Rich Galen

We ended up not far from our hotel, The Grand Hotel, which is very typical of hotels in Eastern Europe that don't have the word Hilton, Hyatt, or Marriott in their titles. They are very evocative of the era of Grand Dukes and too-closely intermarried royalty throughout Europe and Russia: The uniforms are neat, cleaned, and pressed, but there's not much doing inside.

My room was very serviceable, but tiny. I mean tiny. So tiny that the bathroom was actually larger. But, as I was only in it to sleep, it was fine.

There is also a photo of the outside of The Grand Hotel on the Secret Decoder Ring page.

Ukraine is a relatively new democracy whose roots are far deeper in Tsars, Führers, and Communist dictators, than in the American style of democracy we will show off to the world next week.

But the Ukrainians are trying. They appeared - at least in the places we visited - to take this election seriously, and the people with whom we spoke were proud of their gains, however modest they might be.

As to that other election being held next Tuesday - I'll be back on Eastern Time tomorrow; God, Delta, and Hurricane Sandy willing, and we'll start our count-down to the finish then.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at