Archive for March 19th, 2009

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Luna Park (aka Ilicha Park) Odessa

March 19, 2009

Situated behind the Privos Open Air Market sits Ilicha Park…..or the Luna Park to the locals.

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To say it is an amusement park would be a little cruel to amusement parks like Alton Towers.

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It would also be untrue to say it is completely crap too.

There are one or two rides which adults may find ” a little stimulating” and would relate to fairly tame rides at Alton Towers or Disneyland…..although, if you are not particularly fond of heights and spinning around upside down, there are two such rides at the Luna Park which will indeed make you regret eating the 4 double cheeseburgers, 2 portions of shrimps, large fries and 4 litres of Diet Coke…..well it has to be Diet Coke…..you don’t want to be taking on unnecessary calories now do you?…..before strapping yourself into these particular contraptions, and eventually throwing up…….just in time to spin back round and get your own regurgitated MacDonald’s right in the face!!

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Oh come on!!!……I could have put a far less tasteful pic up that that…….and you know it!!!!

There is also a 4 lane air rifle range at the entrance to the park (on your right) which, once you get used to the sight alignment…..which is designed to ensure you could not hit a cow’s arse with a paddle…..passes a little time.

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Generally though, the Luna Park caters for the 5 – 14 year old age range……pretty much the age range that you want at the end of the air rifle range…….the end you’re shooting at obviously!!

It has the usual bumper car rides for the kids…..needless to say it holds no attraction for the average Ukrainian driver, as they prefer the real thing on proper roads…..little power boat rides, candy floss stalls, tea-cup rides, the “Waltzer”…..which many Brits of a certain age will remember from their youth and many more.

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Yes, you remember the bloody Waltzer….it’s the one when aged around 13 years old that when you and your girlfriend went on…..you knew, you absolutely knew, the twat of a fairground guy running that ride was gonna try and pull your girlfriend despite her age…no matter which Fair….or indeed which girlfriend!

Anyway, for those of you with a brood of domestic terrorists you selectively chose to call your children, this is not a bad way to keep them entertained for several hours…..and it is cheap.  It has a regular bus service running through until around 2300 to and from Privos and a short walk and you are there.

Nuff said!

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Friends & Beer Bar, Odessa

March 19, 2009

The Friends & Beer Bar is on the corner of Deribasovskaya and Rishelievskaya.  To get in, your have to descend some fairly steep stone steps…..which may lead to the obvious problem when trying to get out of the place having blown the “froth off a few”, as well as a lack of natural light…….or maybe it is a cunning plan by the management to keep you in there……and drinking!

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This place has WiFi….well actually, I don’t know that for sure, but I have seen people in their with laptops…..so I guess it does.

Outside, and therefore above head height if you are down in the pub, there is a small “patio area” with seats for those who want to sit in the sun and gaze in awe at the piss-poor standard of Ukrainian driving and enjoy the dulcet tones of various car horns of impatient drivers sat in the traffic……tones similar and yet as distinctive as making your own fart chorus…..ah bliss!! 

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(No, not bliss from the release of your body’s natural gases, I am talking about the general ambiance of sitting next to the all-but stationary and impatient drivers!!!) 

The bar has a wide screen TV which, at least when I have been in there…..not that often…..has been showing sport.

It is, to be brutally honest, absolutely AVERAGE!!

It does have, which is not common, a No Smoking section……generally the whole of Ukraine is a smoking zone!  The No Smoking section is, follow me here, down the stairs into the bar, turn right to face the actual bar, walk past it and turn left, through a small archway and there you are….you found the No Smoking area….next to the kitchen, in a room with no natural light or ventilation and a parade of lovely looking, but busy waitresses trying not to spill borsh down your back as they serve people elsewhere in the bar!!

From here, however you cannot see the widescreen TV…..unless you have X-Ray vision capable of penetrating a wall, the attractive bar staff (easy tiger….I know what you’re thinking), the bar itself…..at which point you could see the TV!!

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“Not happy with that”, I hear you say, well you can always sit in the smoking section and see the TV…..or go somewhere else.  Like I say, it is AVERAGE…….so you aren’t missing out on anything special if you do go somewhere else.

STOP!!!!!

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…..no it’s not bloody “Hammer Time”…….

Go back a bit……What is borsh?……..It deserves and will get a blog of it’s own…..together with other traditional Ukrainian dishes!!

Anyway, the food is Ok, the service is Ok (although it can be a little slow if you are outside sucking on the exhaust of a passing Daewo), the beer is Ok, the atmosphere is Ok and the prices are Ok.

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Everything is basically Ok.  …….Ok?

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Mick O’Neills Irish Pub, Odessa

March 19, 2009

Well……I thought I had better talk about the infamous Mick O’Neills “Irish Pub” sooner rather than later.  It is situated on Deribovskaya and opens from 10.00-23.00.

It is one of the few places where you can get what you would recognise as a “Full English”.

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The pub itself is OK…..obviously Irish themed to the point of being way over the top and really being nothing like an Irish pub at all…if you’ve been to a pub in Ireland, you will know what I mean.

Aside from the “breakfast” and obviously being able to get a pint of the “Black Stuff” there, for the permanent foreign resident, it is a place to avoid like a pox ridden harlot, even if you are desperate for a shag…..or in this case a “Full English.”

If you are a “Numismatist”, then a few minutes can be passed looking at the foreign currency hanging from the roof in the bar I suppose.  Yes, I know, smart-arse, a Numismatist collects coins, not paper currency per se, but there is a fairly respectable collection of foreign banknotes hanging from the rafters…..even if they are not rare…..or coins!!

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Hang on, wait up, wowwww there!!!

Why won’t you find a permanent Odessa expat in this pub?

Ok, I’ll tell you.  This place obviously attracts a visit from almost all English speaking visitors to Odessa….because it is familiar to them…..it’s a bloody Irish pub after all…..just like in every European and US city.  It is a place to find fellow English speaking natives and it is very easy to find too.

Therein is half the problem…..we will come to the other half of the problem shortly. 

The half of the problem we are currently talking about, comes by way of the English speaker who has been in Odessa a few days longer than you, or have been a few times before and have made the Irish pub “home”.

Amongst those you will find there, are those who have been in Odessa a day or two and know of no better place to go….but it doesn’t take them long to work out there must be a better clientele somewhere else.

You will also find of the shysters, f*ck-wits, numb-nuts, gob-shites, fog-horn mouthed “I know everything you need to know about Odessa” – Americans, luckless, weird, anally retentive, obnoxious, noisy, drunken Brits, Yanks, Canuks, Ausies, Kiwis, Jocks, Taffs, Micks and others,  together with the Russiaphobes, Ukrainaphobes, womanising, rude, “they haven’t got a f*cking clue here”, “if only I could find someone with real money, I could make a fortune, I got some great ideas” (etc. etc.)…..complete and utter w*nkers which always frequent this bar!! 

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(I know, with so many words to chose from above, why did I chose Foghorn Leghorn!!)

This is not the fault of the Irish bar….they do not have any “face control” over their clientele…..but it does make it high on the list of places to avoid…..unless you are in one or more of the categories above.  It also follows that those expats who have been able to successfully live in Odessa will not be found within a “country mile” of this pub!

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Oh yes, I said that was only half of the problem with the Irish pub….well the problem is the clientele, not the pub. 

The other half of the problem is the location of the pub….not on Deribovskaya but it’s location to other “business activities” nearby……yes I mean every sexpats dream, marriage agencies!!

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Opposite the Irish pub are several “Marriage Agencies”…..which also (if they are even genuine….and they may be, who knows?) have a number of willing, albeit exceptionally attractive, ladies for “hire”….which obviously draws in the Sexpat crowd into the above mentioned gathering of  “world trash.” 

Although Odessa does have some “street walkers”, it is generally far more “sophisticated” than Prague or Budapest and rather than be approached on the street, here at least they will approach you at the bar, club or by appointment, often through the “marriage agency”.

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I will blog about prostitution……and associated ways of contacting and seeking such ladies another time.  Suffice to say, do not be surprised to find the ugliest man ever created playing “tonsil tennis” (or much more) with the most beautiful of women in or around this pub.

I will say it one more time, the pub itself is Ok, the food is Ok, the beer is Ok, the staff are Ok…….but the people who go there…..generally, they are….

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If The Irish Have Leprechaun’s, The Cornish Have Pixies, What Does Ukraine Have?…….Domovoy!!!

March 19, 2009

If the Irish have Leprechaun’s, the Cornish have Pixies, what does Ukraine have?

With St Patrick’s Day having recently passed, most notably for me on a weekend when England kicked French arse in Paris in the 6 Nations Rugby….although I did blow the froth off a Guinness of two in respect to the Irish….well you have to don’t you, it would be rude not to…..it got me wondering about what Ukraine has by way of Leprechauns and the like.

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Now, there are a number of little and/or nasty critters to be found wandering around Ukraine it seems….and although I was thinking of the benign albeit mischievous types, such as Leprechaun’s and Pixies, such as is Domovoy the Ukrainian equivalent…..there is also Baba Yaga and her husband Koshey Bessmertniy.

I will leave Domovoy to the end of this blog….despite everything about this little soul is fairly endearing and he was actually the whole point of the blog….and say a little about Baba Yaga and her husband…..who were obviously created to scare the shit out of any young Ukrainian child!!

Ok, Baba Yaga is not one of the “little people”.  She is a witch of the size and stature of the standard Ukrainian Babooshka (Grandmother/Old lady).  Being a witch, of course, she is as ugly as they come….and then some.  In fact she would give the average Scandinavian troll a “feel good” factor when it comes to looks.

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Yeh, I know, so she’s a witch….so what?  Well, not only is she about as sexy as a bucket of mashed crab, she traditionally has one wooden leg….making her the result of throwing in a hag from “The Scottish Play” and a pirate into a blender, putting it on a fast mix, and leaving it to set for a few hours. 

Her home is equally a little bizarre.  She lives in an old ram-shackled house……which hops around the country on a single chicken leg!  (Whoever made up this tale must have been on some fairly strong mushroom tea if you ask me….and I cannot help but see the Little House on The Prairie sat on top of the Monty Python foot….shit, what’s in my tea!!) 

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She, as all witches can, is able to fly on a broomstick and cannot be killed.  Her role in a child’s life….well she is here to take away all children who disobey or do not listen to their parents of course!!  She is also responsible for winter and the death of plants, flowers……Narnia anyone?  (Although Gweneth Paltrow is a little sexier than the image of Baba Yaga currently in my head).

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Anyway, once she has her children, what does she do with them.  Well, of course she can turn them into animals…or eat a few which reduces her age…well it would, wouldn’t it?

Wait a minute, you said this gorgeous, kindly and misunderstood old lady was married!!  You’re right I did.  She is married to Koshey Bessmertiniy…….who is simply a wizened old man….who happens to travel on a 3 headed dragon….and also steals children from their beds and eats them! 

Koshey Bessmertiny can be killed, unlike his immortal wife (typical), but it is a complicated matter involving killing his 3 headed dragon, uprooting the biggest tree in the forest (which happens to be guarded by his 3 headed dragon), a big wooden box, killing a rabbit, cutting it open to  get the duck out which is inside the rabbit….(now I am lost in Monty Python’s Holy Grail I swear), killing the duck which lived inside the rabbit, cutting open the duck to take out the egg inside it, breaking the egg open which will contain a needle.  Clear so far?

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Ok…having killed the 3 headed dragon, uprooted the biggest tree which it guards, f*cked about with a wooden box, taken the rabbit out of the box, killed the rabbit and cut it open to get the duck out, killed the duck and cut it open to get the egg, smashed the egg open to get the needle you then snap the needle and Koshey is dead.  Piece of cake for a 5 year old swimming in their own piss from the nightmare they had about Koshey and his wife Baba eh?

Now to the point of the blog……Ukraine’s little people, the equivalent of the Leprechaun.  This is Domovoy.  He is the noise you hear in your attic of scurrying feet….although he is not a bad little man.  Domovoy lives in your house…well attic to be exact.  He is extremely old and is of the same gene pool as the Leprechaun….and therefore of same mentality and size. 

Domovoy will only live in the houses of good people and will move out if you sell your house to bad people.  Domovoy is childish in behaviour and will move things around the house so you can’t find them….but with no malice towards you…..he does it just for a laugh!!!

Of course, those of us who share our houses with Domovoy simply have to say “Domovoy, Domovoy, poigray i otday!!” or translated “Domovoy, Domovoy, play and give me back!!”……or what it really means is “Domovoy, you little twat, stopped f*cking hiding my car keys/mobile phone and give them back to me before I kick your little arse!!”…….at which point, you will miraculously find your misplaced items.

Annoying as this obviously is, Domovoy will also look after your house when you aren’t home…..so it’s worth having the little man around when all is said and done.

Oh yes, a picture of Domovoy…..

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Ok…..now I feel the need for more of this strange tea I’ve been drinking!! 

Oh….and when it comes to souvenirs, why not find a Domovoy or Baba Yaga to take back home…..it’s a little different than the usual crap!!!

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Ukraine and Marriage…..1 In Every 30 Marriages To Foreigners!

March 19, 2009

Well, yesterday, 18th March 2008, brought about the release from the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine (which is a bit of an oxymoron…..but whatever), the statistics relating to marriage in Ukraine.

Anyways, those of you looking to marry a Ukrainian beauty will be pleased to know that 1 in every 30 marriages involving Ukrainians are to a foreign national. 

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Yes, I can hear the “whoopee’s” of joy coming from the global Sexpat community and marriage agencies right now!!  What a great statistic, 1 marriage in 30 is to foreigners.  Every marriage agency’s dream, this headline will get those “sad western men” to sign up in their droves…….”show me the money”,……”I said, show me the money”!!!!

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Not so fast, my woman shopping friend!!  This statistic whilst maybe true, is misleading……so don’t go throwing your “Old Spice” aftershave, industrial sized box of condoms and a few pairs of luminous male G Strings into your suitcase just yet…….and stop completing that “User Profile” on that Russian….or Ukraine Marriage Agency website….yes, right now Mister!!

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Whilst the numbers involved have remained constant for the past few years, we should look at the numbers….and then look behind the numbers, to get a better perspective.

So, the Justice Ministry states that 3% of marriages of Ukrainians are with foreigners.  In 2008 there were 321,992 marriages recorded in Ukraine…..we will say 322,000 for ease of math.  3% of this equates to 9660 marriages with foreigners……..look stop it, put the suitcase down……I haven’t finished yet!!

The actual amount of marriages involving a Ukrainian and a foreigner was 11,400….or 3.5% (ish).

Yes, yes I know that is better than what I said at the start BUT WAIT – Your chances of getting that slim, long legged femme fetale are still not good because you haven’t let me finish.  Sit yourself down, take a deep breath, put your adult fantasy to the back of your mind and just listen…..well, read….for another two minutes before letting your dick rule your brain OK?…….Ok, thank you….I will continue….

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Of these 11,400 marriages with foreigners, 7,200 were between Ukrainians and foreigners which make up the Confederation of Independant States……yes, yes, California may be “an independent State” but it is not in the Confederation of Independent States!!  The Confederation of Independent States (CIS) is made up of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova.  It used to include Georgia (not the State, the Country) but no longer does.

Now this leaves you with a 1.3% chance of marrying your Ukrainian sex-goddess according to the statistics, having now removed the CIS marriages…..but in reality it will be much less, as the statistics include Ukrainian males who marry foreigners too.

Am I getting through to you yet?….Thought not, but I can only try!!

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Now we should look at the percentage chance of you marriage actually lasting, should you have been lucky enough to be amongst the extremely small number of foreigners who married a Ukrainian.

As stated, 321,992 marriages were recorded in Ukraine in 2008…….along with 166,836 divorces which is just over 50% by my math. 

By now, I hope you are getting the picture about your chances of a successful marriage with your Ukrainian dream.  No?  Well statistically being foreign, and not only foreign but from outside the CIS, combined with the divorce rate gives you a successful marriage rate of less than 0.5%……..Look, I don’t care what the marriage agency said……do the math yourself, I’m giving you the official figures….in fact, better still, the link to the statistics is at the bottom of the blog!!! 

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You still haven’t got it have you?  You’re still coming aren’t you?  I can see you packing you suitcase again now…..you still haven’t got past the 1 in 30 Ukrainian marriages are to a foreigner bit have you?  Oh well, I tried…..good luck!!!

http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=148&listid=87192

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