Archive for March 20th, 2009

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411 Battery, Odessa – A Cold War Boff’s Dream!

March 20, 2009

Ok, calling all you old soldiers, military historians, Cold War boffins and nerds.  Be your interest in aircraft, missile defence, submarines, ships, tanks or artillery……411 Battery is a place you must visit if you come to Odessa.

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If you are an old soldier like me……well I’m not that old, but old enough to have been trained to fight against the USSR and served during the time of the Cold War, this place will be of immense interest to you.

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Not only can you see what you were trained to recognise by shape, shine, shadow, silhouette and movement…..you see, an old soldier never forgets the basics of “fieldcraft”…… but you can actually sit in, climb on and move the “working parts” of most of the equipment on display.

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The site itself was used in World War II and saw active service against the Third Reich.

For the military historian, aside from the Catacombs, this is also a “must see“…..and indeed there is a route through the catacombs to 411 Battery.

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Still in situ….and you are able to go in them, are the underground bunkers, complete with tables and chairs etc etc.

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I am told that there is still a fair amount of ordnance buried less than a meter under ground in numerous locations on this site, indeed my wife remembers finding some herself when she was younger.  Obviously I won’t say how many years ago as it is somewhat “ungentlemanly” don’t you think…..but not that long ago.

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So where is 411 Battery in Odessa?  It is end of Amundsena Ulitza facing the sea…..well it was a Sea Battery!!  Bus 127 from the city will take you there.

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411 Battery is free…..yes gratis, nothing, zero, zilch, absolutely sweet FA to get in…..which I think is pretty good value, even in times of a crisis and reduced prices!!

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There really is a lot to see here….a few hours worth at least…..and that is only if you have a passing interest.  The boffins and nerds amongst you should give it a good 4 – 6 hours in your itinerary. 

Here is it known as 411 Batteria and not how I have titled this blog.  For some strange reason….and one I am yet to understand…..411 Battery (Batteria), is not given the coverage by the “touristy people” here it richly deserves and it is therefore missed by many who would have definitely gone to see it, had they known it existed. 

So sorry if you have been here before and didn’t see it…..but want to now you know it is there…..but I am not one of the “touristy people” who decide what is advertised and what is not!!

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Mexiko Restaurant, Odessa

March 20, 2009

The “Mexiko” is located on Ilfa Petrova in the Tairovo District of Odessa, about 5 kilometers from the City Centre on the 148 bus.

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The basement of this restaurant is a pool, billiard and Russian billiard hall with quite a few tables.  It has a small bar in the basement and you can eat down there too……if the person you are playing is particularly good and you don’t get anywhere near the billiard table!!…….yeh, you know the type!!

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On the ground floor, there is a 10 pin bowling alley with numerous lanes….and of course the usual stock of “colourful shoes” in assorted sizes……just to make you look a complete twat!

Going upstairs, the first door on your right is to the restaurant, passing this and an “Aztec stylee” statue of a woman with gravity defying breasts, is the ladies and then gents toilets……..no I can’t find a picture of the statue with gravity defying breasts!!

The restaurant has the bar in the left corner when entering, the kitchen behind and a stage/dance floor in front of you.  Tables and chairs are laid out in a horseshoe around the dance floor.  The restaurant area is “Aztec themed” throughout and the lighting is “intimate”……well it is a far better word than “dim” don’t you think?

On Friday and Saturday evenings, from 2200 the restaurant does have strippers on so if you eat late and take the kids along then they may see more than you bargained for…..although the staff do inform you of the entertainment when you arrive!

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The food is not too bad at all and is much more Mexican than in any other Odessa restaurant which purports to be Mexican.  In fact it is probably the best Mexican restaurant I have eaten in during my years in Odessa.

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Yes, granted it is not Mexican food as good as you would find in Mexico, or even some parts of the USA, but it is still pretty good Mexican “nosh” and make no mistake!!

This restaurant therefore not only caters for adults, but kids as well, be they bowling or playing pool but also caters for the grown-ups too with good food, dancing and the occasional bit of nudity.

Nothing much else to say about the place………

……..what? 

What do you mean I’ve let you down?  I told you there was no picture of the gravity defying boobs on the statue!!  What do you mean the stripper picture could have been better?

Ok…….hang on a second, I’ll see what I can do…….

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…..well they are tits and they seem to be defying gravity to me……even if they have bugger all to do directly with this restaurant!!!!

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Call Girls, Harlots, Prostitutes…….And The Genuine Russian/Ukrainian Bride!

March 20, 2009

Ok, a somewhat distasteful blog for some and interesting for others…..no doubt!!

Are there beautiful Russian and Ukrainian women out here who are genuinely wanting to marry foreign men?  Undoubtedly the answer is “Yes.” 

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Is the best way to find them via “Marriage Agencies”?……well that depends on the “agency” and the woman in question, but probably not.  This is not a blog about Marriage Agencies here though……that is yet to come!!

This blog is in response to repeated and continual questions relating to Russian and Ukrainian women, Odessa women, sex tourism, “ladies of the night”, the genuine “liberally minded” lady and all those which fall within these “arcs of fire”.

The first point to note, is that women are women regardless of their country of origin….and regardless of their attitude towards the giving of “their favour”, they should be shown the respect you would show any other human being…..like you would your mother or sister etc. etc.  That is my appeal to your humanity.  There are other reasons, particularly in Odessa, for you to adhere to my advice which you will notice as you read on and relate to your need to treat them with respect.

Ukraine and Russia have more women than men.  This is a fact.  There are about 10% more women than men.

It seems, and I am no expert on the Slavic female phsycy, that for this reason, they tend to keep themselves in “tip-top” condition…..even decades after marriage, less they be swapped for a different model.  I am sure there are other reasons behind their motivation for always looking a million bucks, but this will be one of them.

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Russian and Ukrainian women know how to look good……damned good….BUT, short skirts, thigh high leather boots, as much skin exposed as possible and a see-through top DOES NOT make them a prostitute….it is a common dress code….even for women who work in a bank during working hours…..or for those of whom are already married!  There have been recent protests from Ukrainian women in the major cities complaining about being mistaken for prostitutes.

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Ukraine is not the set from “Pretty Woman” where you can identify Julia Roberts as a prostitute by her clothing.  Most women under a certain age, dress like Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman.”

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The vast majority of young women registered on Marriage Agency websites are not that interested in marriage…..even, and sorry guys, those you have been writing too for months and have even met.  Some of course will be, but most are not.

What?  If there is no way to tell a prostitute by what they wear, how can I recognise one?  Quite simply you can’t….until they make themselves known to you.

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Most hotels have a concierge who can arrange things for you.  Please consider that the Odessa Mafia is well known throughout the former USSR and prostitution falls well inside their “terms of business”….so don’t get any stupid ideas if you find the “company” of a lady this way when it comes to non-payment…..or any other acts which have the potential for recrimination.

Prostitution is illegal in Ukraine…..although like many countries, it works via massage parlours, adds in newspapers, “agencies” etc. etc.  Yes most “adds” are written in Russian but some are in English.

That about covers prostitution in as much depth as this particular blog is going to go into.  We have also briefly covered the occasional willing and genuine bride from the “Marriage Agency”, the subject of which will have a seperate blog of it’s own…..at some point.

This just leaves the ladies of a “liberal attitude”……or “Good Time Girls”…..and this comes down to you and your personality.  If you have a personality equal to that of a septic fish tank, the looks of a serious road accident and are about as interesting as a stale piece of toast, then the chances are you will not attract the “fun loving lady” here, regardless of how much money you wave around.

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You are, however, by waving your money around likely to attract a prostitute in the bar, club or hotel you are waving it around in, a lady who sees you as a pension plan……or inviting yourself to be mugged by the local low-life!!

Ukraine is not a hedonistic holiday for the sexpat…..well half the year it would be too bloody cold!!

Yes it does have prostitutes and very pretty ones at that but they are more discrete than in other major European cities for the most part.  If you can’t find one in the hotel lobby, in a bar or in a club, like I say ask the concierge…..and if he can’t help you, ask a local. 

Remember, just because the lady looks like the prostitutes in your home nation…..or those in your head, women here dressing like the Call Girls do at home does not mean they are one!!!

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……….and “No, she isn’t“…..if I ever show the facial photograph of a real prostitute on this blog it will be with their consent – got it?  None of the ladies pictures which show their faces in this blog are prostitutes…..don’t know about the Old Man though!!!!!!”

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Comedy Capital of Ukraine – Odessa

March 20, 2009

Odessa is known as the comedy capital of Ukraine……no I am not joking…..even if this blog is about comedy.

Humourina, the Ukrainian April Fools Day, draws people from all over Ukraine to Odessa…..strange how all denominations of Christianity managed to keep the fun Pagan traditions……..

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What?…..No I didn’t think Humourina needed and translation.  Look at it again……”Humourina”……. Is your village missing it’s idiot?……  HUMOUR-ina.

Hooray, I see the lights have come on and you understand now.  (Bet you drink at the Irish Pub you dumb twat!!!…..Read my blog on the Irish Pub if you still don’t understand…FFS!!)

Anyway, it is a major event in Odessa, where all the village idiots from throughout Ukraine gather to do the most dumb-arsed things possible for the entertainment of the less stupid.

Normally the event is spread throughout Odessa City Centre and the football stadium.  It includes pop concerts by well known….at least if you are Russian or Ukrainian….artists, parades, floats……and a number of questionably strange and potentially physically dangerous events. 

You should also expect to be the “butt” of countless and continuous jokes and pranks from family and friends during Humourina……not to mention the tens of thousands of slightly mentally unstable who arrive for this event.

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Each year it strives to become even more ridiculously manic than the year before and therefore takes a little organisation.  Here is a link to this years organisers….  http://www.odessa.ua/news/19876/ ……don’t they sound like a “barrel of laughs!!”……..No, they didn’t to me either…..but they are only responsible for the organisation after all.

Those of you who have been to Ukraine for a lengthy period, or have visited several times, are obviously asking, rather sceptically, that with, for the most part, the whole country being a bloody joke, what is the point?

It is a good question….and I have yet to see something as funny as watching the Ukrainian politicians at work or listening to the translations of English speaking films into Russian/Ukrainian. 

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In fact, whilst on the subject, to any film translators who may read this blog, you and I both know that every Russian and Ukrainian, regardless of their exposure to the English language, know exactly what the words “f*ck” and “sh*t” mean and how to say them……so with the Russian language having more swear words than any other I know (literally thousands)….why don’t you translate these words accurately?…..Everyone can hear them under your voice-over anyway!!

Ok, back to the pranks and revelry which will once again be on us in 11 days here.

Why Odessa and not anywhere else?  Well Odessa is renowned for producing funny people.  No, not funny “peculiar”, but funny “Ha Ha”……although no doubt it has produced many of the former category too. 

Anyway, historically, there was a “troupe”….are they called a “troupe”…..like in “It Ain’t ‘Alf Hot Mum”?……of comedians called the KVN disbanded and then seemingly stuck for a laugh, decided to hold the Humourina.  This is back in 1972 and the first one was held in 1973 with the hidden theme of mocking the “Soviet Machine”. 

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Yes, OK, but still, what has the KVN got to do with Odessa I hear you ask.  Well they decided on Odessa because they wanted to try and drive “Soviet Machines” from the top of the Primorsky Steps……..to the bottom……and the event stayed in Odessa ever since…..along with the wreckage of the machines no doubt! 

No, no, no, not the event of driving old Soviet cars down the Primorsky Steps…….. I mean the Humourina event stayed in Odessa.

Humouina suffered during the Brezhnev regime as it was not overly fond of large crowds having a laugh.  Well, to be honest, large unruly crowds, laughing or not, were not to Brezhnev’s liking……but he looked like a miserable twat didn’t he, so it’s no surprise is it…….although he did have comedy eyebrows!!!

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Anyway, that’s about it really…..Odessa is the recognised “Comedy Capital of Ukraine”……..officially!!!

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Shevchenko Park, Odessa

March 20, 2009

Shevchenko Park is one of the most popular parks in Odessa and boarded to the South by the Black Sea.

No….. the park is not named after Andrej Shevchenko….the footballing Ukrainian and Milan Center Forward but after Taras Shevchenko, a famous poet, writer and painter from Ukraine.  Shevchenko is regarded by many as the founder of the modern Ukrainian language…..despite the fact he also wrote in Russian…..albeit he lived for only 47 years.

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Shevchenko is also the “famous face” on the 100 UAH currency note.

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There are, to be honest, dozens of Shevchenko Parks throughout the former USSR…..such was the influence he had on literature during and after his life time (1814 – 1861).

So what’s so special about Shevchenko Park in Odessa….was Shevchenko from Odessa?  Well, no he was from Moryntsi…..which is now, but wasn’t then, in Cherkasy Oblast in Ukraine.  There are, however, some direct descendants of his that do live in Odessa including his Great, Great, Great Grandson……who lives near me…..but I can assure you, does not possess the literary skills of his famous ancestor.

What is special about Shevchenko Park in Odessa, is that it is home to the Monument to the Lost Sailor, at the end of Lermontovskiy Pereulok.  If you go to the very end of this street you will see the monument directly in front of you……pass the monument and you will get very wet…..as you will be in the sea!!!

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If you are in any doubt that you have found the right monument….there are literally hundreds of monuments and statues in Odessa…..the park is to your right, Odessa Port is to your right and every day, regularly as clockwork, uniformed school children will parade from their “barracks/classrooms” down the approach to the monument and perform a ceremony, complete with loudspeaker commentary, in honour to the Lost Sailors from Odessa.

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The Park itself is large and provides welcome shade from the sun in summer by way of the old and densely packed trees.  It is home to a large number of dogs which roam free but they are nothing to be frightened off….in fact dogs running free in Odessa is something you will get used to very quickly.

The Chernomoretz Football Stadium is also next to Shevchenko Park in Odessa.

There is little more to say about Shevchenko Park…..other than it is a pleasant walk for those with time on their hands and who are tired of the beach!!

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