Mainstage at Kazantip

Kazantip, Popovka, Ukraine

Every now and again on an adventure like this you’re bound to find yourself wondering what the hell it is you’ve gotten yourself into and how you’re gonna get yourself out. Those were my exact thoughts this morning as I sat in the Ukrainian police station being arrested for impersonating a police officer. The explanation for why we had a red flashing police light in the car was simple and innocent (it’s just there for the pics) but to a crooked Ukrainian cop it’s a tempting invitation to scare the crap out of us with threats of years in a Ukrainian prison. It’s of course a big game and every word they utter is designed to increase the size of the inevitable bribe they’re slowly working towards. The price tag for this episode was “everything you got” which fortunately came out to just 52 euros after all pockets were emptied in front of them. Because the police stops here are purely random (not based on doing anything wrong), it’s a nearly impossible game to avoid. You avoid it by not ever driving in Ukraine, or by avoiding Ukraine completely, and that’s exactly our advice to you.

The Black Sea Run finished on Saturday night with an amazing closing party at the Kazantip music festival. Every year the worlds best electronic DJ’s descend on Kazantip for a week-long beach festival that attracts many of Russia’s most rich and beautiful (think of it as a place where Russian beauty meets Russian oligarch beast). It’s an amazing spectacle of light and sound, and the eclectic vibe is impossible to describe for those who haven’t been here, but it’s completely unfiltered fun and a great way to wrap up the rally. Hope the pics can do it some justice.

We enter our final days in Crimea now where we’re relaxing with our friend Jimmy Swift who is the rally organizer and who will be joining us on Tamarisk where the three of us return to next Tuesday. Jimmy’s been talking up his fishing skills and researching bait/hook combinations for the western Med, so we can’t wait to see him try this out. We are saying goodbye to Ukraine with mixed feelings for the place and all it’s road bumps, corrupt cops, pickled dishes, and other quirks. We’re craving a little civilization after the last couple weeks but I got a funny kind of feeling this won’t be our last visit to the place we call the “wild wild east”.

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