Always full of drama

Sunday, 24 July 2011

The Babuski and the Nimbus 3000

For those of you that have never inhabited the Pottersphere, the Nimbus 3000 is Harry Potters, high end flying broomstick. It is the sort of broomstick that only exists in films about witches and wizards as well as a sort of mythical throwback to the golden days of general sanitization.

It is however standard issue to Ukrainian householders and more importantly to the Babushki that clean the streets here in Odessa. Babushka literally means grandmother, and if you are (un)lucky enough to be occupying the tree lined avenues of Odessa at 6 in the morning you will come across teams of Babushki, all armed with Nimbus 3000 replicas. Oddly enough, they are not flying up and down the Ulitsas practicing their Quidditch techniques; they are in fact sweeping the streets. In an age where Western Europe cleans its streets (if at all) by transformersque monster machines here in the Ukraine its done by an army of the elderly, a sort of mums army of broomstick wielding greytops.

Oddly for us in the west it is a system that works. Each person has their designated block and it seems to me each person has a pride in their work. The streets of this beautiful but dilapidated city are spotless, nary a MacDonald’s box or coke can to be seen. Be warned though, if you here a constant toot toot of a horn and see the Babushki stepping well back from the road, follow their lead. On more than one occasion, I have seen some poor unfortunate early riser, get and unexpected cold shower from the street washing truck as it sprays its load more or less indiscriminately along the avenues.

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