"All words are symbols that represent unspeakable realities. Which is also why words are magical." (Donald Miller tweet)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

cellars and rooftops

We went underground for dinner, after a long afternoon nap. And by "underground" I mean entering through a street door with no sign or identifying features; memorizing the "slava Ukraine" password to get in; and downing a shot of "vodka" (thank goodness I can put that in quotes, since I'm not a drinker) before a Ukrainian in fatigues allowed us through a second door and down the stairs into the basement restaurant. 

Pretty sure it was Buckley's in that shot glass, by the way. 

"No Russians allowed" was the stern reminder. Every now and then a gunshot or a "test" if they suspected you weren't REALLY Ukrainian. Yummy food though. 

Partway through, we all stood as patrons spontaneously broke into the national anthem. Admittedly, the vodka they were drinking was the real thing, and lots of it, but still - the national anthem!

Odd to sit in this place and watch news of the separatist referendum in Donetsk (on the other side of the country) at the same time. After all, this restaurant is essentially a tourist attraction, begun long before the current troubles. Had a distinct, slightly disturbing air of authenticity now. 

Afterwards, we exited into a secret courtyard.

One of us had to be untangled from his parachute. 

Up to a rooftop (note: basement to rooftop) where another of us manned an anti-aircraft thingamabob. 

And then we went back down and down the street for handmade hot chocolate (not a drink - pure dark chocolate, melted, in a little bowl) and ice cream, with a latte on the side. Three gazillion steps to the rooftop.

Totally worth the view. 

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