Friday, November 18, 2005

I'm back home from the hospital. Inshaallah, if all goes well and according to the plan, I'll return there on Nov. 28 and will have a c-section at the very beginning of December.


Nothing to write about except for the cab driver who took me home today: a relatively young father of four, a physicist, got really offended when I called him a cab driver, because that's a part-time job for him, something he's forced to do to feed the family. I explained I wasn't being arrogant: I myself would've loved to be a cab driver, only I'm too timid for that. And I'm grateful I don't have to, of course.

Even though their situations have nothing in common, he reminded me of all those "Russian" cabbies in Brooklyn, half of whom seemed to hold Soviet Ph.D.'s in something very complex, but were too old to study the language and then look for a proper job. Their kids and grandkids, though, have a lot more chances than this guy's kids. Then again, who knows, maybe everything will change here by the time they grow up...


  1. Greetings Neeka,

    I have had many interesting conversations with Ukraine's cab drivers. The tradition of the "philosopher-cabbie," or of the cabbie with his (and now very rarely her) finger on the pulse of society is quite alive and well.

    Here's something I wrote about cabbies in Ukraine from my most recent post to my blog:

    "This makes me think of the statement made by a taxi driver I had in Kyiv this past trip. His name was Bohdan, and he had lived in the US for 12 years and spoke excellent English. He asked me what I was doing in Ukraine, and I told him that I was making a documentary that was in part an answer to the critics of the OR who claim that, more or less, Ukrainians were the unwitting stooges of Western machinations. He asked me what a "stooge" was, and after I explained, he said back to me, "Well, I think that such people are the stooges of their own ideologies. . ." He was an educated fellow who had read Western philosophy and had trained to be an engineer oh so long ago, another one of those fabulously interesting cabbies I have shared time with in Ukraine (another was an anthropologist cabbie in Ivano-Frankivsk who talked on and on about the castles of Halychyna. . .).

    I begged him to let me film him saying this, but he declined my repeated requests by saying that he was just a taxi driver. . ."

    So this guy's reaction to being a cabbie was a bit different from the one that you encountered!


  3. Stefan! you're making me jealous!
    I want to be in a cab to be told about castles!! where can i find this cab driver? :)

  4. Augusto--

    He is actually quite easy to find; I've gotten into his cab twice, just by chance. He works the bus station in Kolomyja, now that I remember; I wrote that he was in Ivano-Frankivsk, but. . .the first time, he drove me and a friend (and two other people--we all split the fair for the cab) from Kolomyja to Ivano-Frankivsk (my friend is this great person from Jabloniv, a village not far from Kolomyja). The second time, he drove me from that bus station in Kolomyja to her house in Jabloniv. He's about 5 ft., 10 in. tall (I don't know what's that in meters and centimeters. . .about 1 1/2 m?), has blond hair, wears really thick glasses and is in his 40s. Smokes a lot. So, this means his description is that of many other men his age. Just look for someone with roughly that description and ask if he was an archaelogist in Soviet times.

    Anyhow, I forgot his name, but the whole trip from Kolomyja to Ivano, he told us this and that story about the castles of Halychyna, and he made the following point: Halychyna (Galicia) has as many castles per square km as France, which supposedly has the highest density of castles in continental Europe, according to him. Thus, how can anyone claim that Ukraine is not a European nation?

    If you find him, tell him that the Ukrainian girl from Jabloniv who studies in Toronto and the American guy with Ukrainian heritage sent you!