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Меандерінг шляху були нашими області 13/10/2010

Posted by brendan in Avions, Trains et Voitures.
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Formerly the October Palace

Jesus hung with no graves or churches for company, just the ceaseless stream of traffic heading down Khreschatyk. No apparent history or dedication explained this forlorn cross which had become an incidental attraction for anyone snaking through the trees.

People were too excited by fountains to be tempted by shade. Meandering paths were our domain. As we wound slowly upwards a pair of girls giggled and climbed steps, pausing for pictures. Several convergences found one with less and less clothing, and chased both back out of view until our next chance meeting.

Bright yellow walls and crisp white columns had drawn us over a sky-bridge, but they did not constitute presidential residences. The International Center of Culture and Arts serves as a concert hall for seasoned veterans of entertainment, such as Joe Cocker who would be paying a visit soon. Once this had been a university for women, designed by Russian architect Vikentiy Beretti and built in the earliest years of the 20th century. After the revolution students were expelled and the newly re-christined October Palace was populated by the local KGB affiliates.

No performances on this summer day. The box-office was shuttered and the heavy wooden doors locked. Janice and I strolled along the perimeter until we found an abandoned construction project, an Eastern Orthodox cross and a theater showing Toy Story 3-D. No patrons, no ushers, no construction workers, no pilgrims.

What Could It Be?

Aimed for a monumental palace of deep blues and greens but it became a bank. We wrapped around the block heading back towards the square and our hotel beyond, wondering where all of the supermarkets had gotten to. Returned empty-handed and asked at reception where a new girl rattled off street names and vague directions in imperfect English. Could you please write this down for me? No. Ah, right.

Something about a shopping center, but not the subterranean passages which tunnel beneath Khreschatyk. Further along the street we crept underground again, finding a brightly lit, multi-storied mall complete with escalators and food court, but no grocery. Janice was threatening to expire from dehydration and I acquiesced under the stipulation she flex her linguistic muscles. Between street-corner preachers and breakdancers we found a water vendor willing to help.

Storefronts are typically reserved for cafes, cell phone stores and restaurants. Most businesses are marked only by fading Cyrillic signs painted onto an open door sagging from its hinges. They look like a good place to be murdered. We slipped past faded signs of produce and coffee beans, down a split set of stairs and into a bakery surrounded by cash registers. Separate rooms with separate staff, sacks of anchovies and sachets of flavored mayonnaise. A chamber dedicated to beer, liquor and shrimp-flavored Pringles was its own store. We found prepackaged, sliced bread and avoided the anemic collection of vegetables overseen by a wan employee but there was no ducking cashiers.

They didn’t even look up when you said hello but you damn well better put the basket on the proper shelf.

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