Tough Times Ahead
It’s become rather difficult in recent weeks to remain upbeat about the state of affairs in Ukraine. The stock market continues to drop precipitously, prices continue to rise for all things except real estate (apparently it’s a buyer’s market these days as all people scramble for cash) and in parliament a fight broke out the other day, which as my next-door neighbor needn’t have pointed out to me, this is how the world sees Ukraine’s government handling a deepening crisis – with loutish behavior. It’s pathetic.
This could well be the winter of discontent for many. Already several friends have lost their jobs or are about to bid farewell to Ukraine in search of sunnier pastures, and prospects for finding work are grim (though debt/bill collections might be the best option for us). Even my work trying to encourage donations of prizes/gifts for the Tombola (raffle) booth at the International Women’s Club of Kyiv (IWCK) Christmas Charity Bazaar (coming up on Saturday, Dec. 6) has so far felt like pulling teeth. It all begs me to ask the question, is it worth sticking around any longer?
Ukraine and its leaders just aren’t ready to handle the challenge of the future; it seems an abstract notion to them that they might have to plan for anything, and the fight in parliament only suggests they are prone to panic, fear and other lower brain stem emotions. Calm, rational thought is not their province. The value of the hryvnia continues to sink. The banking sector is struggling to stay afloat. Inflation remains a major problem. It’s going to be a long winter, folks.
Speaking of the IWCK bazaar
Only those in Kyiv living under a rock haven’t found out yet that the IWCK Christmas Charity Bazaar will take place at the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce building (33 Bolshoi Zhitomirskaya) on Saturday, Dec. 6, starting at 10 am. The annual event, now into its 16th year, remains the single-largest charity event in the country, raising well more than $100,000 each year for needy local charities. You will even see me and Go2Kiev.com’s one and only Beate Schober there, doing our best to help raise money at the event.
One of the things I like best about the bazaar is seeing all the different pavilions run by so many of the embassies represented in Kyiv. From Pakistan and Peru to England, Estonia, Japan and Spain, the embassies and their staff members sell little bits of home as part of the common effort. Some of the most highly prized items include maple syrup from Canada, cheese from the Netherlands, wine from France and the food at the Indian and German pavilions. It’s a great way to get some really authentic, hard-to-find items, sample some great cuisine and give to charity at the same time!
Make sure to mark the date (Dec. 6!) on your calendar and get some Christmas shopping done early this year by attending. And don’t forget to come early and bring your friends!
Fans of James Bond 007 will be surely looking to see the new Bond film, “Quantum of Solace”, in local cinemas over the coming weeks, though for many non-Ukrainians, the prospect of seeing stars Daniel Craig and Ukraine’s own Olga Kurylenko with voices dubbed in Ukrainian leaves a lot to be desired. Despite a one-off screening of the film by the American Chamber of Commerce Nov. 11, all cinemas in town that normally show films in their original language will be showing “Quantum of Solace” – essentially the sequel to the last 007 installment, “Casino Royale” – only dubbed in Ukrainian.
Instead, however, Kinopanorama on Shota Rustaveli (the cinema is just opposite from Georgian restaurant Tiflis) will show the 2007 French drama “La Graine et le mullet” (known internationally simply as “Couscous”) beginning Nov. 14 at 9pm and playing at least once daily through Nov. 19. The drama, about a 60-year-old dockworker and divorcee in Sete, southern France, revolves around a man’s wish for a better life, symbolized by his dream to build and run his own restaurant. It might not be James Bond, but at least for those who understand French, it’s something.