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Cozy in Kalmykia

June 20, 2009

It is so nice to get to a Buddhist culture. Not that the other cultures were not good. There’s just something heartwarming about seeing billboards of the Dalai Lama and the Karmapa along the roads, and having the center of town be a giant pagoda with a prayer wheel inside. I’ll start with some pictures from our day in Moscow. and then dive into Elista.

Moscow Arm

Moscow Arm

Fallen Hero

Fallen Hero

The Wait

The Wait

Heads of State

Heads of State

From a visual celebration of Russia’s Soviet past to a realistic reminder of standard Soviet precedure. This is a monument in Elista recalling 1946, when Staln gave the Kalmyks two hours notice to board boxcars and be shipped to Siberia for over 10 years. Monument1886

At the Airport, Elista

At the Airport, Elista

So, we go from Soviet irrationalism to regional nationalism. At this point of the cultural survival impulse it is great to see everyone trying to figure out who they are and where they came from.

Buddhist Billboard

Buddhist Billboard

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Americans are well liked in Kalmykia

Americans are well-liked in Kalmykia

Elena shows us our room

Elena shows us our room

We stayed in this wild “chess” hotel for our first night. I’ll do a chess post later as it is their national pastime. Elena is one of a team of wonderful English language professionals who have been taking very good care of us. Tomorrow she says she’ll take us to the tank monument.

Water pipe jumping

Water pipe jumping

Vivian has been giving workshops every day. Sometimes I hang out at the school. These kids are jumping over the above ground hot water pipes that run all through Russia and the FSU.

Desk and Chairs

Desk and Chairs

This was sitting in the school corridor.

Gayla in the playground

Gayla in the playground

One day I did a mini photo workshop with some of the students. We climbed all over campus.

Sacha, Galya and the waterpipes

Sacha, Galya and the waterpipes

Sacha gets a phone call

Sacha gets a phone call

Students at camp

Students at camp

I’m out of internet time so I’ll add to this later.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Donir permalink
    June 20, 2009 11:44 am

    pictures are great =) i noticed that you have a specific optics =) i’ve never seen this before

    p.s. i’m that cameraman =) and i like to take pgotos too, but mostly i like to shot (sorry for my mistakes if any)

    • June 21, 2009 5:40 am

      Hi Donir, I’m glad you like my pictures. I use a very simple old zoom lens that only goes from 35-70 mm. Is that what you were asking about? I hope to see you on Monday and we can talk.
      Frank

  2. tsaGana permalink
    June 21, 2009 2:31 am

    Did noone inform you about that half of our people were genocide during that deprtation that was ethnic-cleansing by Russians elder-brothers who took everything afterwards? Also half my own family were murdered during that terror. Look at the faces of them on that monument please. Walk on the railroad track, do you see the blood-river of my ancestry there? Please, take this more seriously! I wish you could go there on our remebereance day 28 december and see us, our poor people weeping greief for all their lost loved ones. Only because I live outside can I write this to you, truly.

    • June 21, 2009 5:35 am

      tsaGana, Thanks for your remarks. You are absolutely correct in your response. I am writing from inside the country. You say it is only because you are outside that you can write what you write. I do not feel in a position to go into detail about such terrible past events for the additional reason that I am not as well informed as you. For instance, I mistakenly gave the date of forced exile of the Kalmyks as 1946. As you know, it was December 28th, 1943.

      So please do not take my brevity as an insult. The Soviets did many irrational acts against humanity of which the exile of the Kalmyks is one of the worse. The forced famine of the Ukrainians and several nuclear catastrophes also ruined thousands of innocent lives. I am sorry for the many losses of your people.

  3. Kermen permalink
    June 21, 2009 6:05 am

    hello:)
    i agree with Donir, pictures are great!:)
    especially i like “water pipe jumping”, “desk and chairs” (you find something unusual in usual things.) and an american flag looks gorgeous 🙂

    p.s. i am a girl with an old camera:)

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