Life is a serious matter.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A trip to Kharkov


So here are some details about my journey to Kharkov the previous week. Well, before I forgot everything, let’s pour it all here. It’s not as detail as it can be, but its the least I can remember, because this whole first week of new semester was really restless and tiresome. I’ll try to make it as short as possible …

18 January 2007 –Wednesday

Set out at 9.45 pm to the Simferopol Train Station. There were two groups, mine was 8 people, and the other was 10. Separated at the train station, boarded the train at 10.15 pm. Self-adapting inside the compartment, making bed for sleeping etc. It was a nice journey except with the humpty dumpy bumpy all along the way. But all in all, we slept soundlessly.

19 January 2007 – Thursday

I woke up at about 6.00 am by the sound of others who had also just waked up. We made the morning ablution and the Subuh prayer. We had breakfast of bread fried with egg, ‘cucur udang’, fried rice, doughnuts whish was made by Kak Bad and a nice hot lemon tea made by the train stewardess.

At 7.00 am, we arrived at Pivdennyi Vokzal, the Kharkiv Train Station. It was so cold when we first stepped our foot at the station. The Kharkovities were hurrying here and there. We made ourselves out of the train station and reached the front of the big station building. The morning view was spectacular. A school of sparrows (doves?) were having their morning breakfast, probably provided by the people there at the train station.

Our first intention was finding a place to stay for a night or two (we’re not sure how long we’ll stay there in Kharkov). Meanwhile, some of us can’t resist the urge to start taking pictures here and there. The cold weather was made worse with the tiny drops of rain, but this didn’t make us give up searching for cheap hotel, hostel or maybe an apartment.

We wandered around the train station, while taking pictures and looking around some of the beautiful building which we thought might be some of their administration departments. After almost an hour of searching and asking, we finally managed to talk to a taxi driver who said he knew some cheap place for a one night stay. It’s a guestroom of some apartment, and we just agreed after having some negotiation about the price and place.

He then brought us to his car and loaded us all eight people inside it. At first, we thought that he was going to take us with some mini-van, but then we have no choice. Really, a survival! Inside the car, we ‘fixed’ ourselves nice and neat, and there we went zoooomm...oh!

We arrived at the apartment’s guestroom which appeared to be quite far from the city center and a little more isolated, but it’s okay as long as we have a place to stay, this will be fine, because by tomorrow we’ll try to find another place which is a little more near to the center. We paid the driver and made ourselves into the guestroom, done the jama’ prayer and set out again, this time we’re going to explore what Kharkov have for us.

From the apartment, we ride a ‘tramvai’, (don’t know what it’s called in English, maybe tramway? but it’s the train which goes on the road with cars) to the station. At the station we booked for our ticket back to Simferopol, we’ve decided to stay for 3 days and 2 nights at Kharkov. Then we went straight ahead to the underground. Now we were at Pivdennyi Vokzal Station, and using the map we bought, confidently we ride the metro to Radianska Station. They said that Radianska is the city center of Kharkov. The metro is the most important transportation here in Kharkov, back in Simferopol; we only have buses and mini van to take us anywhere. The underground stations were beautiful too, the architecture was amazingly built.

The Metro Station map of Kharkov

In Radianska, we have the typical Ukraine’s famous city view, like in Kiev for example. So, we just wandered around the shops and streets like we knew them by heart. We don’t have any tour guider, we’re on our own that’s why we don’t really know the name of any streets we walk into or any historical site we stop at, but we can guessed by the look at it as for example if there’s a statue surround by some armored fighting tank car, we would guess that this must be some of the memorial for their soldiers who had fight for their country. When we walked around the Radianska or more commonly known as Savetskaya city, it’s already getting dark and we’re getting hungry. So, we head back to the Metro station in another way around. We went straight back to the guest room, have a dinner with only bread and chocolate and went to sleep, because we’re very tired at hope that tomorrow would be better, insyaAllah.

20 January 2007 – Friday

We woke up early, have a bath and prepare ourselves for the next exploration. After having the check out process done, we headed straight to the train station by ‘tramvai’. Have a fast breakfast and start our searched for the new place to stay for that night. We asked several folks there for ‘kvartira’ (apartment), but in vain. We heard about one hotel several station from here, but we’re not convinced until several people told us to do so. Without hesitation, we rode the metro to Sportivna, where the Hotel named Metalist located. It is four station far from Pivdennyi Vokzal Station. When we arrived, we checked in, settled down for a while, done our prayer and set out again. This time, our destination was the Tsenral’nyi Rynok (Central Market). We didn’t bought nothing much there, because it’s raining and the Market was almost closed at that time. So, we called the other group and they suggested that we visit the Vietnamese Restaurant there in Vietnamese Rynok. Sounds great and appealing, what else, that we’re very hungry, we can’t resist anymore, so we went down to the underground, buy the token at rode the Metro to Radianska Station first, then change at the Istorychnyi Muzei Station to Akedemika Barabashova where the Vietnamese Rynok situated. The rynok was very big, it covers like thousands km (my imagination), but unfortunately, it was already closed when we arrived there, so we tried to find the restaurant, they said that we can eat Char Kuew Teow there. It’s true that there’s this restaurant, which only sell Vietnamese and some others Asian food. However the restaurant was also closed and we knew that we’re late, so we just walked until we found this clean, wet market at the end of the restaurant selling all the vegetables you can’t find in western country, for a moment we felt like we’re in heaven, imagine you found some ‘serai’, onion leaves, ‘daun sup’, ‘kuey teow’, ‘tauhu’ and ‘tauge’ there. Oh, why they’re not in the Simferopol? But the price was 2 or 3 times higher than in Malaysia, I guess it’s because they’re imported.

The days getting darker and we’re told before that that day, it was the 1st of Muharram 1428. So we stopped at some deserted place and made the du’a after Asar (Doa Akhir Tahun). The du’a was read by our senior through hand phone using the loudspeaker. Ah, technology!

We shopped for some food at the supermarket nearby that was still open and headed back to the underground to continue our unknown destination (we didn’t plan this holiday!). We stopped at the Universytet Station because they said there’s a beautiful University building there. So, okay let’s have a look. When we arrived there, it’s already dark and MashaAllah, the view was really brilliant, the night was filled with lights everywhere and the buildings, architecture was ingenious, even it was so cold due to slight raining before, it doesn’t stopped us from walking and searching for the so-said beautiful University building. We walked and took pictures everywhere, sometimes we would go inside any shop, or would stop to see if there’s any ‘halal’ restaurant that we can have our dinner for that night because needless to say, we’re very hungry and a little irritated to find the Vietnamese Restaurant have closed. It was then that our hoped getting brighter when Solehah screamed that she saw the Celentino Pizza Restaurant not far away, Alhamdulillah at least some place we knew. We had the finest dinner there with pancakes and Italian pasta and delicious salad that we’re too full to walk. This the beautiful Celentino Restaurant we ever went into because there’s some Selentino restaurant back at Simferopol too.

Then, we continue our walking until we reached a big gigantic building which of course is the university. It’s the Automobile University. Well, it’s sure is big and beautiful. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a good view because it was very dark and there’s no light shining the building, so we tried to take pictures without flash and using the night mode. Well, the result was satisfactory, though.

We continue walking until we reached another Metro station which happened to be Pushkins’ka Station. We learned that this the most beautiful metro station among others, and its true. When we went down the underground, the wall was carved nicely and there’s some extract of Pushkin’s poem on several of the walls. We rode the metro back to Sportivna, having transit at the Radianska-Istorychnyi Muzei intervention.

The room at the hotel was welcoming enough. After having done the night prayer, we gather in one room and start making summary of our journey that day, planning to go to the Vietneamese Rynok early in the morning before check out at 12 in the noon. Then we went to sleep a little early out of tiredness of so much walking.

20 January 2007 – Saturday

This was our last day here in Kharkov; we would board the train home at 9.30 pm that night. After having done the subuh prayer, we set out again to the Vietnamese Rynok like we’ve planned the night before. There at the Rynok, we were amazed by so many people from Vietnam, they became the dwellers here. They constitute the majority of the population there. What amazed me more was that they can speak fluent Russian without attending any language course or what like us. Yeah, it’s true that survivor has to learn everything to continue living. We wandered around the rynok, going inside and out several times, there’s a lot of cheap things here they sell, where I didn’t bought much though. When the watch showed almost 11.30 am, we got back on the metro to our hotel to check out. Some of our friends who didn’t go out that morning were already besides their backpack. At sharp 12 noon, we checked out from the hostel as written on the receipt when we checked yesterday.

So, we headed back to the Vietnamese Rynok, this time it’s the Vietnamese Restaurant we aimed. They said, there are a lot of Malaysian cuisines sold there, I mean not really a Malaysian cuisine but at least Asian, that would be okay. So, when we arrived there, all the places were occupied, we have to wait several minutes until we got ourselves a big table by the end of the Restaurant near to the wet market which sell a lot of Asian vegetables product. Owh, I can’t wait to taste the Kuey Teow there. Unfortunately, they don’t cooked the fried Kuey Teow, instead they have something what was call ‘lapsa’, a Kuey Teow with soup, Owh, okay…. So we ordered a fried mee instead and we tried the Green Tea which is of course without sugar and taste very bitter but we drank them like it was an orange juice. My friend told me that green tea is a good remedy for fever and running nose. Okay…

Done eating, I went to the wet market to buy some ‘serai’. Owh my, sure they imported all of this because one ‘serai’ cost UAH 2.00, far more expensive than in Malaysia which only cost maybe around RM 0.50. I bought 5 ‘serai’ and satisfied myself with another sipped of green tea. Okay…

After that we start to move and went outside back to the Vietnamese Rynok because some of my friends who hadn’t chance to go out before wanted to have a look and buy several things. So, okay, let’s go and make it fast because my backpack was really heavy and I don’t think I can really bear this weight anymore. At some moment we’re being greeted by a lot of black people which I guessed must be from Africa/Morocco. Well I like to listen to them speaking American English, sometimes it sounded like rapping or something. It’s just so hard to find any people here in Ukraine speak perfect English so when we heard this Moroccan spoke, we were somewhat a little enthusiastic as if we’re in New York. HA HA.

After they’ve done their shopping of what seems to be almost 2 hours, hurggghhh… we boarded the metro back to the vakzal (train station). Goodbye then to this Vietnamese Rynok. At Vakzal we waited for several hours because our train was supposed to arrive at 9.00 pm. We wandered around the vakzal, there’s a lot of policeman in uniform wandering too, probably taking acre of the citizens there or maybe searching for illegal immigrants, I don’t know…

The time came when we boarded the train home, I mean our hostel of course. I was seated with Noor Sakiah and we got two others compartment mate who was an elderly woman and a middle-aged woman, owh, they’re very nice person.

We reached our hostel when the sun was still behind the horizon. It was sharp at 7.00 am in the morning. Owh what a vacation, and tomorrow we have to go to class. If only we have a longer holiday than just a weekend! So, that’s all about my journey to Kharkov, I’m not really good at writing traveling journal, this is all I can write, at least it can be some memory preserved here for me. =)

Sorry for the overlength.

Now it’s time for a bloody long hard work, for our State Exam will be at the end of this 6th semester and it’s very important that we pass because this is our penalty year. ;)

The end.


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Assalamualaikum teman-teman, terima kasih kerana sudi meninggalkan jejak bicara kamu, sekurang-kurang kalian telah hadir menceriakan hari-hari saya di persimpangan ini. Jazakumullah!!