Day 2 Part 1

(Hotel Chernobyl: My side of the room is on the left. It's neat because my pile of junk is on the couch in the other room)

Day 2 begins at 6:00am with assembly in the parking lot. Amazingly, I am the first person down.

(Hotel Chernobyl; actually quarters for guest technicians, which we are) (Google map)

There is one hostel in Chernobyl; this is it. The city of Chernobyl has a small population, mostly military, who maintain the reactor area and oversee recycling the vast amounts of metal scrap.

(Breakfast at the canteen in Chernobyl) (Google map)

Breakfast: pasta and liver, with crudites. I feel a bit bad for not cleaning my plate but, seriously, the food is not what I am accustomed to. I feel especially bad about
my reaction to the food because I know it's probably at the high end of what everyone else here eats, and I'm picking at it trying to choke down enough of it to keep me going for the day. What actually keeps me going: I have 3 1-lb bags of peanut M&Ms in my alice pack: carbs and fat compressed into a small space, washed down with red bull and water. As we walked over to the canteen for breakfast there was some joking about eggs benedict or belgian waffles but the joking stopped pretty quickly.

We grabbed our packs, cameras, and girded our loins then loaded into the van.

(The creepy kids' camp)

Our first destination for the day was the kids' camp at Pripyat. It was a summer destination of little cabins built and decorated by the kids. At one point it must have been a place of happy memories, play, and adventure. Now it's a creepy wasteland of falling-down buildings, with odd paintings done by the kids.

(The radiation level at the kids' camp is about the same as the whole Pripyat area)

The only time, so far, that the rad-meter has decided to beep was when we drove right past Reactor #4. (I'll get to that later) and once in the basement of the hospital in Pripyat (I'll get to that, too) so the base level is 10 times what it is in Kiev, or 20 times what it is in Chicago.

(Mr badger goes a'huntin'!)

(Birds nesting in shoes in abandoned locker)

The kids' camp is just an introduction to the day. We load back in the van and head for our next destination.