marshrut (маршрут), thus a vehicle that travels a particular route is called a marshrutka (маршрутка). Any trip to a country that borders Russia usually includes this rite of passage. At some point you'll find yourself on board one of these vehicles and at час пик (rush hour), you'll be crammed in close enough to your neighbors to get to know them very, very well ; ) Consider it the closest thing you'll get to a hug from a stranger in Ukraine.
|definitely not час пик here!|
The Winter Marshrutka and Summer Marshrutka each have their own challenges. In winter, you stand around in your fur coat, stomping your boots and peering down the road to see if the marshrutka is approaching. When that flash of green appears, you've got to either fumble around for the correct change (2 - 4 uah) or rip your gloves off, exposing hands to the freezing air, to find the money. Once the marshrutka screeches to a halt, you'll have to fight your way on board. It's not so much the other passengers that take up all available space- it's more their own gigantic fur coats. In the winter, we all look like bears (some, of course, being more fashionable than others).
In the summer, it's the opposite.