I wouldn’t be at all surprised. From reading the newspapers’ accounts of the issues of the upcoming election, corruption seems to be endemic, and a very serious impediment to the Ukraine’s growth, and its ability to be taken seriously as a forward-thinking nation. There is an extraordinary gap between rich and poor, one that in previously uncompetitive economic times was filled by the Black Market.
I just know that the sea is passing outside my porthole very slowly.
Lunch was almost as awful as dinner. Meals are served at a proscribed time, and for a thirty-minute period. Plates are left out, and will start getting cold immediately. With the powerfully testeronic atmosphere of the ship, and the almost complete absence of women, “chow-time” reminds me of prison movies. The soup was good though, but I am not sure what sort of animal had been cooked for the main course. We will see about dinner.
One is never far from a cigarette in this part of the world, and this ship, actually pretty vast to accommodate 53 trucks, fourteen railway freight cars, two 4WD vehicles and 130 passengers, is awash with smokers. Almost all are Ukrainian, Georgian or Armenian, and the primary fashion statement appears to involve various shades of black and grey. With a blue shirt and brown jacket I stick out like Liberace. There is one other” westerner” on board, a pleasant German fellow (originally from the DDR) en route to vacation with a couple of Russian friends in the Caucuses. I thought that this sounded a touch dangerous for a Russian here, but no matter.
Otherwise we mosey slowly forward, having just passed a couple of miles off the Crimean coast, and with it a brief phone connection, we now head straight across to the Georgian coast.
It is time to go and wander around, and pass time until it is socially appropriate to sample the Moldovan Red.