Sunday, September 29, 2013

These Boots were made for Walking

Before moving to Kiev my total amount of walking had been 3 minutes on the treadmill at gym, walking from the car to my house and from the car park to the shops at the shopping mall.  All those hours spent browsing shops at the shopping mall did not prepare me for my new life of walking to work.  At first the morning walk was hard, there is an incline, lots of steps, uneven path, it played hell on my calves.  The first few times the walk took me 40 minutes.  I hated it.  Especially in the rain when cars deliberately aimed for large puddles so they can send a spray of dirty water your way.  But I persevered and am pleased to say I actually enjoy my brisk walk in the chilly mornings.  Being part of a workforce all walking to work gives me a sense of belonging.  It now takes me 20 minutes to walk to work instead of the initial 40.  Looking at the jelly flesh covering my legs, there seems to be a little less of it which is probably a good thing.  So walking might be good for me after all.  I might even end up with long slim well-muscled shapely legs like the Ukrainian women have, but I won't hold my breath.  Those legs take years.
I bought two pairs of ankle boots before I left Cape Town, thinking that made me ultra-prepared for Kiev.  However, boots for mall-walking and boots for road-walking are not the same thing as I am discovering.  And boots for snow walking is something else entirely.  I don't want to give up my morning walk so I guess that means some serious boots made for walking shopping is on the cards.
Admission of guilt:  After the first night walking home, I decided my reward for a hard day's work each day is to take a taxi home.
Last Saturday I met a friend who took me to explore the city centre of Kiev.  I experienced the underground rail system for the first time.  Terrifying.  People who all moved purposefully knowing where they were going, crowds of them, all hemming you in and suffocating you.  And then there were the escalators, so long, steep, a vertical drop to the centre of the Earth, moving far faster than any escalator I'd ever experienced, and the holding on part didn't move at the same speed as the steps part.  Scary.  As someone who is not good with heights and escalators in general, this was a time to dig deep and face my fears.  My friend was supportive, standing in front of me so I couldn't see the drop, letting me babble on incoherently so that I could distract myself.  Somehow, I don't think I am ever going to be able to travel on the metro underground by myself.
We walked and walked searching for The Chocolate House which did not sell chocolate as we discovered, but held an interesting abstract art exhibition and was the venue for a couple of weddings we gatecrashed.  The rain came down in buckets and we were drenched, droplets of rain dripping down from the ends of our noses as we took temporary refuge in telephone boxes.  My gym trainers are not waterproof as I have discovered.  Maybe because they are meant for indoor use and it goes without saying that it never rains inside a gym.
This Saturday my lovely teaching assistant took me to a second hand clothes market so I could stock up on some winter clothes.  We took a bus to get there, thankfully no metro and no escalators.  Lots of the clothes looked new or hardly worn at all.  I bought two coats, a longish one and a shorter one, 4 100% wool sweaters and a polar fleece and paid only $85 for the lot.  That's what I call a bargain!  So hopefully I'll be warm for the winter which seems to be approaching rapidly.  The temperatures lately have dropped to about 5 degrees Celsius and my Cape Town winter gear is hopelessly inadequate.
Next weekend I think I'll do some boots shopping.  Apparently there is something you can put under your boots to stop you from slipping in the snow.  I need to get that and a woolly hat and maybe a scarf or two.  I already have a balaclava and ear muffs from my visit to Siberia several years ago.
Time to have another coffee!
Cindy Vine is the author of Not Telling, Defective and C U @ 8, all available on Amazon in paperback and kindle.

1 comment:

Lynne Favreau said...

Brr, Cindy. I got chill just reading that. Sounds like you've settled into a new routine. It's fun discovering the ins and outs of new places.