From Baltic to the Black Sea #7

Simferopol, Ukraine
5 September 1999

Dear All,

I had a very enjoyable but tiring three days in Crimea, not just from the sightseeing, but also from the drinking and toasting Russian (Russian because most people in Crimea are ethnic Russians) style (to Health, to Women, to Crimea, to Singapore, etc). In fact, I am a litttttle drunk now…with all that fine Crimean wine.

We (Eugene, plus a pretty female student of his, and me) drove along the beautiful southern Crimean coast (including site of the infamous Yalta conference), spent the night partying (mild) with a group of archaeologists from Kiev and Moscow, at the ancient Greek city of Chersoneses at Sebastopol. Again, more drinking and toasting.

Today, we visited the city of Sebastopol, site of the famous Crimean War siege, WWII Hero City, and the Black Sea Fleet (anyone want photos of the Russian fleet with warships and submarines? They will go to the highest bidder). Also visited the previously secret submarine base at Balaklava – also site of the Charge of the Light Brigade. More cave cities and amazing natural sights. Plus great Tatar and Central Asian food at roadside cafes.

I am now back at Eugene’s home. Will visit the Genoese Sudak Fort tomorrow. Crimea is fantastic – highly recommended for anyone, if you are not intimidated by the paperwork – will tell later on. Tomorrow evening, I will take an overnight train to Odessa, the famous port and city of arts and culture. One night there, and then proceed to the Republic of Moldova. You may hear from me again, either from Odessa or Moldova. Until then, see you guys…


Wee Cheng