Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Kiev 3

Dad came to Ukraine. We decided that we need to buy the apartment to protect it from Misha. We found out that he took all the money from grandmother's pension without telling us, even though he wrote down every single penny that he spent so we'll return it to him. Thank god grandmother's friend saw him use the card in the ATM, went to the bank and asked them to block it. He then sold all the jewelry, and she wore a lot of expensive jewelry. All he had he said was the jewelry that was returned to him at the hospital. The other, he has no idea where it is.
We offered him a deal of looking after grandma. We'll give him 15% from the sale of the appt and additional 5% for every month, up to half a year, plus everything in the appt he could sell afterwards. That wasn't good enough for him. We overheard him speaking on the phone complaining that we only offered 15%!!!
His daughter came to talk with us, and told us that they will look after grandma if they'll get the whole apartment. Everything's in Ukraine about apartments, people will kill each other over it. Anything can also be made with money and the right people. It would cost maybe $100 to make a fake will, backdate it, and write that the appt will be transferred to them. And I know ... because I made enough fake documents to buy that apartment. Dad kicked Misha out, who at the last day decided to make a yummy soup, so that maybe we'll forgive him, since there is no space to live at his daughters place, they're already 4 people in her 2 bedroom appt with no space left even for his stuff. Needless to say they were arguing a lot, and a few months later I've heard that he's looking for a new place to live.
They discharged grandma from the hospital saying that she's in stable condition, and that they can't do anything more for her. They took the feeding tube out saying that she should learn how to eat by herself again. Good idea, but the problem is, she wasn't eating. Her swallowing instinct got damaged, and she would hold the food in the mouth and would spit it out. She became very thin and weak. We had no idea what to do, so I googled how to insert the tube back in. You need to do an x-ray afterwards to make sure it's in the right place, because the tube can go in the lungs, not in the stomach, and if you'll push water then the person will die. Well I didn't have a luxury of an x-ray, or invite a surgeon for home so I did it by myself. There is a list of signs to check if it's in the lungs or in the stomach. It looked like it was in the stomach. Do I qualify as a nurse now or better yet a surgeon?
Rules differ so much in different banks. I needed to change the pin code for every card. One bank just took a photocopy of my document which said that I'm now in charge of all the activities. Another bank asked for a notarised photocopy. The other bank asked for so many things, it took me a week to get them. One was a proof of address. It took me 2 days. I run through all the city, through different offices. Everybody sent me to a new office, until I finally got to the director of municipal control. While I was waiting outside the door, he was screaming at someone ... well, that's not a good time to ask for favours I thought. But when I got in, smiled and told him that I'm from Canada, that vicious face started smiling, and called every possible person who would help me to get that letter. Then he told me to drop by if I'll have free time ... hm ... I don't think so ...
Now I'm in the process of buying the appt. There is a new rule now since January, which requires the appt to be registered before you can sell it. The process should take 2 weeks, but since it's a new rule and everybody rushes to get it, it might take 3 months without you ever knowing when it will get registered. Government buildings in this country suck! Government offices are usually located on the 1st floor of a residential building, or you walk through back yards, some unknown buildings, no names, no numbers, no signs. You walk into a huge space with offices. No information desk, no where to sit, you ask people - no one knows anything. And like that in every office. What kind of system is that?? At the registration office, there was a woman who was helping, and to ask for her help, you have to yell through a fence while she mostly ignores you. Then I waited in an unknown lineup for half an hour without it moving an inch. I gave up and went to do some photocopies. In there I asked the guys if they know a way to register the appt quicker, they secretly gave me a business card with no name, only a number and said that it could be done in a week. I called, and the person said to bring him $200, and all the original documents. Well that sounds scary. In my head, all I could think of is giving him the documents and never seeing them again.
My Canadian friend who was born in Kiev gave me a phone number of his father's bodyguard, and so I was with this big man with tattoos on his fingers driving around Kiev for a week bribing people.
All this bribing business is a little bit fun. It seems that I do everything I'm not supposed to do. I give money without envelopes, which I still don't understand why. It's not like I'm putting a birthday card in there. I yell out names, when I should answer the phone quietly, state someone else's name and follow that person after a certain time period. I agree too quickly for a price which could make that person scared. Too much to learn in such a short period of time. Now though looking at official documents, raises doubt in me. Apparently it's not that difficult to make anything up. You just have to know the right person and give the right price.
Documents are made, some are restored and finally I'm able to buy the appt. The only problem is, my grandma can't understand anything or even hold a pen, so I have a paper that gives me permission to sell the appt. I can't legally give the permission to sell it to myself, so I had to give the permission to someone else (my bodyguard), who would then sell it to me. Sounds good, but oh how many problems I had about it later.
We agreed with the neighbour that she'll buy the appt. I was already ready to leave Ukraine in just a few days. I called my neighbour a day we were supposed to go to a lawyer to get all the paperwork done, when she said that they thought about it and decided against it, because evidently there was some confusion about the price. Dad said one thing, I said another thing, although dad said things hypothetically without checking the prices on real estate site, and they got scared. They told me that there are too many crooks in Ukraine, and they have to be careful.
I was in shock, I had no idea what to do. Finally when everything was supposed to get sorted out, it crashed at the last moment. We decided to put grandma in an elderly care. But I called all the elderly homes, and nobody would accept a person in such a condition. Finally I found one home, but I went to their office, and they gave me a huge form that I need to fill out with at least 10 doctors signatures about her mental health, and dental work and chest x-ray, an eye doctor. I couldn't believe it! She doesn't even have any teeth!! And how am I supposed to pick her up and make her stand to do an x-ray? I tried to go to the mental health hospital. They just needed to give me a paper that her name is not mentioned in their records. But they said no, that they'll need to send a doctor to the house to check her health, and anyway, now holidays start and they couldn't send anyone for the next 2 weeks! I called other doctors, and they told me the same thing. "Girl, what do you think of calling in the evening on this day? Don't you know there are holidays that are starting tomorrow? Call again in 2 weeks! ... beep".
Nothing is ever getting done. I have a list of things that I have to do that day, and I'm lucky if 1 is done. Everybody has random lunch breaks, then it's the wrong office, then some document is missing, then it's someone's day off. It's very annoying!
I needed time to run around the city to get the documents prepared, and so I hired a live-in sitter. The sitter almost quit at the first day, indeed it's a scary sight to look at someone who's almost dying. She then didn't blend the food properly and because the food couldn't easy get sucked into the food injector, the can of food always ended up falling on the floor, making a mess of the entire room. But she made it through the first few days, and started kicking me out of the apartment. Indeed I could barely move, talk or breath. Every time I got off the chair I thought I would fall down. She told me to go for walks to get refreshed. After some moanings from my side, I started walking to a nearby market or a park and sight-see around the city again.
One day I went for a free tour. Kiev is a very green city, with 60% of the city still covered in trees, it's so romantic that apparently even the street signs fall in love (according to a statue).
We then saw a fountain, and if you stick the coin to some metal part and the coin sticks, it means your wish will come true. I didn't want to wish for something serious, because what will happen if the coin will not stick, so I just wished for no traffic for the next day :) Kiev traffic is crazy, it's there all the time, any time of day ... don't people work there? The wish did come true in deed! No traffic the next day! It's magic :)
This might be interesting for Russian people. In Russian there is a phrase "Chto upalo, to propalo" or in English "what's fallen is lost". Apparently it came from Kiev. Some time ago there was one road leading to Kiev. There was a tax for the horse and carriage, and the carriage owners started loading it to the maximum ... so much have they loaded it that often times stuff fallen from there, or the carriage broke completely. The city got smart and imposed a law that said that everything that falls off the carriage will be taken by the city.
There is a neighbourhood in Kiev where somebody wanted to build a tall condo, removing part of the park and blocking the view (I think). So the neighbourhood people got creative and started building statues there, and children's park and other cool stuff, and the condo project got cancelled :) Now it's a favourite hang out place in Kiev for artists and couples.
Next day I went to Lavra. When I got in, I saw that there are tours around and waited for it to start. Waited and waited, no people, no tour. I went into a small alley nearby not to lose sight of the tour meeting place, and what do you know, I see a guy from the free tour of the day before walking with some Ukrainian guy. Of course I joined them for an exploration of Lavra, and Alex invited me to go out that night with his friends. Then next night and next night, he was always calling me, showing me the city, inviting me to parties. Who knew that at that day, all the stars in the universe aligned for me to meet my angle, who saved me from all the horrors of Kiev, who made me smile again.
We went to a very cool bar "Palata #6", it's like a hospital bar. All the stuff are dressed as doctors. They serve shots from test-tubes. Then they have extreme cocktails (which have nothing to do with hospital), but they put a helmet on you, bang you with barrel, glue a napkin on the helmet, set it on fire, then extinguish it ... cool stuff! :)
Then we went to a couch surfing spring camp party. Party party party! I missed most of it cause I couldn't walk, talk, breath, and all I dreamt of was a bed. Went to one party, I got drunk just the right amount. Started dancing on a swing which was tons of fun, made friends with everyone there. I would just came to a person and ask them "Why are you sitting alone? Are you bored? Do you need company?" Next day we went to a football match, the first one in my life! Gosh I was so bored, I think it will be my last one as well. I looked at the pictures in my camera and read a newspaper for most of the match. There was a fan section right beside us, they were screaming, having their songs and mottos. At first it looked like fun, and I even wanted to join them, but then it worried me a bit, seemed like that's the way the Nazis were born. Following some stupid leader, believing in stupid causes.
There are May holidays in Ukraine when nothing works. I need to have a break ASAP, otherwise I'll end up in a mental hospital. I decided to travel around Ukraine for a bit. My first destination is Lviv, and all the hostels are fully booked, now I have to wait 3 more days to go. It seems that I can't wait any longer.
One day I tried going to a botanical garden, but it was windy, too far, and I ended up in a flower show. More people than flowers, and it wasn't worth it at all. Then I went to a war museum, but it would've been better to take a tour, cause it looked very impressive. Everybody is shocked from human skin gloves that that Nazis have. It is a shocking sight, but then I'm thinking, the gloves that we wear are from pig skin, or cow skin ... how is that not disturbing?
Next day went to Chirnigiv. It's a UNESCO declared world heritage center because of how many churches there are on such a small space. At the end, I just saw churches again, and spent 6 hours on buses to see them. No more churches!


pix added to : https://picasaweb.google.com/100036016632387453128/Kiev

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