Have just arrived at our ‘Eastern’ office and contemplating the last 24 hours.
The journey from London to Kharkov is not particularly far, but a little wearing. A 3am wakeup to get to Heathrow for the first flight out for Vienna, and then on to Kharkov with Austrian Airlines – who are the only western airline to fly to the Ukraine’s second largest city. Arriving at Kharkov is like a step back in time, broken planes by the runway and a terminal that is straight out of World War 2.
I’ve done the journey a few times and it’s always a ‘roll-of-the-dice’ – the connection at Vienna is tight (so luggage not making it is a real possibility), customs/passport control in Kharkov can be interesting to say the least. We had a brief scare when the customs found the Mac Mini that we were bringing in, but the language barrier worked in our favour this time and the guy couldn’t be bothered it seemed to try and tax us (or bribe us). We were in.
We took two cars to the appartment for reasons I’ve not quite established. Cars here don’t generally have seat belts in the back and the roads themselves are treacherous. Massive potholes everywhere and drivers swerve to avoid them with no hope of any warning. We saw one accident on the short drive and I’ve seen many others.
Our first order of business was to stock up on food and…. er… vodka! Four grown men heading round the supermarket each with their own trolley was a sight to behold. We got so much ‘food’ in the end that only two people could fit in Dmitry’s rather diminutive car. Toby and Eugene walked home, I pulled rank.
We spent the evening settling in to our rented appartment, visiting our neighbours downstairs and generally catching up with our host and old friend Eugene.
This morning we woke up to… no hot water! I had a sneaky feeling this might be an issue. When in Rome…
Took the bus and subway into central Kharkov this morning. The bus cost 15p (30 cents) and the subway 7p. We worked out that the bus is 7 times more expensive in London and the tube is 60 times more expensive!
A short walk from the metro and we were at our new rented office. It’s from here that we’ll spend the next two weeks planning the next few months worth of development for WorldTV.
As mentioned in my previous post you can follow all these shenanigans on Twitter – my tweets are here, Toby’s here and official WorldTV tweets here. I’m also doing live mobile phone videos using Qik and there’s an archive of all the videos so far.
Am probably not going to do tons of blog posts since the above options are way easier. Funny how Twitter really is lowering the incentive to blog. Much less friction.
Incidentally, I still can’t make up my mind about Qik’s Twitter notification feature. At the moment I’ve got it on but it would be nice to set a custom default message instead of the ‘I’m streaming live right now come chat’. I always forget to control it from the phone (which is possible).