I had the good fortune to stay with friends in an apartment building constructed only in the last few years. Much of the housing stock in Kyiv reaches back to Soviet times, showing individuality only by varying levels of maintenance performed by each owner. Fortunately, many of these apartment buildings have given way to newer ones. They're still...how does one say?...ugly:
In one of the oldest section of the city, Podil, the mix of pre-Soviet buildings and modern advertising looks a lot more like Western Europe. Here's a view of vul Petra Sahaydachnoho from a cafe near Poshtova Square:
I found myself distracted today by 22°C sunny weather and a 3-hour client meeting. Moving on: more photos from Kyiv, of St. Michael's monastery (Михайлівський золотоверхий монастир):
I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto.
Incidentally, you have to be this tall to go on this ride:
(Yes, it's cliché, but sometimes the classics are best.)
First shot from the mystery destination:
This is the Мати-Батьківщина (Mat-Batkivshyna, or Mother Motherland), part of the Great Patriotic War memorial just southeast of the center of Kyiv, Ukraine.
Lonely Planet asserts the nickname of this statue is "Tin Tits," but my host, who is native Ukrainian and has lived in Kyiv for years, believes LP made this up.
Many more to follow.
After returning home yesterday evening, I'm now caught up on my email (including the 2,400 server status messages and 4,400 spams caught by my filter, my sleep, and Parker's walks. Now I'm going through the several hundred photos I took, so watch for those over the next few days.
But where, in fact, did I go? Ah. That's still a mystery. But here's a clue: this photo, from last Thursday morning's approach to the first airport I saw that day, shows an eyeful—including the spot where thousands of trains have met their Waterloo:
More, I hope, later today.
On the morning of the penultimate day of my trip, I'm checking in with U.S. news only to discover...it's been kind of quite. I'm glad Chicago is getting Federal funding for road repair, and the Cubs have at least stayed above .500. But...were there any major news events?
Maybe it's a normal week, and it only seems quiet because I'm 6,000 km away. That, then, seems like a good vacation.
That's part of the fun in traveling 8 time zones away. More on that later.
Meanwhile, my poor jet-lagged brain now has to accept that Parker may not actually love me, though he does a really good job convincing me he does.
(...at least, by the New Jersey plan). Five of these united States now allow people who love each other to get married regardless of gender: Maine's governor signed his state's bill into law this afternoon.
Once more: where's Illinois? We're at least as progressive as Connecticut. Come on.
A gay marriage bill has passed Maine's lower house, and goes back to the Maine Senate for final approval tomorrow.
The AP reports: "The proposal would make Maine the fifth state to allow gay marriage. But it's unclear whether Gov. John Baldacci would sign it. Baldacci remains undecided. Four states now allow same-sex marriages: Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa by court orders and Vermont through legislation. New Hampshire's Legislature is actively considering a gay marriage bill."
Come on! Where's the Illinois bill, guys?
Naturalists in Chicago would like residents to count squirrels:
The Chicago Academy of Sciences, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and University of Illinois at Chicago are asking for contributions to www.projectsquirrel.org. Urban ecologist Steve Sullivan leads the effort and says the Midwest is a "squirrel hot spot."
Researchers say the data offers insight into to the rodents' behavior and the overall ecology of the region.
I'm waiting for the squirrel activists to protest the census for under-counting urban squirrels. The local coyote population was also said to be interested in the results....
Another Cubs game, but this time, a win. The Cubs beat the Giants last night 4-2, with a small enough crowd that my cousin and I were able to "upgrade" from our actual seats and actually see the game.
You see, the Cubs organization counts paid attendance, which last night was 39,112—not bad in a park that holds 41,118. Only, not everyone who paid actually attended. We guessed the actual in-the-park attendance may not have crested 30,000, which was at least better than the sell-out we attended last Thursday in which half the seats were empty.