Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Country side trip

My parents visited me for a week. We wanted to rent a car and go to the country side and see some old villages but none of us were very fond of driving here. But then my parents met some very helpful people at a party and the guy Victor arranged the grand Ukrainian tour for us. He also lent us his driver who came to pick us up in a black Chevy.

I sent my parents to a party at Stargorod and they brought back this sing-a-long book. I guess I should have known that entertainment in Ukraine means naked women. But my father did not seem to mind and when the six o'clock strip show was well over my mother also ended up dancing on the tables.

Traffic. I think the only rule here is that you should try to avoid pot holes and other slaloming cars.

These are my parents. They were also very fascinated by Ukraine.

The country side here is very brown. In Denmark farmers always at least keep some grass on the fields to keep the fertilizers from polluting the ground water but environmental issues are not a first concern here.

We stopped at this 'Kolkhoz', a collective farm, there were around 15-20 buildings similar to this one. In the 1930s the Soviet forced all Ukrainian farmers together in these places to work for the government. They wanted to make a quick industrialization of the Ukrainian cities so they took a lot of grain from the farmers and exported it to get money for machines. But the farms were not functioning so they did not produce enough and that way around 5 to 10 million people died from starvation during the early thirties. I think this is maybe even more scary than Holocaust, not just because even more people may have been killed, but also because it was not based on hatred but on what some people thought was a good idea.

The collective farmers were practically working as slaves but they were allowed to have small personal fields like this. These fields were functioning a lot better than the collective fields and from that they got their main income.

Here the kids are still using physical violence. This boy got his ass kicked and now he is trying some stone throwing instead.

This is one typical village. All the places have big fences and dogs barking.

I guess the dogs and fences are there to protect their vegetables. History probably has had a role in creating that protective mentality but I think home food production also is important for some families to survive.

Here old people are also selling pickles.

Our driver was a very religious man and he also liked flowers, when he saw this place he immediately stopped. But then the green Lada pulled up and a man in a matching military outfit came out to explain us the 'no-no rule'.

I find this quite aesthetic. It is for watering plants at a small botanical garden.

This is a church yard inside a forest. Many of the graves have tables and benches by them. I wonder if they are there for family picnics or if they are imagining that the ghosts of dead people will use it.

We ended up at a sort of resort area near a small river. There were cottages for rent and in the front there was this restaurant. As always when things get a little fancy in Ukraine it has to have some silly theme.

This is another restaurant nearby where we ate 'true Ukrainian' style. Victor told the waitress by phone what he thought we should eat.

Victor thought some different sorts of sweet vodka would suit the food. The one with almond flavour was quite good, a bit like Dr. Pepper. We also tried different sorts of pickled mushrooms and borsch and some rösti which Ukrainians think they invented.

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