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Author Topic: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!  (Read 13961 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.


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.

Offline lindochka

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2009, 01:57:21 PM »
... the rukomoika!



This device is generally to be found in country homes where there is no running water, the name means hand-washer. It's installed above the (dry) kitchen sink and is regularly filled with well water for cooking and washing hands. It holds a couple of litres of water. To wash your hands, just pull up the knob on the top and water comes out through the spout on the bottom.

The old ones I've seen in the past were made of metal, this is the 21st century plastic version.
Life is so short we must move very slowly.

Offline lindochka

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2009, 02:04:25 PM »
Thanks, WestCoast!  tiphat

I'm the only native speaker of English here in Smallville, and one of few people locally who can actually speak English. It's a very popular choice for foreign language study, but the teaching methods for foreign language are kind of old fashioned, and there's little if any conversation practice. The older of my two favorite cousin-nieces, now a freshman at university in Minsk, was kicking herself that she never took me up on my offer to practice with her in all the years I visited every summer and stayed at her home. (She realized what she had not learned in years of study of English at school when she took her entrance exams for university.)
Life is so short we must move very slowly.

Offline Eduard

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2009, 02:05:23 PM »
Great thread, Linda! I'm very surprised how clean and nice everything looks in Smallville Belarus! A lot cleaner than Smallville, Russia or Ukraine!
By the way I also wanted to mention that you sound like a delightful person and now I understand why AM can't find a good AW in the US - they are all moving to Belarus!!!  :-X

Offline lindochka

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2009, 02:14:20 PM »
Pelmenitsa and new kitchen sponges paid for and tucked into my shopping bag, I stopped off for bread on the way home from Olga's shop. We like to keep baton (which vaguely resembles its French counterpart) and dark bread on hand, so that's what I got. There are actually two kinds of dark bread of the type pictured, I got the medium version instead of the really dark one. There is a third loaf of this type, a nice, dense white bread that is not made of overly refined flour so it still has some nutritional value.



And I don't know if these breadboxes are found all over the FSU or not. They're made in Poland and extremely typical in Smallville and elsewhere in Belarus. They're available in many colors so you can easily coordinate them with your kitchen. (I have the large version, there is also a smaller one.)

Life is so short we must move very slowly.

Offline lindochka

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2009, 02:26:49 PM »
Ed, you'll make me blush. I like to think that women like me are the proof that immigrants can preserve their cultural values in the West, because my grandparents emigrated from the Russian Empire, not the USSR or the FSU.

And the cleanliness here is amazing. It's very unusual to see litter around and people take a dim view of it when they see it. I've been pleasantly surprised to see mothers here who are riding buses or walking with their kids taking empty candy wrappers or chips bags when the children are finished with their snacks and stowing them in their shopping bags, to be thrown away as soon as a trash container appears. My mother did the same with me and my brother, we would never have thought to toss trash onto the sidewalk.

And I think that's an important part of what I like about life here. Not just the attitude about littering, but the attitudes about a lot of things that remind me of what life was like in the US when I was a good deal younger.

Life is so short we must move very slowly.

Offline Chris

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2009, 02:32:30 PM »


And I think that's an important part of what I like about life here. Not just the attitude about littering, but the attitudes about a lot of things that remind me of what life was like in the US when I was a good deal younger.



Good old fashioned morals and attitudes, sadly they are missing from a lot of Western life.

Offline Eduard

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2009, 02:53:09 PM »
Ed, you'll make me blush. I like to think that women like me are the proof that immigrants can preserve their cultural values in the West, because my grandparents emigrated from the Russian Empire, not the USSR or the FSU.

And the cleanliness here is amazing. It's very unusual to see litter around and people take a dim view of it when they see it. I've been pleasantly surprised to see mothers here who are riding buses or walking with their kids taking empty candy wrappers or chips bags when the children are finished with their snacks and stowing them in their shopping bags, to be thrown away as soon as a trash container appears. My mother did the same with me and my brother, we would never have thought to toss trash onto the sidewalk.

And I think that's an important part of what I like about life here. Not just the attitude about littering, but the attitudes about a lot of things that remind me of what life was like in the US when I was a good deal younger.


blushing is good! brings blood circulation to your cheeks and makes your skin healthyer  tiphat
Yes. I too enjoy "clean". When ever I go to Crimea it really bothers me how people have no respect for their country and land. There are so many gorgeous places there with a combination of Black Sea and the mountains, but almost everywhere you see piles of trash which really detracts from all the beauty.... public Bathrooms are a horror that may haunt a western person for years to come... There is always a big difference once I land in Amsterdam or elsewhere in the West - things are clean, airline workers are friendly and professional...you just know that you are in the West now.

Online msmoby

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2009, 03:16:03 AM »

Yes. I too enjoy "clean". When ever I go to Crimea it really bothers me how people have no respect for their country and land. There are so many gorgeous places there with a combination of Black Sea and the mountains, but almost everywhere you see piles of trash which really detracts from all the beauty.... public Bathrooms are a horror that may haunt a western person for years to come... There is always a big difference once I land in Amsterdam or elsewhere in the West - things are clean, airline workers are friendly and professional...you just know that you are in the West now.

Hmm, Ed, are you know saying Ukrainians are "messier" !? ;)  I have seen PLENTY of places in the west that are as bad - if not worse.

Lindochka - this is a GREAT thread...




Offline Jared2151

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2009, 09:29:43 AM »
Lindochka,

  Thank you for sharing.  You would be a great embassador.

I would have loved to bought the vetran babuska lunch and talked with her about her life.  People like her are so interesting.

Again, Thank You !

Offline GreyScales

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Re: Smallville, Belarus -- go shopping with Lindochka!
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2009, 10:39:20 AM »
Lindochka,

I'm curious....  What's the internet there like?  I remember when I was in Togliatti, I could "purchase" prepaid internet cards and use dialup.  My wife had a "high speed" connection wired into her apartment and had really good access - for around 500 rubles a month.

I can see "retiring" to a place like that quite easily :)


GS


 

 

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