We reach the Ukrainian border city of Kharkiv (called Harkov by Russians) at 3:00 a.m. The border guards and customs officials are pretty efficient; within half an hour all the passengers' passports and visas have been processed, and the train is allowed to proceed.
We travel south for three hours, until we arrive at Pavlohrad (Pavlograd to Russians). We stop for only two minutes at this major railway junction in the west Donets Basin then continue southwest to Sinelikovo (another two-minute stop) and finally arrive at Zaporizhzhya (or Zaporozhe) at 7:32 a.m.
I am surprised to find that it is drizzling, not snowing (the weather must be warmer). Mukunda das Brahmachari and Gandharva Devi Dasi are at the station to meet us, with garlands. We get a taxi to the new Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Seva Ashram in the center of the city.
The ashram is an apartment in one of the better areas, surrounded by upscale stores, pedestrian walkways and a fresh produce market; it is the biggest apartment I have ever been in in Russia or the Ukraine. The temple room has a big picture of the deities in Saint Petersburg, Sri Sri Radha Madhavasundar. Nice.
Many of the devotees I met on my last trip are at the ashram: Gopeshwar Prabhu and Yuteshwari Devi dasi, Ishwar Prabhu, and Lavanya Devi dasi. There are also some new initiates: Swarupananda Prabhu and Yudhamanyu Prabhu (that Avadhut Maharaj!) and Ishwari Devi Dasi.
We have a public program in the afternoon with many guests. It is nice to have our own center and not have to rent a hall.