I continue to be a less than prodigious writer. In my defense, I have been on the move a lot of late.
I was able to get my transit visa for Belarus from the embassy in Lithuania with relatively little hassle. On the other hand, getting in and out of the country was a little more complex. It is often said that Belarus is a place where the USSR never really died. From my border crossing experiences I would the border guards have attempted to keep some of the Soviet spirit alive. It's a fairly lengthy story and deserves a post of its own.
Minsk was an interesting place to spend a day and a half. Stalinist architecture dominates the main avenue of the city and Soviet symbols are found everywhere. At the same time there is no shortage Western brands. The dichotomy is fascinating. A McDonald's can be found a block down from the still-functioning KGB building.
I'm now in Kiev, having arrived here on Monday morning. My first day was mostly spent sleeping off the effects of the overnight bus from Minsk. No matter how many times I take overnight buses it seems that I always end up spending the next day recovering.
I spent my second day here exploring the city. I will continue doing the same today.
Tonight I hop on the overnight train to Odessa. Hopefully this provides a more restful experience than a bus. I expect it will. Train travel, like most things, is cheap in Ukraine. For $20 I was able to get a 1st class cabin.
I anticipate I will only spend a day or two in Odessa before I continue on to Moldova.