Thursday, October 06, 2005


No idea if that title will come out in your browser, but it says (I think) Kyiv in Ukrainian (though it could be Russian since it seems both languages are used almost equally here).

Anyway, not much time to write much save to say that Kyiv/Kiev is big. Very big. It makes Bucharest look like a provincial city - and since Bucharest makes Brasov look like a small provincial town, and Brasov makes Miercurea Ciuc look like a remote hamlet, I think you can imagine the culture shock I am going through. Well, I'm not really because I've barely left the school where I'm working and the apartment in which i'm staying (which happens to be 100m up the road). This morning, I had a spare hour so clutching my map of "Central Kiev" I set off on a walk. After half an hour I'd barely crossed into the next grid reference. It's bloody massive. Anyway, I have some time on Saturday so will check out the interesting bits - various orthodox cathedrals, Dynamo Kiev's stadium, the river Dnipro, Victor Yushenko's skin condition, faded orange TAK! flags, etc etc.

I watched a bit of the music channel on TV here this morning, and noticed a striking contrast with its Romanian counterpart. On the Romanian version to fill up screen space for their attention-challenged teenaged audience, they invite you to SMS your name and the name of your boyfriend/girlfriend and then some random computer generated bollocks pops up predicting the chance of your relationship being "the one", purportdely based on some scientific methodology of name matching. Here in Ukraine you are invited to SMS your name and your year of birth, and the self same scientific computer analysis will randomly chuck out the amount of money you are likely to get (in the next year? in your life? its not clear to me). I'm not sure if this twist tells you anything about the cultural differences between Romania and Ukraine. (The financial gains are written out in Euros which only goes to show how much penetration the Euro has gained. When I was in Lviv in 2002 it was dollars or nothing.)

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