Life on the Mekong and Other Rivers

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog, including strong statements in support of weinerdog-riding monkeys, are our own, and not those of the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. government.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Ah, four day weekends are nice

Today is Constitution Day in Ukraine. Flags are flying, kids are gathered in groups reciting aloud the preamble and body of the constitution that they hold dear. Well, that's what I suspect they are doing, although it is more likely that they are just doing what they do every day, sitting around drinking beer in the park.

So today is a holiday. And because we all have to work next Friday for the Embassy Independence Day party at the Ambassador's residence, we had our 4th of July day off last Friday.

So a four day weekend. We had planned to hop in the car early Friday morning for a trip to the Sea of Azov with a Ukrainian colleague and his wife, but Jack was a bit sick last Wednesday night, and I had a long (short) week that meant I wasn't thrilled to drive 8 hours with a potentially sick and crabby kid. So we decided to hang around here.

Friday morning we gave the Blue Lake another try. As it was a work day for most people here, the place was empty. We also paid $5 each to go to a controlled-access part of the beach where they actually seem to rake up at least 50% of the cigarette butts, which made it better. Jack took a running header right into the water, but luckily I was standing thigh deep right where he landed and scooped him up right quick. He enjoyed the water, generally, the fall into the water less so.

Sunday we headed north about 130 KM to a place called Chernihiv, home to the blissful Chernigivske brewery. It's not just me that thinks the beer is transformative. Take a look at what the company's website says (about itself):

"Chernigivske" is a world of real feelings, desires and inspiration. This is the world where people raise above the routine cares, where they feel the pleasure of victory and warmness of relationship. "Chernigivske" is a moment of delight; you can allow yourself to get rest and be ready for a daily struggle, getting more confidence in your strength.
I couldn't have said it better myself. Sadly, we didn't get a chance to actually visit Chernigivske world and see the making of this magic elixir ourselves. But we did have our own little tasting at lunch, and, basically any time we drink beer, as it is our beer of choice. Who knew that's where the confidence in my strength came from.*

Instead, we ran around a park...

...gathering ever-larger sticks...

...and finally just faced off to a duel.

We sat under the watchful gaze of Taras Shevchenko, who looks to be disappointed in Jack and Nicole for some reason.

And we walked, stick in hand, on small retaining walls surrounding the city's old ramparts.

*In an attempt to get back to the beer-centric nature of the blog that some of our bigger fans have requested, each post from now on will include at least one significant reference to beer and/or beer-related activities, regardless of whether such a reference is unrelated to the theme of the post or renders the rest of the post meaningless or even offensive.


At 4:28 PM, Anonymous wendy p said...



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