Monday, March 26, 2012

From the Streets of Rostov-on-Don

So what's new here? I like to ask Irina the produce vendor. And where's it from?

These tangerines from Turkey, she tells me. That's just south of here, across the Black Sea. I've done that trip too and I do have stories. But these tangerines were probably kept in the dark the whole trip, in a safe place and here they are.

The strawberries are from Greece, just one time zone west. If  these strawberries could talk, imagine the sights they've seen in recent days. Say Howdy to Irina,  the produce vendor. Guessing that her mind is far, far away. . . she's probably dreaming about watermelon season. But now, she asking 100 rubles for this cup of strawberries. Divide that by 30-ish rubles to the dollar and we can agree that imported strawberries are indeed a special treat.

The pomegranates are from Abkhazia, just to the south of here and part of the former Soviet Union. This fruit is packed full of good stuff but you knew that of course. And here's two easy ways to open a rascally pomegranate.

At Rostov Kino it's show time!

Watch with Us, the sign says. Just for fun, let's translate these first and then see if they match up with what's showing in theaters in the US. from left, John Carter, Snow White and the Revenge of the Gnomes then there's (some word indistinguishable?) Love. On the far right, that could be Tenderness or maybe Delicacy or possibly Affection. Do I even dare to check the real titles of these? Well yes, I did dare - and, this is fun - the English title for the Snow White film is Mirror, Mirror. Good choice to change that title in the Russian version because otherwise it would Зеркало, зеркало (ZERK-a-lo, ZERK-a-lo), considerably less enchanting.

Rounding out our report from the street is our sister Frieda with an advertisement for Beeline mobile network provider, my provider of choice, just FYI. Thing is, both Frieda and my language teacher poo-poo the grammar in that advertisement. They're both purists, language-wise and don't want anybody messing with the King's English, Tzar's Russian. Share the sunrise here, the heading says. And at 14 rubles/day, that works for me, grammatical or nyet.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Minding Her Own Knitting

Now here's a new spin on outdoor sports. This day was well below freezing. And look at this lady, knitting a sweater of all things.

I felt called to stop and question her about that. And take her photograph. I was concerned that she was homeless and had nowhere to knit except for the bench. But no, she's fine, hands aren't too cold. She was just waiting for her husband and what better thing to do than knit a few rows.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Setting Goals: How High Is Unrealistic?

Setting high goals is a good thing, of course, but how high is too high? It was this apartment building in Kiev, Ukraine that got me to wondering.

Do you see anything that seems out of place here? (Click to enlarge.) If only there had been direct sunlight, if only this had been captured with a high-resolution camera versus a cell phone, the oddity might have grabbed you, too. Take a look at the 5th floor balcony. That whiteness there is no satellite dish.

We see there a very high goal, a goal set unrealistically high, IMHO.

Call me legalistic, something we first-borns tend to be, but basketball goals supposed to be 10 feet off the playing surface. And this one's, what, maybe 40 feet? That's what I call aiming for the sky. Can't help wonder the story here. . .

Made me wonder if perhaps a certain Leonid Stadnyk lives there. As you might have jotted down somewhere, he's the Ukrainian man once listed by Guinness as the tallest man in the world, at 8 foot, 4 inches. But nyet, a quick check showed that our Leo lives about 2 hours west of Kiev in the Zhitomer area.

Let's zoom on in for a closer look. Not that we're nosy or anything. Just. . . just that we're interested. And we're concerned. We see that the balcony windows are boarded up. Now that's bit odd in the summer, unless a place is abandoned. But the kitchen window is open a bit so it's likely someone's there.

I'm guessing the balcony windows haven't been opened in years. The little planter there is taking care of itself, the basketball hoop may have been nailed in place by a teenager who since has joined the army or a professional basketball team and now an elderly person lives there. This would be an elderly person who doesn't hang laundry to dry in the balcony, who doesn't enjoy a fresh breeze through those windows and who's in the survival mode. Now that would be a goal, to get out of the house and view the place from all angles.

Well, any thoughts, dear blog readers? Is this goal a cry for help?