Tuesday, February 05, 2008

On 'Super-Tuesday', Pan Cogito's Thoughts Turn, Unexpectedly, To Youth, Magic Horns, Village Folk Theater, and Magic Mountains ...

... "I haven't told you about my trip to Dragobrat in January [2008] yet. Frankly speaking, I didn't expect that we have such beauty in Ukraine. It is the highest mountain resort in our country! We went there by train to Ivano-Frankivsk, then by jeep, because other vehicles are unable to ride on [such] extreme mountain road. There are only hotels for tourists and all the infrastructure for skiing and snowboarding. We stayed at hotel "La romany", it is called so because the owners and all the staff are roumanians. It was very interesting to learn more about their culture.

There we rode on snowboards, walked around the mountains and climbed up to the top (the highest one is called Zhandarm, 1800 m). The day before departure, on January, 13 (old-style new year) we dressed as folk characters of ukrainian vertep (street theatre) and walked around the village making performances and singing shchedrivky (special carols which people sing on this day). It was very bright. People took photos with us and gave us some money. To me, this tradition is a bit similar to American Halloween by its "trick or treat". In general, I got lots of warm memories after this trip." ...

(c) J.M. 2008

'The ski industry helped the Carpathian Mountains region of Ukraine pull out of an economic slump caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union.'

[Though less materially rich than either Poland or the Russian Federation, Ukraine --like the Czech Republic or Japan or Sweden -- has significantly less income inequality than do those two neighbouring countries. In fact, Ukraine's degree of income inequality is today exactly the same of that of Austria; while income inequality in the Russian Federation is now approaching the level of that of the United States.]

Photo and caption credit: (c) Anne Sherwood for the New York Times. 2006. All rights reserved. With thanks.


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