Crimean time

The Underground

There are four major "traffic circles" within the City of Simferopol, and another three, or four near the outskirts of Town. I remember, with great enjoyment, traversing the "traffic circle" in New Braunfels, Texas while I was young, handsome, and either driving my Dad's Car, or while I was the proud owner of my very first car!!! It was a Green, 1948 Ford, Flathead 8 Cylinder, 4 Door Sedan, and only 6 cylinders worked, but it was bought and paid for, and it was all mine!!! Yeah, I gave $47.50 and a used typewriter missing the part of the letter "R" and we haggled about the price of The Green Monster for the better part of a month.

My Dad took me down to State Farm Insurance, and "helped" me spend another $25.00 for Liability Insurance.I was now "flat broke" and I could not afford another $14.00 for a new battery, and I needed to "jump start" my Green Monster by "popping the clutch," therefore I always needed to park the car on some sort of an incline. This was a real nuisance, and a hindrance whenever I wanted to date a cute looking girl, because I could "only" date girls who happened to live on some sort of an incline, otherwise I would not be able to restart my car!!!

Most "traffic circles" within The United States have been demolished for "safety reasons" and replaced with traffic lights, and retail businesses on the existing four corners. Not so in Simferopol, Ukraine!!! After nearly two and a half months of traveling between these "traffic circles" during all hours of the day and night, I have yet to see an accident!!! The courtesy of the drivers within Simferopol absolutely amazes me!!!

The safest way to cross near one of these "traffic circles" is by taking the concrete stairways leading into The Underground, unless you love "living on the edge" and wish to take your chances of never seeing another Sunrise by challenging the "courtesy" of sometimes overwhelming oncoming traffic!!! I have, on occasion, and actually survived the heart pounding excitement, otherwise I would not be writing this article.

The Underground is a maze of jam packed retail hallways, and at times, I really wished I had a compass, because it is very easy to become disoriented, and although my Boy Scout Training informed me of finding my bearings, because I would see "moss" only growing upon the North Side of Trees, there are no Trees growing within The Underground!!!

There are literally dozens of small 4’x6’ retail shops, and hundreds of retailers displaying their merchandise against the walls of these very busy Underground hallways. In one hallway alone, I counted over 13 different fresh flower shops. Very few have their flowers displayed behind glass enclosed refrigerated units, and the majority of their beautiful flowers, available in a rainbow of colors, are massively displayed within colorful water buckets.

The vast majority of American Flower Shops may offer a choice of 3, or 4 colors of Roses. The Blonde Lady in stall #42 of The Underground displays over a dozen unique and unusual colors of Roses imported from Turkey, and other parts of the World!!! Other Flower Shops along the hallway show a fantastic array of Daisy’s, Giant Gerber Daisy’s, Carnations, Chrysanthemums, and Orchids. Others offer potted plants of tropical ferns, bamboo plants, rubber trees, miniature orange, and lemon trees, African Violets, Pansies, and Orchid Plants.

Anything you could possibly need, on your way home from work, is available in The Underground, including Music Cd’s, Movie DVD’s, Cosmetics, Health and Beauty Aids, Greeting Cards, Gifts, Hats, Coats, Boots, Gloves, Scarves, Slippers, Milk, Bread, Eggs, Cigarettes, Beer, Batteries, Light Bulbs, etc. etc. etc.

If your Sweetheart should happen to inform you to bring home some milk, bread, or eggs, on your way home, just stroll thru The Underground, and your mission may be easily accomplished!!! She will be thrilled, and give you warm kisses and hugs upon arriving home, unless you somehow “forgot” and now she will become absolutely furious for days!!! Try this: I am going home to My?

When prices are posted, you may still be able to haggle, and if they are not posted, you may still be able to haggle, however please remember that there are “always” “Special Prices for Americans” and any other visiting Tourist!!!

Joe K. Roberts

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