When I was on the Trans-Siberian Railway in 2014, I was offered a “free” trip to Kiev, Ukraine. I met several Americans on the first part of my journey. We drank bad vodka, warm beer, and bad food each evening. A lady from Michigan was kind enough to share her car and driver from my hotel in downtown Vladivostok to the train station. After four or five days, we arrived in Irkutsk, the gateway to Lake Baikal. It turns out we were scheduled to share the car and driver, as well as same hotel.
After having a few more meals together, and an excursion around Baikal, she asked me if I wanted to travel to Kiev, after we arrived in Moscow. I think you know my answer, but you must read the entire story.
She proceeds to tell me she was trapped in Beirut in 2006 when the war broke out. She was in the best hotel, the name of which escapes me. She said everyone was “fighting” to get in, and she ended up sharing her room with another American woman.
What I failed to tell you was that she and the other woman were told to stay UNDER the bed at ALL times! They could see and hear the soldiers outside, the bombs blasting, the gunfire, and the sirens, all night long.
So, as she is telling me this harrowing take, she is also telling me that Ukraine is safe! Plus, she said they would let me in without a visa since I had a Russian visa!
After a few days, a cease fire was declared, and the police got her to the Beirut airport.
Why would I want to subject myself to the possibility of a replay?
These are not the real photos, but very similar to what she shared with me. Needless to say, I declined, and got back on the Trans Siberian after another night in Irkutsk.