"...It is recommended that you take with you documents, indispensable items, and also, in the first case, foodstuffs. Directors of businesses and other institutions should identify a group of workers to stay in their places to assure normal functioning. All homes under evacuation will be guarded by the militia. Comrades, temporarily leaving your home, don't forget, please, to close windows, turn off electrical and gas appliances, and close water pipes. You are asked to keep calm [unintelligible] ... and order during the course of the temporary evacuation."
The people of Pripyat left their apartments assuming they would be back soon, not knowing that most would never see their homes again (save for the lucky few Sasha has helped).
Pripyat is now a real Ukrainian ghost town. Abandoned vehicles, too irradiated to leave the zone, are strewn about. The hottest vehicles are in grave sites outside the city. While looters and scavengers have ravaged the town, some evidence of daily life remains.
Pripyat was readying itself for the May Day holidays; a warehouse still houses large portraits of Party leaders for the celebration. Other evidence of the celebration-to-be is scattered about town. Some objects have been placed in unusual locations, like this musical instrument in a phone booth. Trees grow everywhere, from the pavement and even from the top floor of the local hotel. Climbing to the hotel's observation deck led us through debris-covered floors and stairwells, with peeling paint, broken furniture, wires, and other detritus. I have posted several Pripyat photos below.
The post-apocalyptic landscape was dominated by the sounds of nothing.
The eerie silence was broken only by our footsteps on shattered bits of glass and wood. It was also broken in a surreal moment when Erik's phone rang with a call from Victor. It is hard to believe, but in an abandoned city ravaged by a great catastrophe 21 years ago, Erik got a cell phone signal.
Pripyat was our last stop on the Chornobyl adventure. After eating a meal together in Chornobyl - with food imported from outside the Zone - we returned to Kyiv. Erik went to the train station for his second consecutive night on the train, arriving in L'viv on Tuesday morning.