Sunday, 20 November 2011

I become a dental tourist

Tuesday 25th October
Now that Rowena has left me, the photos on the road will be mainly of ears again. Here I am riding along one of the amazing cobbled roads that I increasingly seem to encounter. Sometimes they have been tarmaced over, which I am shamefully grateful for as the cobbles are incredibly slippery for the horses, and I either have to ride at the side of the road, or get off and lead.

I am also now encountering the occasional horse and cart, and almost always stop for chat in halting Russian - generally ' What a beautiful horse' which is usually true and makes everyone happy. The horses are always driven in open bridles, in other words without blinkers as horses generally are in Britain. The cart shown here is very typical.

We have continued to have problems with our map book which is only indicative of what to expect - here is Hua asking the way at the edge of a village when a road marked on the map has mysteriously disappeared on the ground.....

I had planned to take a more cross country route to Uman, but partly due to these map quirks, and also dire warnings from locals about the state of the road ahead - Kaput!! we were firmly told at one point - we decided to follow the main road via Kirovograd.

In fact this proved to be a good decision, not only because there was a wide verge almost all the way ... ...... but because I developed tooth ache, and was able to go the dentist in Kirovograd, one of the few large towns in the area. It was a little worrying that the dentist just happened to be an old classmate of my taxi driver, particularly when we arrived at a rather unprepossessing block of flats. But the surgery was well equipped, though the skull in the middle of the floor was a bit unnerving, as was the way the dentist leant across my chest to examine my mouth. However he soon had a filling in, and all for a bargain £13!

Then it was off towards Uman, but not without a further delay. This time it was Hua - who managed to get stuck in a village while fetching water. After being towed out by tractor, he was so overexhilerated that he ran straight into a rock and damaged almost the whole of one side of the lorry. Luckily nothing too serious, but it necessitated a detour to a nearby town where the dents were hammered out at a repair shop - the photo below with a shame-faced Hua is taken after some of the hammering ..
...... and they fitted a new accumulator whatever that is and removed the cracked water container for the windscreen washers. But we can no longer open the passenger door. Heigh Ho.

On the road from Kirovograd to Uman

A roadside 'cafe' selling a sort of rural Ukrainian version of pizza slices, and packet coffee - hence the thermos of hot water. Not very enticing, but hey one has to make a living somehow.

I have now arrived at Uman to a warm welcome from Andrei and crew at the showjumping stables. The outfit is very plush as you can see from the photo above of the indoor riding school.

One of the 'team' here, Nicolai, or Colai for short, has very kindly given us the use of his flat. This has been highly appreciated in the circumstances as my toothache problem did not go away, and today I went to the dentist again - this time recommended by our Uman hosts and infinitely more professional. Extraction was advised and efficiently done, again for a ridiculous fee - this time for about £12 including injection, so I am now an official dental tourist.


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