The Streets Are Where the Shopping Is

Shopping: one of my favorite topics on this blog.  That is in part because I can spend a shocking amount of time doing it — if security is watching me circling the store and staring for prolonged periods at items, they must surely be placing me under suspicion — and in part because shopping in a foreign place is one of the most interesting things to do.  Last weekend I finally bought a pair of winter boots, a major accomplishment checked off my list.  I tried on so many pairs at one particular shop that I caught a look at myself in the mirror and was amused by the sweat on my brow.  Also, a little grossed out. Anyhow, when I triumphantly brought the chosen pair to the register, I found that I was 4 hryvnias short of the 1499 hryvnia price.  That’s 17 cents.  A walk home and back later, the furry leather gems were mine.

2015-11-13 11.20.53It’s just a pity that they set off the security alarm every time I go into or out of my grocery store, Silpo.  (After the second offense, I found the culprit by sticking my boot back into the security gate and tripping the alarm.  Mr. Security Guy and I both said, “Ahh!”)

Although I purchased said boots at one of the malls here in Cherkasy, I have found that many of the stores here have boutique prices and, not surprisingly, very few customers.  “Who is buying this stuff?” I have asked a number of my colleagues, and it seems that there is a slice of the population here who is very well-to-do and has nice houses a bit away from the center.  I guess so, or these stores wouldn’t be making any money.

So where do the majority of folks do their shopping?  Well, there are numerous second-hand stores, from which I have purchased a number of clothing items, as well as many “shops” that you don’t exactly walk into.  It was a new sight for me when I first walked into the mall across the street and saw that most of the places on the first floor were like little inlets, with merchandise lining the walls.

2015-10-15 10.10.56
At many of these shops, you stand at the counter and ask for what you would like. Or, point and play a fun game of charades.
2015-10-15 10.11.52
That is as far back as you can go in the cell phone store. Note the dubious name. Note also the bakery, and more cell phone kiosks down the way.

But the real action is on the streets.  I have already mentioned the enormous outdoor market a block from my place,which hums with activity. But most everywhere you go, you will see kiosks selling items of all sorts.

A coffee/bakery joint, and ice cream
A coffee/bakery joint, and ice cream, right in front of the mall.
These kiosks with rolls are a common sight. This one is right next to my building.
These kiosks with rolls of various sorts are a common sight. This one is next to my building.
This woman uses the back of a truck to sell bread.

And then you have many folks selling things without any structure at all.  I’m wondering how cold it gets before they call it quits.

I think this is popcorn. How long does it take to get to the bottom of the bag?
Fish, anyone? Slabs of meat may also be sold from, uh, bags on the ground.
Fish, anyone? Slabs of meat may also be sold from, uh, bags on the ground.
You can quickly buy some undies before hopping on the bus.
You can grab a pair of undies before hopping on the bus.
There is a sizable group of
There is a sizable group of “babushkas” who sell flowers at the corner in front of McDonald’s. I haven’t bought any yet, but sometime I will.

I could take pictures all day of outdoor shopping, but these were just from walking around the block I live on.  And that ends this episode of “Foreign Shopping.”  Join me next time for “Land of Fabulous Yogurt.”

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3 thoughts on “The Streets Are Where the Shopping Is

  1. Jeanie, I’ve just read everything! You write so wonderfully, I almost feel I’m there with you. Well, maybe not exactly.

    I don’t think I know what program you are affiliated with. Also, it appears you are not affected by the war going on in Ukraine. True? I hope so. I also hope you are as happy as your posts sound. Glenda

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    1. You can read more about the program if you go to the “About” page. I have an English Language Fellowship with the U.S. Department of State – there are 157 of us in over 60 countries around the world for 10 month fellowships this year. And yes, I am not directly affected by the war, except that I am working with a number of displaced persons from the eastern regions.

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  2. Your blog is wonderful! Thanks so much for the arm-chair visit to the Ukraine. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. (Shopping for a turkey?)

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