Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Istanbul is wonderful, as ever. I wanted to post pictures but the are down for maintenance now. Will try to do it later.

I can't believe I was in Kyiv just two days ago. Friends are sending us sms with the news - the latest one was about Tymoshenko speaking on the odious Donetsk Ukraina TV station, wearing an orange Shakhtar shirt given to her by Akhmetov. They kept bitching about those poor people who died at the polling station and blamed Tymoshenko for it - because, according to them, it's her fault that the election amendment got passed - and she replied that Yushchenko and herself, as well as her bloc, did not vote for the amendment, while Yanukovych's bloc, pro-Kuchma majority and the Communists did. The loud crowd outside the studio were calling Tymoshenko "Yushchenko's whore" - and it was audible in the studio.

Apart from the sms, I am trying to follow what's going on through Abdymak, Discoshaman, TulipGirl and Orange Ukraine - thanks! Still, it's totally weird not to be in Kyiv. Funny to be in the same situation that many of my friends and those have have left comments here are in - to see it all through someone else's eyes... In the local English-language paper today, there was just a little picture of that ancient-looking woman (who's just 66 in reality), wrapped in the Ukrainian flag and cheering for Yushchenko. The picture was on page one, at least.

But I needed this vacation. Last time I was reminded of it was on Sunday, when I was scammed out of 200 hryvnias (approximately $40): I was sitting in the Dnipro Hotel lobby, waiting for the colleague I was assisting that day, and a man sat next to me, said Good morning, told me he was from Bangladesh, on business in Ukraine, named Sadek, with a wife at home and no way to get there because he was dragged out of a taxi on his way to the airport, beaten and robbed. He said he had no passport and no money to buy an international phone card, and that he had gone to the post office and tried to exchange his ring for a phone card but the woman there was a bitch and didn't take it, and now he was sitting here waiting for some foreigners to show up, totally embarassed about having to beg them for money. He didn't tell it all so fast - there was lots of small talk, about hot weather in Bangladesh, about their 1970 election, about him being a Muslim, etc. He was nice even though his accent in English was kind of crazy - and I was in a wonderful mood, having just voted. Man, I loved the whole world then - this time Yushchenko is definitely going to win, and my vote will help him to! So I ended up giving the Bengali guy 200 hryvnias, which is a lot - it takes many people a month to earn this amount. He took my phone number and gave me his, and said he'd come back to the hotel (he stayed at Dnipro, he said) to return the money. After he left, I heard this song on the radio in the lobby - don't know who sings it but it goes like this - What if God was one of us... [...] ... Trying to make His way home... How fitting, I thought.

Normally, I'm not that dumb, really. But I slept too little that night, and I was so afraid to be late for my appointment that I came 20 minutes early, and as I've already said, I was blinded by happiness. Of course, he didn't show up in the evening. I spoke to people at the reception - they didn't have visitors from Bangladesh. I warned them about the guy, just in case. In case there are idiots like me out there. And then I realized once again that I need a vacation badly.

So here I am in Istanbul, totally loving it. One of the best cities in the world.

I'll post pictures as soon as the fotopages are back. (Just noticed that my blog looks all screwed up on this computer - first, there are the links, and to get to the actual text, I have to scroll down all the way past the link... - but who cares, I'm not gonna try to fix anything right now...)

Hope it'll all end wonderfully in Kyiv.

Love to all,


  1. I reside in NYC and have been scammed quite often. I always end up being hard on myself - I should have known better, what was I thinking? was I thinking? But I have finally come to terms with it. Trusting is just my bad little habit. I don't smoke or gamble or drink or do illegal drugs. Instead I trust that the person who asks me for change for food or to make a phone call or to get a cup of coffee or whatever is actually going to use the money for what they say they will. As long as I can afford it, I don't care about being scammed. Because I would rather be one of those people who gets scammed than someone who is so hardened against it. After all, someday I may need a boost.

  2. The song's called "One of Us," by Joan Osbourne, from the CD "Relish." Great CD.

    - scott

  3. HAPPY NEW YEAR Veronica!

  4. Happy New Year Neeka! Yeah "One of Us" was Joan Osbourne's one hit wonder pop song in the USA from back in the 90s... I have one question...other then the poll worker, who died at the polling station you mention above? One more obstacle left to overcome (The UKranian Supreme Court will reject Yanukovich's appeals) before Yushchenko is parents-in-law are flying to Kiev to be at his Inauguration!! Best Wishes - Albert and Irina

  5. Enjoy your vacation! We went to Egypt in the fall, and it wasn't until I was on the plane and felt giddy and giggly that I realized how stressed I had been and how much I *needed* a vacation.

    Hubby wants to go to Turkey sometime this spring--we've heard a lot about Istanbul.

    Relax and enjoy writing. . .