Month: December 2009 (Page 1 of 2)

Mall Dova, Moldova. Part 1

Snaps from 7 days in Moldova…

See them on Flickr HERE.

Eddy.
PS. I love the anonymous comment on the post below. I can’t think of a single more appropriate word. Well said …whoever you are

Posted from: www.bearder.com

learn to pay, pay to learn…

I was talking on the phone with my friend from eastern Ukraine on the train from Kiev. She’s fluent in English and (like a lot of students here) has a talent for languages and an even greater talent for talking. However, hard-work, fluency and knowledge are no guarantee to passing exams in Ukraine. Her professor had failed all students who refused to pay the requested back-hander. Of course, she could complain and lose her place at the Uni or cough-up, shut-up, suffer the financial hardship and leave Ukraine as soon as possible to study her MA elsewhere. Resigned to this reality she was correcting this ‘misunderstanding’ with the required number of grivna whilst I waited on the phone, musing over the irony of the fact she’s talking to me (an Englishman, in English) while paying to pass her English language exam …which she had undoubtedly, already passed!

TOL have a good article in the subject HERE.
and in Russian HERE.

Posted from: www.bearder.com

Hats of to Larry!

Whoa, it’s cold here. “Minus 20” my ‘taksi’ driver told me in his best English at 7am this morning. I laughed but I wasn’t impressed as he’d just used absence of heat extort a higher then necessary taxi fare from me – he knew full-well that idea of walking 10 minutes to the metro was worse than paying an extra 10 grivna.

My (very warm) two-bed ‘lux’ room has plastic flowers and a TV. I don’t understand Russian/Ukrainian drama but the bed is comfy.

It’s a little boring because I have almost 15 hours to kill before I get to Chisinau in Moldova (and snow-covered fields are getting a little tedious) but I have chocolate, dried fish, an orange and water ‘without-gas’. It’s snowing a blizzard outside and we just pulled up next to some graffiti that says “Mad lady from Vinnista” (in English). I’ve only been to Vinnitsa once (I changed trains here when I came to Moldova in March) but I guess this refers to the girl who likes to dress as a fairy.

I’ve been invited to Moldova to attend an ELDR sponsored conference, hosted by Moldova Noastra on the topic of EU expansion. Currently form part of a fragile coalition liberal government that came to power after a botched election turned nasty in April and the so-called ‘twitter revolution’ and its revolutionaries (or other provocateurs) stormed the Parliament and Presidential buildings. A re-run of the election in July removed the Communist party majority and offered a small but essential chance for democratic and administrative change in Moldova, However, the small minority coalition may be in trouble as they don’t have the constitutionally required majority to elect a president. The communists are playing hardball and the outcome of this saga is still unclear. The deadline for a deal has passed and if nothing changes, Moldova will be forced into another expensive and awkward election – the 3rd in a year. All this comes at a bad time for Moldova who, like Ukraine face the dual evils of financial crisis and political instability.

Anyway, I’ll post some post-conference news and snow-covered updates from Moldova later…

Eddy

Posted from: www.bearder.com

It’s leather and fur time…

You must have a browser that supports iframes to view the BBC weather forecast

…no place for a bald guy.

Posted from: www.bearder.com

Sleeping in the salad.

Apparently, sleeping in the salad (yes you read that correctly) is, as I learnt today, something of a Ukrainian tradition and (get this) it’s also a benchmark for quality!

Using this sliding-salad-scale as a guide, a Ukrainian wedding is only judged to have been a success if at least one person has ‘slept in their salad’. A full-scale pajama party in the potato and mayonnaise is complete marital bliss.

There are even ‘good’ and ‘bad’ salads for sleeping in with ‘Olivye salad’ being widely regarded as the best. I have absolutely no desire to try but if anyone else want to rustle-up some veg and try this, feel free to report back …and send me pictures

I love this place.

Anyway, it’s currently -10 here in Kiev and set to get colder so if I go a little quiet …I’ve probably frozen to a pavement somewhere.

Eddy.

PS. I’d personally consider any wedding ‘a success’ if goes something like this…

Posted from: www.bearder.com

BBC Reports from Ukraine

The World This Weekend at 1pm tomorrow (Saturday 13th of December) comes to you from Kiev.

Ukraine doesn’t appear on the BBC radar very often so it’ll be interesting to see what they say.

Posted from: www.bearder.com

You have a face like a Ukrainian escalator watcher

We don’t have these at home, just a panic button that anyone can jump-on, but here in Ukraine panic and escalator control are trusted to a single full-time employed escalator watcher.

Maybe this has something to do with the fact that Metros are so deep in Kiev that you actually pass through the core of the earth but, they sit in a little box at the bottom of the escalator and watch it.

As you’d expect, this isn’t exciting work and it shows on their face. I often wonder is they are actually awake or even alive or if they’ve slipped into unconsciousness with their eyes open. It must be possible to do and let’s face it they have plenty of time to try. I suppose it could be good work for philosophers. Maybe they are philosophers? They’re not bored, they’re just braining the worlds most complex problems. Bored looking future Shestovs

If want a taster of how boring this job must be you can waste 5 minutes watching this video BUT I warn you now, it’s five minutes of your life that you’ll never get back…

Be patient and you’ll see one of these ‘watchers’ at the end she’s there in her box. I wonder if it pays well?

Posted from: www.bearder.com

Is it a boy? is it a bear? is it a little-boy dressed as a bear with elephants ears?….

no, it’s a Cheburashka!


I don’t collect stamps, but I want this one.

Tonight in Kyiv there’s a ‘Balkan’ festival. This would be hell-on-earth for my Romainian/Serbian/Italian friend Andreja/Andrei/Mario but, it’s made me happy. Tonight is the outstanding (and amusing) Emir Kusturica’s No Smoking Orchestra

Posted from: www.bearder.com

Is it a boy? is it a bear? is it a little-boy dressed as a bear with elephants ears?….

no, it’s a Cheburashka!


I don’t collect stamps, but I want this one.

Tonight in Kyiv there’s a ‘Balkan’ festival. This would be hell-on-earth for my Romainian/Serbian/Italian friend Andreja/Andrei/Mario but, it’s made me happy. Tonight is the outstanding (and amusing) Emir Kusturica’s No Smoking Orchestra

Posted from: www.bearder.com

Wednesday 3rd December – Kiev.

Some snaps from cloudy Kiev…

Translated, the last picture (the billboard) reads ARSE. It’s an intentional play on his surname as, he’s a Politician and it’s election season here. It’s a shame ‘Cameron’ doesn’t shorten anything similar.

Eddy

Posted from: www.bearder.com

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