Amazing how time flies. Four weeks in Crimea and suddenly it's time to head back to Rostov. To the train station today for tickets. McDonald's and an ATM are nearby and so I invited two favorite 16-year-olds to accompany and provide personal security. Or something. First, to the Simferopol train station.
The station is lovely and better yet, it's user-friendly for train passengers as they arrive in Simferopol, known as the gateway to Crimea. Here's the station's clock tower, the symbol of the city, as seen through the McDonald's patio.
Got tickets, got cash and oh what a view. Here's the clock tower through one of the arches. White arches with bas relief embellishment - a term I might have just dreamed up - a bit different from the golden arches. More importantly, my body guards are there waving in the shadows.
Here they are again, against the bas relief of the walls. Nice to relax on this little excursion, knowing that these two are looking out for me, and will put themselves between me and harm's way. More or less.
We're heading over toward McDonald's now but oh, look - flags fluttering in the breeze. Time out for a picture. These girls know one of the hazards of accompanying a photographer-wanna-be anywhere is time out for photos.
Flags are so photogenic. Waiting for a breeze to catch them at their best is another story. Come on breeze, come on, come on.
Quite a few shots later, here's what we'll settle for:
From the left, the flag of Ukraine, then the flag of Crimea and. . .what's the flag on the right? Probably the flag of Simferopol.
Enough dilly-dallying. We've got a friend awaiting us over yonder.
Oh our dear Ronald McDonald with Julia, left and Oksana, who seems to be fielding a call, probably related to our safety and trip home.
My favorite part of a trip anywhere is Sunday and worship and getting to know brothers and sisters of like precious faith. Zhenya preaches for the Simferopol church of Christ, a church plant out of Donetsk that he and Elena helped start six years ago.
The church rents a room at the Palace of Culture. And here we are last Sunday.
We like to sing and among the singers is a group of teens from a local orphanage. They and their caretaker come to worship each Sunday.
Zhenya has such love for this little church. He and Elena have such love for orphans such as those in the front row. Guess that's why they adopted five teens last summer.
This evening, a absolute highlight was using SKYPE for the first time. We talked with Jay, our buddy from Atlanta. Do you SKYPE? You probably have done it for years. But not me, not this bunch. This is new and novel to us. Guess we're SKYPE-etteers. Eventually we'll be honest-to-goodness SKYPE-ers. But for now, we're just easing into the scene.
Here we are, Sunday 9:00 pm Ukraine time and 2:00 pm Eastern Time in Atlanta. We loved talking with Jay.
What an interesting experience. Got to admit that I've been intimated by SKYPE. Granted, I downloaded the program and set up the account. No sweat there. Zhenya dug around and found a microphone, that was a major step. But then to actually connect somehow, that's a step I've never taken myself.
I really must try that in Rostov. Have some things to work out with my internet provider first. Access tends to be slow and the more megabytes received, the more expensive. But thanks to this little nudge from Jay, I just might take the next steps.
How about you, dear readers, do you SKYPE? Please tell us all about it! Did you just jump right in and use it - or where you resistant, anxious, hesitant?