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Pictures from Odessa

I really enjoyed Odessa. It’s one of those cities that is built around nature. There are some beautiful parks, and old growth trees are littered through the city. Of course the sea is fantastic too. I spent so much time in the sun I was the color of a tomato!

I’m definitely going to go back to Odessa, and I would really recommend you check it out if you haven’t been there yet. It’s definitely not the easiest city to get to in the world, but I think it’s really worth it.

Let’s take a look at what’s there.

This is the main street in Odessa. Never any cars, always a bustling crowd.

Main St

To me, this looks like the coolest place to eat ever!

Cool Restaurant

 

Odessa has this really terrific path running along a cliff, just before the sea.

Long Park

 

Lots of the parks in Odessa have awesome fountains like this one.

Cool Fountain

 

A close up of that buildings cool statue park, for lack of a better word.

Building

Of course, shipping is very important here.

Industry

 

Watching these yellow cranes work was really a blast.

Big Ship

 

Yes Odessa, I do love you <3

Odessa Love

 

Everyone was hot and tired in the 90 degree weather.

Hot Day

14 Fantastic Pictures from Chernobyl, Ukraine

The Chernobyl disaster happened on April 26, 1986. In one day an entire city was forced to leave behind their lives. Now it’s a popular tourist destination in Ukraine, and there are a handful of companies that offer guided tours to the abandoned site. My friend Sergej (pronounced Sergei) went there a few days ago and based on everything he showed me, I think he spent more time taking pictures then he did breathing!

But that’s ok, because he got some really fantastic shots. He also narrated the story behind every picture before handing them over. So without anymore words, let’s check out some of the pictures he took. If you want to learn more about Chernobyl, click here for the Wiki entry.

Sergej (the man behind all these photos) chilling on top of an abandoned 16 story apartment building

An abandoned store. This used to be a thriving town until the accident

This MASSIVE radar array could detect a nuclear missile launch the second it happened in America

Really, you think this would be obvious

At one point all of these documents were classified, not anymore though

This guy looks like he had a lobotomy at a young age

An abandoned kindergarten, with dolls left on the beds by the children

A faded socialist mural

Sergej said that the floor on this court is still decent, and you could play here if you wanted

Bumper cars anyone? This is my personal favorite of the lot

The famous ferris wheel. Anyone else recognize this from Call of Duty 4?

Same thing with this diving board, I swear I’ve seen it in COD 4 before..

The view from 16 stories up. The apartment building forest

I think the background sky for this monument is so fantastic!

Well that’s all it. I have about a hundred pictures that Sergej gave me, but uploading more simply is not happening. If you want to learn more, you’ll just have to come to Ukraine and see the site for yourself.

Thanks Sergej for the pictures!

11 Pictures from the Ukrainian Frontline

I wish I could claim credit for these awesome pictures, but I can’t. They were taken by my friend Théo Humming-Bouffier. He’s been in Ukraine for the last month, documenting the country and meeting all sorts of interesting people. I was lucky enough to meet him at my hostel and he was nice enough to share these photos with me.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

I’m in Love with Kiev After One Day

This morning I flew out of Moscow, which has been my home for the last eight months. To be honest, I was ready for a change. I’m so fucking happy that I made the choice to go to Russia, I would do it again in a heartbeat. However, I had had enough.

Teaching kids is really fucking difficult. Their behavior can be so terrible, and their needs so high, that I often found myself acting more as a baby sitter than as a teacher. This whole month I’ve been counting down the days till I could leave.

Today was that day. Before departing, I had several concerns. First was the reduction in my worldly belongings. I’ve been living out of a suitcase for the last eight months, but I’ve picked up a few things along the way too. That meant that I had to get rid of almost half of my stuff. Most of it was easy, except for loosing a few pieces of clothing that I really liked.

Adapt or die, the saying goes.

My Final Preparations for the Trip

My second concern was my new backpack. The thing has more straps, buckles, and dangling pockets on it than a paratroopers survival pack. All that hardware is great for every day life, so convenient! But I was worried that along the way, some of it would get caught in a conveyor belt at the airport and my pack would be shredded like a politician’s tax return.

So this morning, I wrapped my pack in a role of pilfered scotch tape, crossed my fingers, and dropped it off at the airport.

Fast forward two hours, I’m in Kiev and there’s my bag, the same as when I dropped it off.

The Cutthroat Taxi Business at the Airport

Before I had even walked the hundred steps to the money exchange counter, I had a guy asking me if I needed a taxi (нужно такси?) I ignored him, got my money changed, and then gave my business to the second guy who asked me if I needed a taxi. He was the lucky one I suppose. I got to my hostel, checked in, found a map, chatted for a while in Russian, changed my shirt, and went to explore Kiev.

It turns out that my Hostel is located ideally downtown. I’m a three minute walk from the main square! In New York, first off a hostel could never afford to operate in such a location. Second, hypothetically if it did, it would cost $75 a night.

Kiev prices: about $15 for two nights. How amazing is that!

My First Impression of the City

I’ll give my first impressions of the city. I like it better than Moscow. That could change as I learn more, but here’s why I feel like that now.

Everyone seems to smile a little bit more. God, the soul crushing frown of Russia was starting to get to me. I’m not saying people are happy go lucky in Ukraine, but it seems that everyone’s spirits are at least mildly improved.

The city is beautiful! It seems very European, with cool architecture and a nice theme. Moscow is very nice too, but I feel like Kiev has it beat.

The food is better. I had some traditional Ukrainian food (couldn’t tell you the name to save my life) and it was like biting into god’s dinner. What a fantastic treat! You can be sure I’ll be going back tomorrow.

Those are my three impressions for the day. Tomorrow I’ll walk around more, go visit some parks, find out what the Metro is like, and try to get a data plan for my phone.

I’ll leave you with some pictures from today. I actually came at a perfect time. The weather is outstanding and it happens to be Kiev day! The main road was closed off, flags were everywhere, and people were having a blast. Kiev couldn’t have possibly have made a better impression on me if it tried.

It’s 7:20 In Kiev

So Many Candles, I Couldn’t Tell What the Shape Was Though

There Were a Bunch of Kids Playing in this Cool Fountain

Some Pictures from the Recent War

That Star, and All It Represents