For those of you who have never been to a real Texas (or American in general) rodeo you don't know what you're missing! They are a lot of fun and have a lot of dangerous stuff in them! Bulls...broncs...overpriced corny dogs!
Well, I tell you for sure, I didn't know what to expect when Rita and Jane told me they were taking me to a Ukrainian rodeo. I wasn't disappointed at all...but it wasn't a THING like the "World Famous Mesquite Rodeo" that I am used to.
In fact, they could really call it the Cossack Horse Theatre. The show was a very good display of horsemanship. They rode standing up, over the neck, over the back, on two and even three horses at one time. They did flips and twists and ran past and picked up hats and various things from the ground while riding at full speed...and in full Cossack costume! It was very exciting and I enjoyed it a great deal. I think my three friends, Rita, Jane, and Oxsana had as much fun watching me as I did watching the horses. (I couldn't help but think how much my grandchildren would have LOVED this show, and the ride around at the end!)
The show was held in a Cossack Village (a very good re-creation of an authentic village) with the arena (a long rectangular strip) being on one side of the village. I guess a better word would have been Cossack Fortress rather than village! Inside they had a fair going on with artisans showing their wares for sale. (it is much like Scarborough Faire, in Waxahachie, TX, with many hand crafted items that were really unique) Of course I did really enjoy the shopping, too.
We tried some traditional Ukrainian food while at the fair. It was porridge called "coulish", sort of like oatmeal. It looked like instant oatmeal...not bad...but I didn't want seconds.
Rita used every opportunity to tell them I was from Texas, and to show them my "real" Texas cowboy boots. They were very nice to me and I took many pictures. I'm not sure if I am going to share the one of me riding the horse. Rita insisted that I MUST ride the horse...being from Texas and all...even though it has been YEARS since I rode anything with four legs...and I WAS in a skirt (a very long one, Rick, not to worry)...it all turned out okay...but there was that moment when I was attempting to mount that extremely TALL horse that I had my doubts!
Rita tried to get me on Ukrainian television. They were doing a story on the pottery fair and she thought I would make a better story...being from Texas and all...with my real cowboy boots...needless to say...they didn't. They DID say, if I could throw a pot they would do a story with me in it!! Whew!! Snatched from the precipe of disaster!
While in Zhaparozia (sp??), we also got to tour the Cossack Fortress that was built for a historical movie (that used famous actors I have never heard of...). It was really quite cool. It overlooked the Dneper River where the Cossacks watched from their fortress island to make sure the Turks did not get into Ukraine and other parts of Russia. A very interesting history.
Fact: Do you know why the Cossacks shaved their heads except for that one lump of hair (usually a pigtail type of lump)? They wanted to differintiate themselves from their enemies so that in the heat of battle they could recognize their own warriors (other enemies apparently had completely shaved heads or long hair).
There was a sketch artist there who "secretly" sketched people in the crowd, then gave them a "free gift", and he usually only charged 50 greivna, and you didn't HAVE to pay a poor starving artist any money...
I knew he was going to draw someone, Rita tried to get him to do me, he said that he NEVER drew woman because they didn't like the results (looked too much like they really looked). I laughed and said I wasn't that picky. Well, to make a long story short...he broke his "never draw woman" rule and did my sketch. I thought it looked just like me, but Rita said there was a reason he didn't draw woman and he should stick to his rule! Oiy Vey!
After an extremely long day traveling (about 2 1/2 to 3 hours), and an extremely hot day 51 degrees C, and long walks on not very good trails to get to the fortress, etc. we left for home. I enjoyed myself so much, good company and good food but was very ready to get home and rest. When we got home I took a short nap (woke up at 9 p.m.) and was ready for bed at 10 p.m.! I showered and got in bed! Never did a bed feel better than that one did!
Tomorrow...Sunday worship day!