Sunday, November 6, 2011

Arghhh to Ahhhh....

Sorry, readers. I kicked myself a thousand times for not bringing a camera!!!!! Hopefully my words can paint the evening for you.

Let's pick up from the last entry.....

I called my dear co-teacher and begged off from meeting the students. I'm so sneaky like that. Anyways,we met up at a bar near Independence Square but, being Saturday night, it was packed and we couldn't get a table. We took the metro one stop to another restaurant. It was, of course, fantastically decorated- two stories tall with a spiral staircase and there was practically a freakin' fresco on the ceiling!- and well-lit, techno music was playing, and a lot of the men and women present looked like supermodels. The restaurant was busy but not packed. We waited for someone to seat us. And waited. And waited. Finally D cornered a waiter and he told us to seat ourselves. So we sat. And waited. And waited. And waited. After 30 minutes D (who has gotten over his culture shock, by the way, and is putting his "Ukrainian" face on more often) took action. He got up, strolled into the kitchen to the waiter area. I swear to God this was the actual conversation, word for word:
D: "Do we need to bring our own food to this restaurant or something?"
Waitress: "Have you even been to a restaurant where you're allowed to bring your own food?"
D: "Well, then give us some menus so we can order!"
So he came back with menus and we waited. And waited. And waited another 30 minutes for a waiter. No waiter. I even did my secret trick, 99% guaranteed to get the attention of any Ukrainian waiter. (secret trick: crumple up a napkin and leave it on the table. Ukrainian waiters hate this. They can sense a crumpled napkin from two rooms away. They usually show up immediately to glare at you and take the napkin away.)
The result this time: still no waiter. We weren't the only ones suffering through this scenario either. Finally we gave up and went down the street to Paris, a cute little French restaurant. They sat us right away. The restaurant was dimly lit, wallpapered, and full of cherubs and other French themed decor. The tables are small, intimate, and hollow- the bottom is filled with trinkets and a plate of glass is placed on top. Conversation starters, I guess? The ceiling is boldly striped two shades of pink and looked pretty cool in the dim lighting. Anyways, the extraordinarily attentive waitress who sat us spread 5 menus out on the table- dessert, wine, and 3 entree meals, but didn't really let us look at them. Instead she was quite gung-ho about making recommendations and guiding us through the menu selections. So we went through a bit of back and forth- "What do you feel like?" "Soup" ""We have.......soup." "Okay, I'll take that" "And what do you feel like?" "Meat" "What kind of meat would you prefer?" "Beef" "We have......" It was like either A) being in a medieval restaurant before the invention of the printing press or B) being in a very fancy restaurant. This is probably SOP for most fancy restaurants. Obviously, I haven't been in many of them. I was really impressed that she could remember everything so well! The food there was delicious. (And small portioned, sigh. Curse my American-size appetite.) If you're here in Kharkov, I recommend checking this place out.

The weirdest part of the evening was probably this: we were approached later by an American guy at a bar. He was spinning lots of wild stories, including one about an international kidnapping (the others were equally as unbelievable but I won't get into them here). I think my companions kind of wrote him off but as for me- yes, I will totally Google you, random strangers. And it turns out what he was saying was true. Let's leave it at that.

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