Friday, December 16, 2011

A walk in the winter

D and I had a nice walk around our neighborhood this afternoon. We left at 2 PM which gave us a solid 3 hours before darkness set. It was so pleasant to be out and not thinking about work...or physically at work....I almost forgot a Kharkov existed outside of the Kharkov I work in.

Almost overnight Christmas trees have appeared on the streets to be sold. There are usually about 30 fresh trees being guarded by an old woman or young man, then another 30 trees and another old woman or young guy ten meters or so down the street. (Oh, the meter! So European :p) There are also little tables selling Christmas lights, year of the dragon accessories, and ornaments. We had previously spent forever and a day searching for Christmas lights that didn't blink obnoxiously but were unable to find any. D thought this may have been because anything on continuously would be a fire hazard, so I settled for flashing lights.

We walked past the congestion of the city and towards the outskirts of town. We saw a lot of English graffiti- "no Nazi scum!", "love music, hate racism", cool drawings- and I cursed myself for not bringing a camera. Oh well! We passed several universities and a military academy with a tank in front of it and red Soviet hammer & sickles on the fence. There was a soldier sweeping a vast expanse of sidewalk with a little broom while leaves continuously scattered themselves over the pavement. We wandered through a wintery and deserted "Youth Park". We found a professional honey store with beekeeping gear and sampled a bunch of honey on little sticks. The shopkeeper scolded us for putting honey in tea; she said that exposing honey to boiling hot water destroys its health benefits. The sky was dark when we emerged from the shop, so we headed to the market to do our shopping. The temperature dropped and the wind was pretty fierce but there were still crowds of people out on the street. I've noticed that men have the most fashion freedom during the winter- they can wear anything. Children of all ages have no choice but to wear complete snowsuits. Women tend to wear a uniform of a black hat (often decked with rhinestones), mid-thigh down parka, skinny jeans, and tall boots. Occasionally this trend will be broken by a woman wearing shorts, tights, and boots but the popularity of this outfit has decreased with the colder weather. I find it ironic that I get stared down for wearing warm tights and a skirt with heels (Timur calls them "summer shoes") but it's not rare to see a woman wearing boots and a miniskirt with only nylons. Call me crazy, but heels and warm tights keep me warmer in December than a miniskirt and knee-length boots! Anyways, we made it back to the warmth of our apartment and are getting ready to fire up (literally) the oven to make a pizza....

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