So, we went to the Suzuki repairshop in Kiev and explained our problems to them and they turned out to be extremely helpfull. My bike was fixed in less than half an hour, but then it was time to look at Seb’s bike. Everybody knows that he always has to have the most difficult and unsolvable problems and now they even know it as far as Kiev.
There was a small leaking of the coolant on the bike so they threw everything open, but when they wanted to put it all back togheter again, they noticed that some parts wouldn’t fit anymore on the bike… oooopppss problem. They had to have some new rubbers to hold everything into place and that’s were the real problems began. Phonecalls were made all over the Ukraine, to all the locals dealers, but none of them had what we needed, hhhmmm. Ok, they said, no problem, you just order the parts in Belgium and let them send it over. When we asked why they couldn’t order them straight away with the main dealer in Europe, they told us they could, but it would take at least 3 weeks before they would get everything…. Talking about bureaucracy!
After a lot of texting with Mike Logistics (he turns out to be worth all the money we pay him ;-)) he got it fixed that a local dealer in Belgium would order the parts and send them over as soon as possible (but even this would take at least 4 days).
By then we had been at the workshop for over 9 hours and we had gotten to know the mechanics really well even though they only spoke a few word of English. Ivan, the salesguy, had even taken some pictures of our bikes to put them on his Ukranian Facebook page. Late in the afternoon Kyrill showed up having seen the pictures already. He turned out to be a doctor and he spoke fluent English so that helped to explain the last few difficulties we had. He even went to a local dealer to get us some new innertubes because we were stuck at the workshop at that time. We can’t say enough how wonderful all these guys were to us…!
The guys from Suzuki had such pity with us that they ordered pizza and arranged for us to take the night train from Kiev to Simferopol to at least be able to relax a bit close to the sea side while we would be waiting on our parts. Kyrill did a short drive by Kiev at night to show us some places and dropped us off at the trainstation.
The train ride was a whole life changing experience. The trains in Ukraine are much higher than the ones in Belgium and now we know why… they must have super big suspensions because the train kept bobbing up and down the whole night long. We were lucky to be in the last car of the train so it was nice and quiet and we made sure to stock up on food just before we left. The ride took 14,5 hours but runs like clockwork and not like in Thailand where they say you will arrive at a certain time but actually arive at least 2 to 3 hours later… When we got off the train at Symferopol, Rusel, also a Ukranian biker, was waiting for us to show us to the bus. Because we still had to take a bus from Simferopol to Alushta, a small town next to the Black Sea. How cool is that? The guy just comes all the way to the trainstation to bargain a good price for us for the bus to Alushta and off he goes… we met him for not even 5 minutes… Bikerheart is all over Ukraine!
The guys from Suzuki had told us that when we would get off of the bus, there would be a lot of older woman with signs and we just had to get up to them and ask for a price… Eeeuuhhmm, I would never do this in Belgium because I would be sure to get a smack in my face, but they aparantly sell a room in their home were tourists can stay. The only problem we had was that we didn’t speak Ukrainian or Russian, but not to worry, Seb studied some phrases and asked in his best Russian if the woman still had a room availabe, the woman sure enough understood Seb and said : Da! Ok, now the tricky part, Seb managed to ask in Russian how much the room was for one day…. Even this she understood and she was kind enough to tell us the price…in Russian! Screwed as we were, all the other woman were finding this spectacle very amusing and were gathering all around us. Everybody wanted to speak to us and ask us all sorts of questions, off course all were in Russian, to we understood nothing and just smiled (oh, this actually works you know). In the end there was one woman who just took us with her to her place, showed us a spare room, gave us a key to her flat and Skyped her daughter so she could explain to us in English how much we had to pay! Such a great experience and extremely cheap. We have our own room, a hot shower, a nice kitchen were we can cook our meals and a key to come and go as we please.
It is funny how Ukrainians keep speaking to you even though they know that you understand nothing of what they are saying. They just hope that in the whole waterfall of words you can pick up something and they are so extremely friendly towards foreigners that it is amazing that they don’t have more tourists coming over. So now we are here for 2 more days and then we’ll start getting to Kiev again, in the hope that the spares have arrived with DHL by then and that the bike is fixed so we can finally continue… !