2008 Odessa (Ukraine) in April and May

With this trip, since it wasn't my first time here, it took me some time before I got the camera out. Partly because it wasn't that new to me, but mostly because I was too busy with work and getting around on my own without a Russian friend to escort me almost everywhere as with my last trip. But that wasn't really a problem - everyone here has been very helpful and friendly. So, by the weekend I got around to snapping a few pictures. I'll probably only post them once every few days, because it appears that none of my computers work with the hotel internet connection (another long story), so uploads happen whenever I can get to it. But I'll probably post longer explanations of the pictures and some stories, since without internet access I don't have any other way to record what happened.

A rainy Easter Sunday - April 27, 2008:
     First page of pictures
     Second page of pictures
I ended up going to bed about 2am this morning, and then got up at 6:30am (I took a nap yesterday, which more than makes up for the short night) so I could Skype people back home using the hotel computer (which I modified to run Skype - don't tell them!) But, alas, nobody to talk to. So I had an early breakfast (I never eat breakfast, but whatever…) and then took off walking.

It was Easter, so my goal was to visit a few Russian Orthodox Catholic churches to see what was happening, and then go to a large market that was a fair distance away. The first church was empty – no activity. Also, the normally busy streets were fairly empty. But I did notice a few people (mostly children) carrying baskets with something covered by a cloth napkin. By the time I got to the second church I pretty much had it figured out. The basket contained these little seasonal cakes (Easter cakes), cookies, and other goodies. (Baskets carried by adults carried the same, plus a bottle of wine and other snacks.) The second church was a center of activity. Many people converged on the church, entered and paid their respects to a shrine for some saint (sorry – it’s all Russian to me), then went down stairs where the main church is. (A Russian Orthodox Catholic church holds its service in a room slightly smaller than one-half of a 6 lane X 25 yard pool, one-third of which is reserved for the priests, the rest for the congregation, and no one but a few priests sit down, because there are no pews.) There was no service in progress – people just flocked to the main room, visited small shrines scattered around the room (including one containing the covered body of someone very special who died a long time ago. Again, all Russian.) But one activity that was quite popular was to purchase candles from a group of monks and then light them and put them in their Easter cakes in their baskets. Then they would go to another monk who would bless them, their basket and food, and then sprinkle them with (I guess) holy water. No, he would DRENCH them with holy water – he used what looked like a long bristled pastry brush, and people (and I assume their cakes) would get very wet! (As I entered the church I noticed some men exiting with water streaming down their face. I was thinking that either the event is very emotional for them, or there is one hell of a work-out room down there! I guess it was the holy water, ‘cause I never saw the exercise equipment…)

From there I walked about 15 blocks to one of the largest markets in Europe: the Privoz Market. It began to rain during this time, and by the time I got there I was wet from the knees down, and my feet were sloshing around in my tennis shoes. Then I find out that the market was closed! I guess because it was Easter? Don’t know – I’ll try again some other day. My feet and legs were soaked by the time I got back to my hotel, but luckily it wasn’t all that cold. Finally, a good reason for bringing my winter coat! Now, if only I hadn’t warn tennis shoes….

Walking around - April 28, 2008.
These are just shots I took to/from the office, stuff I see almost every day (depending on the route I take.) Not spectactular, just things I found interesting.

Running around - May 1, 2008.
     First page of pictures
     Second page of pictures
These are pictures of things I see while out for a run. I concentrated on the park and shore of the Black Sea.

My May Day tour - May 1, 2008.
Today I was lucky enough to have two friends show me around some areas of Odessa that I would never have a chance to see otherwise. After spending the afternoon with me they then took me to a wonderful authentic Ukrainian restaurant. One of my favorite days in Odessa!

Another day, Another run - May 4, 2008.
I took my camera with me again during a morning run.

Lunch with the team.

Birthday Party.

On my way home.
Only one thing that was new to me during my 35 hour day.




2008 Odessa (Ukraine) in January

First (conscious) day - January 15, 2008.    Mostly stupid pictures to show people back home where I'm living for the next few weeks, and one nice picture of the people I'll be working with. Can you spot the vodka? Yes, Virgina, there is a Christmas in the Ukraine.

January 16, 2008    First chance to get around the city on the way to the office.

January 18, 2008    First chance to see the Opera House. Also the insides of a typical Ukrainian restaurant.

January 19, 2008    Walking around on Saturday. Our "guide" was Andriy from the Exigen office, who was nice enough to show us around his city.

January 20, 2008    My day of walking around Odessa by myself. Mostly silly pictures that don't have much meaning but to me they showed "interesting" aspects of the city or culture.

January 21, 2008    Took an hour off of work to wander around.

January 22, 2008    Took another path to work this morning.

January 23, 2008    Opera night!

Last (conscious) day in Odessa - January 24, 2008    Last day - too busy to take pictures, but got one anyway from my room.

Traveling home through Vienna - January 25, 2008    During a 5 hour layover we got to visit Vienna.