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розпливчасті уявлення про час і місце 27/11/2011

Posted by brendan in Avions, Trains et Voitures, Bienvenue à la Semaine de Fonctionnement.
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On Further Assignment

Tourist trap but I don’t care. Stella Artois on umbrellas and English on menus are comforting when you’re far from home, battered by logistics and suffering humiliating defeats. The waitress running this high-rent cafe smiled through our mangled ordering and let us stew on the terrace in peace.

In celebration of our nation’s birth the American ambassador was hosting a backyard weenie roast somewhere in the surrounding blocks. I suppose that banal banter and sacrificial animal innards in the name of freedom isn’t much worse than our foiled dancing through the poisoned landscape of Chornobyl. No ethical dilemma, dietary or political, was faced. As quickly as I learned of this BBQ I was told in no uncertain terms that I was not allowed to attend.

Not that Our Man in Kyiv had issued a direct decree. A project manager with Bechtel, in-country to oversee work on the multimillion dollar effort to contain, conceal and dismantle the crumbling remains of Chornobyl, had. Using sketchy and possibly illegal information we had positioned ourselves near the official diplomatic residence to receive a post-soiree phone call. (more…)


Głupi Projektów Rolniczych 27/08/2010

Posted by brendan in Avions, Trains et Voitures, Leçons Culturelles.
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Shopping Center

Point Break did not happen. The surge protector blew when I plugged in my power strip and instead we were treated with the worrisome stench of fused plastic and wires. Lights worked but all the plugs in the apartment were shot and we could not find the breaker inside, in the stairwell, in the catacombs below.

Sitting between the communist blocks and old town is Zenit. It looks like your average warehouse retailer, until we walked inside and became rats in a behavioral sciences experiment. The interior is a labyrinth cut from seven foot plexiglass display cases. Perfume is here, t-shirts over here, watches are here and each department is autonomous.

Janice negotiated murky vocabulary with a patient woman hawking junk drawer electronics in the back. There were no crowds of bargain hunters, but our wandering was limited. The company’s website leads me to believe, by virtue of fractured google translation, that the retail spaces are leased to independent vendors. Either everyone is selling black market goods or they’re receiving some serious government stimulus to run their glossy flea market stalls.

Apparently Zenit also has a grocery, plant nursery, laundry service and “production activities in the field of carton packaging”. They say that 80% of their work force come from an employment program for the disabled. Someone’s gotta get their hands caught in the cardboard cutting machine. (more…)