Thursday, December 11, 2008

Playing Hookey

I'm not sure what this guy was advertising but everybody on the street was in awe. We all looked like Asian tourists - snapping photos left and right!

On the boat

Eric and Joseph at Balaklava

The whole area was this pretty!

The submarine yard is in this hill. Entrance on lower right.

Tunnel leading into the submarine yard. Secret exit into the Black Sea.

Secret entrance into the yard.

So today we took Joseph out of school so that we could take him to Balaklava. This is the port right outside of Sevestopol that housed the "hidden submarine yard." Apparently Stalin had this place built in order to protect the submarines from Atomic threats. There is room for 8 submarines to be hidden and repaired inside of the hills surrounding Balaklava. In the summer of 1957 the town disappeared; Balaklava became secret. Its name was erased from every map. All entrances and exits to and from the town were closed and carefully protected by KGB officials. The only people allowed in were those with proper credentials. It took 4 years to get the place built and apparently it is just huge inside. We didn't actually get to take the tour inside the yard but we walked around the town, took a boat tour of the area and went out into the Black Sea a little ways and then took Joseph out to lunch. We basically got to spoil him rotten for the day. It was fun. Angelina was with us and so we were also able to ask him all kinds of questions about what he likes and doesn't like, who is friends are, how he does in school, etc. When we took him to the restaurant he was overwhelmed by the choices but Angelina helped him pick what he wanted (Fried Chicken, french fries - with LOTS of ketchup and Coke - are we sure this kid isn't an American?!) He happily ate everything in front of him including the tomatoes, cucumber, and peppers that he had just gotten through telling us he didn't like. He even ate the parsley and the lemon! I don't know if our food budget is ready for this kid! After we ate lunch we grabbed a few things at the market for Jonathan and then headed back to town. As we got close to our bus stop we saw these huge panda and brown bears - the blow up ones with people inside. We walked Joseph up the street to see them. He couldn't get enough of them. I'm not sure what they were advertising - since the flyer was in russian - but he was sold! All in all it was a great day. It was sunny and warm and we weren't on any time schedule so it was very nice.

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