Friday, September 28, 2007

The End

This is the end. On Monday I will go back to Denmark. I hope you have not been too embarrassed for me or offended by the things I write. Thanks for reading, whoever you are.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wrap up

These are some miscellaneous pictures which I did not find a good reason to post.

The drinking building. Probably not the most safe place to be waltzing about drunk, but if you survive all the way to the top there is a beautiful view of Kharkov's city lights.

A party at Misto. Martin is rapping and no-one has an idea what he is rapping about.

Kyryl walking on dead people. The Youth Park used to be a cemetery but the Soviet people - who were not too fond of religious stuff - decided to make a park instead and they left the grave stones of some famous people. This park is not very popular.

Russian Jeep, Lada Niva. If I needed a car I would buy one of these.

In the back you can see a half naked man with a baseball bat. He parked his big car across the track of the tram and he was somehow infuriated by the fact that some people would like to have the tram pass. Maybe it was some strange way for him to show off for his girlfriend in the car.

The Shevchenko theater where I went to see a play of Kharkovian Andrey Zholdak. He makes some very modern sort of 'picturesque' theater without speech (but a lot of screaming and strange sounds), quite cool actually and theater itself is also nice.

This is the equipment they use to fix the pavements, no wonder they are so uneven.

The old Soviet 'shopping universe', has a quite special atmosphere.

"Napoleon called me one day and said that he's missing Kharkov. So I invited him, of course, for a couple cups of tea." This is part of a very long wall with some graffiti which was probably requested, they also painted pictures from post cards showing tourist attractions of European cities. Of the more technically advanced graffiti in Kharkov I think all of it was requested, with so many police men around you online have time to write your name illegally.

The Hi-Fi Club which has good loud speakers but no guests.

The children's institute of puppet theater..

One more demonstration beneath my apartment, when they are not making noise there are some loud speakers constantly playing Russian chanson (the equivalent of American gangsta rap, one popular chanson singer is Michael Klug). All the people around the edges are police people.

Gorky park in the evening, a cosy place to go roller skating.

Some buses, a church and a meat commercial.

This is a cool old Soviet lunch cafe which Semen showed me.

One of my favorite pictures, from the meat hall at the central market. I use it as a wallpaper on my computer desktop.

At one super market you can buy various sorts of weapons.

The market of used books, it is open every weekend. I was told that this street is packed with homeless people in the night, but I never normally see homeless people, I think.

This is a sort of sports center, the front of the building looks very good.

Here the circuses don't travel around with their tents, every city has a building like this and so they just travel between buildings. Very convenient I guess. I regret that I did not go to see a circus performance there. I also regret that I did not go see a match at the football stadium.

You don't have to go far from the center before houses start looking like this, actually it reminds me of many back yards in the center.

Some old arcade machines in the gaming hall at the zoo.

This is close to where Roman and Marina live, at that time there were these tents with people selling water melons everywhere.

Water delivery service. This is a place next to our new office where they sometimes also sell vegetables, delivered by Lada directly from some one's dacha.

Ice cream. In Ukraine you can use as a sales argument that something contains 19 percents of fat, in Denmark that would be like saying "don't buy this".

One weekend I was playing basket with Sasha and his friends near the place where he and Vika lives.

Sasha and Vika also got married recently.

This is from the giant Barabashova 'clothes-and-everything-else market'.

Barabashova also.

This is where the very important people go.

Kyryl going for water. This was the day of Ivan and Natasha's wedding.

Lots of drunk teenagers. Jakob made this picture from the big square on one of the many celebration days. Several meters behind him there were even more people and then the stage where I think a guy from Talking Heads was performing.

The big square after a celebration. They always start cleaning right away.

When going to a sauna here you have to wear funny hats (I also did that at the dacha with Roman and Marina).

That's the opera again. I am still wondering what these architects where thinking/drinking.

One of the omnipresent shooting tents. At this tent you are shooting at a screen showing a movie with a lightly dressed woman.

Scary children mannequins at the very big children's accessories store in the center of Kharkov.

The military school near our new office. Every day we can here them marching by, shouting 'one, to, three'.

One typical, very cosy back yard.

Bottle hunters.

Pimped up Lada.

Beautiful cakes, I am going to miss you.

Funny little car.

A weekend at the cascade, meaning lots of wedding photo sessions.

This building also looks pretty from the front.

Scruffy little dogs, never touch them.

Stargorod. Yet another place where the entertainment is provided by lightly dressed women. It is a cool place because you can get Czech knödel and home brewn beer.

This weekend they have a new election and so for some days these kids have been standing all the way up Sumskaya promoting one of the parties. I wonder if this is a good picture for the voters, to show how many people they can buy to do stupid work for a cause they really don't seem to care about.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ukrainian girls

For many people who come to Ukraine the girls are actually one of the main attractions. I admit the subject has also caught my attention a few times. I know a girl who gets in contact with many of the (few) Americans and Italians who visit Kharkov for pleasure and they tell her that they come for 'cheap prices and beautiful girls'. I am not to judge what is beautiful but many girls in the streets are definitely dressing in a very feminine way. Even though Kharkov's sidewalks can be quite 'uneven' - not to say full of holes - and even though surprisingly many girls work with computers (keyboards), the standard outfit of these girls include high heels and long nails, and often also a very short skirt and a lot of make up. To an American like Tom this is especially unusual, he says that some clothes which are normal here no-one in America would be wearing but prostitutes. So for some foreigners it may seem that Ukrainian girls are very promiscuous but for what I can judge it is not the case, like many things in Ukraine the way girls are treated and act is in fact a bit old fashioned. Like in Denmark some years ago men and women have each their specific roles. I guess women have to be good cooks because practically none of the Ukrainian guys I have met have any idea about cooking (which especially shows when I am discussing with my colleagues the quality of cooking in the various cafes we are visiting). However, all money issues are for the guys to handle. I remember one time we were in a taxi with a girl in front and (old) Jeppe handed the girl some money to pay the driver, the Ukrainians found this quite peculiar.

One thing I found hard to get used to is that even though Ukrainian guys are very fond of shaking hands you will usually never shake hands with a girl. And some times I have seen Ukrainian guys almost blush if someone mistakenly (or some dumb foreigner) is swearing when a woman is overhearing. One other thing I find somewhat old fashioned is the way that many guys and even girls are often talking/dreaming about cars. I think a nice car and some flowers from one of Kharkov's very numerous flower shops can considerably increase one's popularity with some Ukrainian girls.

As for the way Ukrainian girls dress I guess it is also somewhat similar to the way girls used to be dressing in Denmark 30-40 years ago. However I don't think it has ever been so sexually explicit as here. I think only ever will it be normal in Ukraine to have half naked girls dancing on the stages in regular clubs. And I think it could only be here that I would work in an IT company where several of the female employees practise strip tease as a hobby. I wonder why that is, if it has anything to do with the main Western cultural influence on Ukraine being soft porn R&B music videos.

There is one girl with an interesting outfit.

I would have liked to show more pictures of Ukrainian girls, but it is rude to make pictures of strangers. So instead this is a picture from the giant Barabashova 'clothes-and-everything-else market', it shows the different lengths of skirts the girls can choose from, not much of a selection really.

Shoes seem to be a good place to apply some bling bling.