Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Death of a Thousand Cuts


The motorcycle ride through Odessa was amazing. A feeling of euphoria washed over me as I meandered through the streets of this city. I couldn't wait to see the Black Sea from Odessa. It has been on my mind for so long and today is the day I get to do it! As with most larger cities I have been in during this trip I was lost within minutes. My sense of direction seems to have evaded me and I end up on a highway leaving the city and heading out towards the country. Sheesh. You would think I would get lucky every once in awhile.

I decided to stop at a gas station for a drink and directions. my motorcycle needed a rest and I needed some liquids. I grabbed an iced tea and then I noticed something so amazing I was awestruck.

Gin and Tonic in a can! I love this country!

With an iced tea and six cans of pre-made G&T I asked the girl for directions back to Odessa. The language barrier came into play and the only useful information I got was a finger (not that one) pointing back the way I had come. I knew this already, I was just in denial.

Entering the city for the second time didn't have quite the same effect as the first. Now I was starting to get a little peeved. Even if I had a map I wouldn't have been able to decipher the letters they use on the streets anyways. Armed with that piece of useful information I just randomly navigated myself through the streets of Odessa until I found what I was looking for. A tour bus parked in front of a hotel. I'm in the right neighborhood now. This was the nice part of town with expensive shops, trendy restaurants and hotels on every block. The only thing that was missing is water. Where the heck is the Black Sea? I dismounted and took up my search on foot. This was a good idea. I was so close already but without getting off my bike I would have never seen it. The viewpoint could only be reached by foot.

Fantastic! The port was breathtaking from up here. In many ways it reminded me of Vancouver. There were alot of freighters coming in and out being loaded and unloaded. This was a working waterfront and it was busy. I could see a hotel down there but I really had no idea how to get there. I mounted up again and went in search of a road down to the water. It took a little while but I finally found a route. Getting to that hotel wasn't very obvious at all but I did make it. I pulled up to the front and I went in to see about getting a room. The people in front of me were taking a long time so I decided to sit down and have a gin and tonic while I waited. I wasn't trying to attract attention to myself but having a can of gin and tonic explode on you while you jump up and try to deep throat a can really does get people looking at you. Once the effervescence settled down I was left with about a third of a can which I finished quickly. I don't even want to know what I look like. I decided to stand in line and try to motivate these people to finish their business a bit quicker.

A couple of guys walked in and lined up behind me. I had noticed that they took some time to check out my motorcycle as they walked into the lobby.

"You didn't drive that bike from Canada did you?", the one gentleman asked me in a thick Italian accent.

"I did! And I gotta tell you it was a little cold coming up over the North Pole", I replied. I could see by the look on his face that he quickly understood my humor and the joke wasn't lost upon him. He began to laugh.

It's very rare that you know right away that you have met a lifelong friend, but I knew the instant I met these two Italians that I was introducing myself to two lifelong friends. Marco and Paulo would be my posse while I stayed in Odessa. I was still trying to check in and these guys were in desperate search of the internet to find their way to Bulgaria. Without thinking twice I reached into my bag and gave them my laptop. This hotel had WiFi so they could check ferry schedules while I checked in. I told them I would meet them in the lounge after I got settled in.

This story isn't about Marco and Paulo though. The next two days will be full of them. This story is about me. I know it sounds selfish but if you keep reading you will understand. After waiting far to long I finally checked in. I have to admit that Odessa is cheap, sorry inexpensive, and I would recommend coming here if you're in need of a vacation that offers good value.

I went up into my room and got myself cleaned up. My hand was aching from the burn and I there was alot of puss forming. I could tell you how I dealt with this or you could just watch this video. Trust me, it's a good one:

After I finished administering my first aid I got dressed and met Marco and Paulo downstairs for a beer I think my generosity paid off with the computer because they bought the beers.


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