Saturday, August 25, 2007

Independence Day 2

The Independence Day celebration continues throughout the weekend. Early this morning, while on a trip to the market, we found a schedule of events. It noted the events we attended, as well as several others scheduled for the weekend. We took note of all of the events so that we could drop in on a few. Our morning jaunt was both task-oriented and exploratory. We had to pick up a few household items like clothespins, learn the mass times at the Roman Catholic church nearby, and check out a park we had seen from afar the other day. The park was particularly nice, with modern equipment, safety measures (rubber mats instead of sand), and a good variety of toddler-friendly toys. After playing on the slide/play structure, spinning on the merry-go-round, and swinging, Carter saw a flock of pigeons on a dilapidated basketball court. Instead of feeding them, he wanted to chase them. He had a blast running around after the birds who (barely) kept one step ahead of him. We had lunch at the Armenian restaurant that took over the Chicken Place. The food was fine - we had beans with walnuts, imam bayaldi, lavash (that Carter insisted was tortillas), pilaf, and lamb kebab - but it was no Chicken Place. The restaurant is near Market Square which was still decorated for the holiday. All of the statues of Greek/Roman gods were decked out in Ukrainian national garb - you can see Ukrainian-inspired Neptune on the left.

After resting up for a while in the apartment and having dinner, we decided to head back out to celebrate. We picked up a Yushchenko balloon for Carter, which you can see him attempting to feed Lea above, and decided to get a spot for the concert. The schedule said that there would be a concert featuring Ruslana from 7-8 p.m. on Market Square. She is a pop singer, Eurovision song contest winner, and former member of the national Ukrainian parliament whose music is in the Britney Spears mold (in the pre-meltdown stage), but with strong Ukrainian themes. While we find the formulaic, sugary dance music of Ruslana intolerable, how could we pass it up?

Around 8:20 p.m., the show started with apparently the first opening act, an orchestra. We expected to hear, perhaps, the national anthem or the works of a classical composer. Instead, we were treated to the old Ukrainian standard: "Theme from Raiders of the Lost Ark." As the concert continued, Carter was inspired to get out of his stroller and dance. You can see his patented moves to the left and the right. After the second act, a group of tenors began singing various tunes. Eventually, we decided to give up and head back. Carter was insistent on feeding the birds, but the pigeons had disappeared for the day. He (and they) will have to wait until tomorrow.

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