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Locomotives, exhibitions, and nature

May 10, 2011

Choo choo!

Our first full day in Haivoron/Gaivoron dawned grey and cold. Thus the warning to me to bring “warm clothing”. I did not realize that we had backslid into fall/winter, so between the cold and the wetness, I was a bit chilly. Wet feet, wet jeans, and I borrowed a coat from one of the Sergeys, so I was wearing four layers. Ah well. Off we went after breakfast to the train yard, and found a steam-powered locomotive waiting for us! The photogs went crazy taking pictures of it.

After finally getting everyone on the train (we had the engine and one car), we were off. After a short time, we stopped, and were told to come off the train. Most of us did not know what was going on, but we soon found out when the train backed over the bridge we had just crossed, waited a few minutes, and then came at us – providing us with many fabulous photo opportunities (if it was not for the guy who had a tripod and went in front of all of us).

So that was photo stop number one. Then it was back on the train, and onward we went. We stopped five times, including once for lunch. All of the places were clearly planned but if a

She's not his daugher, but she is learning from a pro

person did not know that, they would have seemed somewhat random – I mean, the one stop had a path that led into the woods, which led to an abandoned store and an abandoned house. I wondered why anyone was living in the middle of nowhere near a train track but it did not matter, as they were no longer there.

Lunch at a small village was interesting – my instinct was to hang back and wait for the Ukrainians to lead the way regarding how we were going to do this. Luckily, my instinct turned out to be correct, and we all bought some items, then all put them on a couple of tables (which we had put together) and all shared. I avoided the salo and also the mushroom adjika, but otherwise ate well, as usual with Ukrainians.

Somewhere during this I noticed that there was a familiar face – the same woman who had interviewed me at the photo exhibit back in December was on the train excursion with us. I tried to avoid her but she caught up with one of the other Americans, who agreed to be interviewed if I was with her. I meant to stay quiet but, well, that was not possible. I only vaguely noticed after the interview that at the next stop, the TV photographer/videographer was following me. I did not think anything of it at the time…but I had told Theo that we were indeed going to be on television. I had mentioned my last interview to her, and how badly I did, and she said “your interview was my editor’s favorite part of my program”. Well, suffice it to say, that was pretty much a guarantee that I would be on television again (and we were, a couple of days later. Someone sent me the link to the segment, which is now on YouTube).

After getting back to town, we were brought to the house of culture, where we were greeted by girls in traditional Ukrainian dress, watched a presentation about Gaivoron, what is has to offer for tourists, and the like. Then we received our certificates of participation (because there is no event here without a certificate for each participant) and went to the exhibit, which was the photographs taken by this same group of people at their February excursion (the one I missed because I was at training).

But there’s more! Just when we thought the day was over and we returned to our “camp”, Theo and I were invited to socialize a bit, then it was dinner time – quite the feast, with musicians and more photos!

Heights are not my favorite thing, but I had to go down to get the photo

Second full day (i.e., Wednesday) – we woke up wondering, after the events of the previous day, how things could get better. This day was much more low-key. We ate breakfast later, then went to nature – first to a dam area, then to a field, then to the river and THEN to a HUGE machine/tractor of some kind, that used to be used for strip mining, and is still sitting there.

Whoops! Are we not supposed to be up here?

After becoming a bit bored at the river (we were way up high and it was beautiful because the metals from the mining made the water a turquoise color, but it was hard to get a good photo from our angle), a few of us returned to the tractor. One of the men and Katya (the little girl) had decided to climb into the cab, so Theo and I went as well. It was really interesting, however, while we were there, we got yelled at by nearly everyone else for going up (and who do you think got the blame for that little trick??) but I got a couple of interesting photos out of it!

Then we went to yet another industrial type area, and by then, people were getting hungry…no lunch stop for us that day! When we returned to “camp” Theo and I had a special photo session with one of the photographers. She had asked us if we would pose for her, and put a different memory card into her camera for it. It reminded me of when I was an artists’ model and I look forward to seeing those photos too.

Where can you see photos from this trip? Why on Picasa of course! And the last two days are in my next blog entry…

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