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Author Topic: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!  (Read 10638 times)

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Offline lindochka

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Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« on: September 10, 2009, 10:26:15 AM »
Most people who post their FSU pics have wonderful views of fabulous cities with well-known landmarks. I have some of those myself, but I figure you all know what St. Basil's looks like. I thought you might enjoy some views of everyday life here in Smallville, Belarus (not its real name, of course).

In this thread I invite you to join me on a shopping trip. These photos were taken May 8-9, 2009.
Life is so short we must move very slowly.

Offline lindochka

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2009, 10:28:22 AM »
A view of the front of my apartment. The apple tree is starting to bloom, but unfortunately all we'll get this year is apple blossoms.



A closeup of the "mystery" tree in my front yard, also in flower. It turns out to be a plum tree, but our neighbor tells us that this tree doesn't produce. Fortunately she turns out to have been wrong -- at the moment there are still a couple of dozen sweet and juicy white plums in the fridge!



Off to the bus stop -- we'll pass Chaika, the corner pub, on the way. In the nine years that I've been visiting Smallville before coming to live here, I've never been in Chaika. I'm told that ladies don't go there and neither do men with any class. The small yellow building to the left is a kiosk (mini-market) where you can get everything from beer to cat food.



And here we are at the bus stop, right next to the other kiosk on this particular corner. I grab stuff at both of these a few times a week because they are so convenient, but today I need to go further afield.

Several buses stop at this corner, most of which will take us where we're going. We have no printed bus schedules here in Smallville -- instead every bus stop has a painted metal sign which shows all the times for each route that stops here.

Life is so short we must move very slowly.

Offline Manny

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2009, 10:33:02 AM »
What a nice thread idea Lindochka.  :nod:

Smallville looks quite clean actually.
I apologise.
And so he should.........


Offline fireeater

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2009, 10:46:50 AM »
It is nice to see some Smallville landmarks, Gives you a better idea of what life is like, where historical building are nice they do not reflect everyday happenings.  :)

And life in Smallville would have a slower pace, something I enjoy whenever I am in one here.  ;D   

Offline lindochka

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2009, 10:51:40 AM »
Stopping for a rest in the park after shopping in the rynok. The rynok, which is just beyond that white fencing, was a zoo today (it's Friday), so I didn't even going to try to photograph in there!

To the right is a branch of BelarusBank with a handy bankomat, and a little further to the right is a currency exchange. (The Belarusian ruble is not the most stable of currencies, and most people who have any extra cash will use it to buy euros or dollars, then convert those back to rubles as needed.)

Down at the end of the park, just across the street from the rynok you can see some pensioneri who have set up their own area for selling. I often get homegrown produce from them and there is one lady there who sells the most fabulous honey! In the spring you can also get various plants ready to set in your garden -- flowers, strawberries, and even houseplants.



The park is sort of "under construction" just now; it's being resodded, new flowers and shrubs are being planted, benches are being repaired/repainted/replaced. I know it's corny, but I love this statue of bear cubs at play. (The barrel says "honey.")



All rested up, and it's time to head up Sovietskaya Street. This shop is called Orchids, and sells a variety of cosmetics and personal care items, fancy housewares and souvenir items, lingerie, and even gold jewelry. (If I'm not mistaken, our wedding bands came from here.)









Life is so short we must move very slowly.

Offline Chris

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2009, 10:55:01 AM »
Great thread Lindochka and good to see you around again.

Offline lindochka

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2009, 11:11:18 AM »
Yes, Manny, Smallville is very clean! The streetcleaners are mere feet away from our bedroom window at 6 AM every day. We can also drink the tap water here -- it's artesian well water. And Fireeater, the pace here is indeed rather slow, compared to a big city anywhere. I'm still getting used to that.

A view of Sovietskaya Street from in front of Orchids. Although this is a business district, there are private homes as well as shops along this street, which is one of the older streets in Smallville.



Get a hot water heater over there...



Spiffy new street sign, showing the city emblem of a ship carrying wheat down the Viliya River...



Almost to the bus stop. Ahead on the right is a small Orthodox shrine. There is also a war memorial coming up ahead on the left.



And here it is, all decked out for tomorrow's Victory Day observance.

Life is so short we must move very slowly.

Offline lindochka

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2009, 11:20:37 AM »
Thanks, Chris! It's nice to have the time to be back. (And to be able to "speak" English as well!)

As we wait for the bus across the street from the war memorial, we see schoolchildren from the nearby elementary school coming out to lay flowers and pay their respects. Tomorrow will be the really big observance for the whole town, but I think it's really nice that the kids are doing something today.

Please note that the kids are not specially dressed up for the occasion. By national law, all schoolchildren are required to wear "business dress" to school, and this is what schoolchildren look like every day here.





Life is so short we must move very slowly.

Offline lindochka

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2009, 12:29:09 PM »
Okay, I confess that I was very bad. I slept in and when I woke up I realized that I'd probably missed the Victory Day observance at the war memorial pictured above. By the time I got myself out the door and onto the bus, it was all over but the shouting. I decided to go shopping for some household items that I needed, so I went to a nearby shopping district. The bus was packed with elderly veterans bearing the bouquets with which they'd been presented.

As I got off the bus I spotted a female veteran and asked her permission to photograph her. She was a little surprised, but when I explained that I wanted to show the folks back home, she agreed and set down her purse and shopping bag so she could pose.





Note the medals. Over here it's common to see veterans of WWII/The Great Patriotic War wearing their medals for various ceremonial occasions. The men sometimes even wear them at other times, but I've only seen female veterans wearing theirs at official occasions.

As I shot, my subject and I talked. I explained to her that my father had served in WWII and I had tremendous respect for what the Allied soldiers from all countries had accomplished. I also told her I wanted people in the West to know how Soviet women had served their country as well as Soviet men had, and went on to say that in the US I had met several ladies who had sered in the Soviet army back then.

"Tell them what we did," she said to me. "Tell them what we did it because we had to stop the Fascists. We must remember." I told her that we knew, that we did remember, and that we thanked her and all vets for their service.

Whenever someone makes a snide remark about babushki I wonder if they have someone like this lady in mind.
Life is so short we must move very slowly.

Offline lindochka

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2009, 12:40:18 PM »
And speaking of babushki, here's another of Smallville's babushki, my cousin Olga. Her store is one of my favorite places to go for household items. I'd shop there even if Olga weren't my cousin because the shop stocks an amazing variety of stuff (qv) and Olga is very much oriented to customer service. But since Olga is my cousin, a stop at her shop means I not only get things I need but I also get caught up on things that are happening in the family that I might otherwise not hear about. (Photo posted with Olga's permission.)

Life is so short we must move very slowly.

Offline fireeater

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2009, 01:07:38 PM »
Now wait a minute.  :o   Are you saying those business dressed children look like that, all the time when wearing those clothes. No adjustments to the style, to show their little rebellious side, that teenagers enjoy inflicting on us. No hiked up skirts, ties in different postions. shirts hanging out etc.  :laugh: One of our two school boards here, needs to visit your country, and learn something, if that is the case.  ;D


Your cousin by the way does not seem to be old enough to be referred as a grandmother (even if she is) or an old lady. At least from her piciture. I would say more in the upper middle age category instead.  tiphat     


I am enjoying Smallville.  :biggrin:
 

Offline lindochka

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2009, 01:19:06 PM »
Yes, Fireeater, they really do look like that all the time on school days! We just went through outfitting two of my cousin-nieces for school and this is the first year in several that we haven't lost our minds trying to find something appropriate for the elder of the two as she has just started at university. The problem since this law was passed, when she was 14, is her height -- she's about 6' tall! (Hard enough to find jeans for her, business dress was even harder. But college kids have a lot more leeway with how they dress.)

Oh, and Olga's by no means an old lady -- you should have seen her kick it at her older son's wedding! But her first grandchild was born in 2001, so she is definitely a babushka!
Life is so short we must move very slowly.

Offline lindochka

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2009, 01:38:18 PM »
Olga's shop carries an amazing variety of stuff. I go there for household things mostly (and to BS with Olga, of course), but you can also find electrical supplies, garden stuff, pool toys, kitchen items, fancy giftware and linens, you name it. I wouldn't be surprised if you couldn't get a tank or a Kalashnikov there, but you might have to special-order those.

Bathmats and clothes-driers...



Kitchen wares, silicone caulk, various glues...



Fancy kitchen stuff and wedding/hostess gift sets...



Table linens, kitchen utensils (including a pelmenitsa which I bought that day), pinwheels to catch a spring breeze...



Seeds for your garden...

Life is so short we must move very slowly.

Offline WestCoast

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2009, 01:46:06 PM »
Great photos and story Lindochka.  I gather from your comment about speaking English that there are few English speaking people in the Smallville area?
Ipsa scientia potestas est. Knowledge itself is power.   Sir Francis Bacon

Offline lindochka

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2009, 01:50:02 PM »
Some kind of hardware under the seeds...



More hardware and electrical outlets and switches...



Giftware on the left side of the window display, still more hardware on the right (including PVC pipes for plumbing, garden tools, and the like)





Everything you might need to use at the kitchen or bathroom sink, except for the sinks themselves (and there's my pelmenitsa again)...



And my favorite item of all...
Life is so short we must move very slowly.