Odesa, Ukraine 2021 - Ask me anything thread
#11
What is your previous experience with Ukraine?

Would you describe the economic conditions and infrastructure as improving or declining?

Same question as above, but a comparison of cities vs. rural villages?
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#12
Love the marble steps and hand railing. If they did that today in modern construction it would cost a fortune. Thanks for the posts of your travels to places I will never be able to visit. The farthest I get from home these days is a couple of trips to coastal Alabama or the mountains in East Tennessee. I don’t enjoy flying anymore because of the hassle and irritable crowds so I’ve probably been out of country for the last time. But, we’ve been discussing another trip to Bar Harbor, Maine so I may have to suck it up and just get on the plane again. Stay safe in that part of the world.
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#13
(04-05-2021, 03:03 PM)=42 Wrote: What is your previous experience with Ukraine?

Would you describe the economic conditions and infrastructure as improving or declining?

Same question as above, but a comparison of cities vs. rural villages?
I came here in January, so I got to see it in snow. They are a hard working people - the men out sweeping snow all day and putting sand down on the paths so we could get to the shops. But the housing is curious. I started my trip here in a newer part of the city - probably Stalin era buildings. A very nice area (close to the beach too). But you see beautiful, well renovated flats, and then underneath there is one in a terrible state of dereliction. I understand that people were given their apartments after the soviet era ended. So some have lived in the same house for generations and perhaps had no money. Others have gone into the same type of space and created a completely immaculate apartment with all modern conveniences.

Ukraine has some of the best and fastest internet anywhere (and cheap! Last time I looked it was a 60mbps line for 85UAH a month (that's about £2.50) - to compare that would cost over £30 per month in the UK). 

Economically, I'm not sure things are improving - of course there were lockdowns here too, just less well observed because people have to work to eat (there is no social safety net here), so people just went back to work. When I came it was lockdown, but that was lifted. Odesa was back in the red zone before I went to Istanbul, but I was told this by my lawyer as we sat in cafe, without masks on, drinking coffee. I don't know that people are doing that well, but perhaps better, proportionately than those in countries with stricter enforcement of the lockdown.

While I was at the first apartment, during the coldest time, there was a problem with a water main. I dashed out to get bottled water, expecting a slow repair. But no, they were out there much of the evening and into the night repairing it, and the water was back on that night. But some roads are in terrible shape, and some parts of the city are not only in bad shape, but have a bad reputation.

Outside the city I can't really comment on, as I haven't travelled much yet. Many people have a Dacha - a summer house - where they grow vegetables and fruit (I want to get one of those). Out there, away from the city they get water delivered. But having said that they can also get fibre broadband too!

It probably makes a big difference that Odesa is a tourist destination - that means that renovating it's buildings adds value. There are lots of cobbled streets, which of course look lovely, but are noisy when driven on.
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#14
(04-05-2021, 03:05 PM)Saul Goode Wrote: Love the marble steps and hand railing. If they did that today in modern construction it would cost a fortune. Thanks for the posts of your travels to places I will never be able to visit. The farthest I get from home these days is a couple of trips to coastal Alabama or the mountains in East Tennessee. I don’t enjoy flying anymore because of the hassle and irritable crowds so I’ve probably been out of country for the last time. But, we’ve been discussing another trip to Bar Harbor, Maine so I may have to suck it up and just get on the plane again. Stay safe in that part of the world.
@Saul Goode You may find flying not so bad these days with fewer people willing to do it. The airports are less busy, which makes things easier. Enjoy whatever travel you can - it's just one more thing they want to take away from us.


Heartflowers
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#15
Very nice pictures. Thank you.
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#16
How many words do you already know in Ukrainian? Loads

https://youtu.be/C_TVnN6cg0M
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#17
Very nice.

The building you posted could be standing in Hamburg or Berlin just the same, probably without the beautiful ceilings in the hallway.
Nice to see some have survived the 80 years of barbaric rule.

Heartflowers
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#18
Pedestrian crossing in Odesa - how clever is this? Colour changing bricks indicate the crossing. Many of them also have timers on them, next to the green man on the pole, so you know how long you will have to wait before you can cross (and how long you have to cross!).

https://youtu.be/M9iQrZnhiUE

Drivers in Ukraine are really unusual. More than once I've stood on the side of the road in a back street, and a car or lorry has just stopped to let me cross where there was no crossing. :)
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#19
I've moved again - this time back to an apartment I stayed in previously. I usually find that if the landlord is male you can suggest paying cash and get a discount. I wonder how much AirB&B charges landlords. Probably quite a lot.

This apartment is right in the old centre of the town - this is a busier area, and very close to shops. I'm on the fourth floor, so eight flights of stairs! This place will get me fit.

Piccies!

First one is the walk along by the Potemkin Steps. It's all lit up at night and there are buskers playing along there. Loads of people walk at night here - the city is quite busy, which makes me feel quite safe wandering about then.

[Image: IMAG0612-1.jpg]


A moderate sized Ukrainian carrot - they are often a lot larger. I have no idea what your carrots are like where you are, but British carrots are not like this - maybe half the size.

[Image: IMAG0607.jpg]


I also found some extremely large grapes as well - they looked so amazing i had to have a bunch (not easy in a shop where the weighing machines only do Ukrainian language! I had to ask for help. These were large and sweet with big seeds in them - no idea where they were from, but they were fantastic. I've never seen any like this in England.

[Image: IMAG0606.jpg]
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#20
Cheese... Toast.... Food in general

If you want cheese, I suggest France, because here, their tastes in cheese are simple. There is a lot of processed cheese (what we call in Britain "cheese spread"). It comes in little foil blocks in various consistencies. The soft is spreadable and very nice. Then there are the cheeses which us Brits think of as "Dutch style" - a bit more rubbery in texture, with various flavours (not all to my taste). I'm still experimenting and trying new things - of course they have cream cheese which is always good.

But one thing which is still a rarity here is the good old toaster. I was shopping last week and saw one - the last one on the shelf. It was 319 UAH which I thought must be expensive, so I grabbed my phone and checked the exchange rate. Silly me, only £8.28, well I'm having it. No wonder I need to buy an apartment; I'm a woman and I'm accumulating things, as anyone would expect. I'm nesting. :)

So my toaster is pretty typical (I'm sure is a cheap rebadged Chinese thing), and they do special square loaves for these toasters here (they must be taking off then?), so I bought one yesterday. Well they have absolutely got the consistency correct - they call it Amsterdam style bread, but it's just like an English square loaf - soft, but browns well - not real bread. Most bread here is not square - it's traditional and goes off like traditional bread because it doesn't have loads of additives in it. I think that's nicer toasted than this loaf.

Food here is mostly cheaper than Britain, and good quality, especially the produce. We have some really interesting things here which seem unique to here (but I'm sure aren't - we Brits just don't have them). Salted sunflower seed kernels. Long flat potato chips (I'll try to show you some of those at some point). They are called чипси - chipsi (the I on the end indicates the plural). Wonderful poppy seed breads and other not-too-sweet treats are here too. Their snack aisles are full of nuts, seeds and dried fruits - pretty healthy. But of course they also have biscuits and sweets, chocolate and the rest.

My two bags of shopping yesterday came to just over £10.
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