Friday, 12 May 2017

Kyiv Beach!

To the beach!

We come to Kiev and what is the first thing we do? We go to the beach! Last time we were here, we went on a boat trip and, through the rain-swept windows of the boat, we saw a beach. And today, we went 5 stops on the Metro to Obolon in the north of the city. By the way, the fare for the Metro is 3 uah for all journeys. That is 10 centi­mos in euros. I've included a photo of an escalator in the Metro, I can't remember which station. I think I said in a previous post that they were built so deep in preparation for World War 3 which fortunately hasn't arrived yet. But the length of the journey on the escalator, with the low rumbling of the mechanism is impressive. One evening, coming back from the Eurovision concert, people were taking a seat (or a step!) Marina told me later that it was not permitted to take photos in the Metro!

We stopped on the way from the station to buy some food from a supermarket and we both used an ATM for some cash. It was unseasonably warm, I would guess upper 20s Centigrade. We took some photos when we arrived at the beach. There are wonderful views of the city and there are many blocks of expensive and modern-looking flats along the river-front. Very un-Russian looking. We took a seat on some car tyres and unpacked our lunch, smoked salmon and cheese wedged between slices of bread. We were both drinking water. Marina says I drink too much but, here, I drink in great moderation, never during the day. If she saw me back home in Spain, then she would be correct but not here.

We had left the hotel quite late, about 12pm, so very soon it was late afternoon and Marina wanted to go to the Red Carpet event at Eurovision but I hadn't bothered to check it out and in fact it was only open to pass-holders and I am not sure how they obtained those. We stopped at a bar near by to use the toilets and I bought an obligatory fruit tea. We called a taxi from the bar and took a wonderfully fast journey down past the river to the Mariyinski Palace. We arrived at around 5.30pm but our attempts to get anywhere near the event were futile with lots of police around. We walked up through the park, then back down to the road. Up the road. Marina cursing that she was just an ordinary person and these people are superior. I replied that it was slightly more prosaic than that; we hadn't bought tickets!

So, these two very ordinary people went to the club where we would be accepted as members, The Eurovision Village. After a very short distance I realised where we were, Maidan Nezalezhnosti (maidan is square). And about 200m beyond Maidan was a large enclosed space with a big screen showing celebs arriving and being interviewed. Toe-curling.. "I am so pleased to be here, I am looking forward to sharing my music with you..with diversity". But not diversity in language. The Times newspaper noted that 80% of the songs in Eurovision are in English.

I am sure you know by now that Marina likes to pose. I don't mean that she is a poseur! Show her a Eurovision backdrop and she is hanging her bag around my neck and leaping onto the stage. I have attached a few examples here. 

We stayed in the village for about an hour watching these awful interviews. But of course, many people take Eurovision seriously, all about national pride. I explained that the UK thought it was all one big joke, maybe because they don't win very often. Terry Wogan made an art of taking the mickey out of the performers and Graham Norton has followed on the tradition. Why the BBC uses Irish commentators, I guess it is just coincidence. For those who are not familiar with UK TV personalities, Terry Wogan, who died about a year ago, was considered a (UK) national treasure. He was not terribly old but, by then, I think Graham Norton had taken over. 

Marina remembered that there was an event at Poshtova Plosha so we walked back to Maiden and took the Metro one stop to the square. It is right by the river as you can see from the photos. There was a karaoke competition - some of the singers were very good. And some not so good. But I felt sorry for them because they obviously had good voices but were a little nervous and for a singer, that is fatal because the air supply from the diaphragm collapses and the voice goes with it. A voice needs a firm foundation. If that goes, all hell lets loose!

I thought about having a beer while Marina watched the singers but the service was so slow that I gave up and returned to her. We left at around 8pm and took the Metro back to the hotel.
We had a meal in the restaurant and retired to our individual rooms. It is a bit tough on us singles that hotels normally charge for rooms, not occupants. A single room does not exist, we could have shared a room for half the price but Marina wasn't very keen on that! Me neither actually.

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