...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

March 30, 2004

Ride Through Chernobyl

Via Anne SFTH's recommendation, i checked out this website/photo essay by a Ukrainian chick who toured the ghost town of Chernobyl on her motorcycle.

It takes a few minutes to go through all the photos, but they're fascinating and definitely worth your time. Her prose is cool too, she writes with a charming accent:

Motorcycling is a great hobby of mine. I ride all my life and I owned different bikes and I ended with big kawasaki ninja. This motorbike has matured 147 horse powers, some serious bark, it is that fast like a bullet and comfortable for a long trips. I travel a lot and my favorite destination lead through so called Chernobyl 'dead zone' It is 130kms from my home. Why favourite? because one can ride there for hours and not meet any single car and not to see any single soul. People left and nature is blooming, there are beautiful places, woods, lakes. Roads haven't been built or repaired since 80th but in places where they haven't been ridden by trucks or army technics, they stay in the same condition as 20 years ago. Time do not ruin roads.
Haunting photographs and lots of information that i didn't know. (i was nine when the disaster happened.) She uses the European method of writing numbers, which threw me at first. For instance, she says that the "radiation will stay in Chernobil area for the next 48.000 years." i thought forty-eight years, that's all? Then i realized, she was saying forty-eight thousand years!

Truly amazing, and so sad. Chernobyl is like Pompeii. It's a time capsule, but more than just a capsule of the Eighties, Chernobyl is a snapshot of the Soviet Union. It's all that remains of a society that no longer exists. There's Elena, on a big Kawasaki Ninja, visiting the Soviet factory that once made the dream bike of Soviet teenagers in the 1980's: a top-of-the-line scooter with only 26 horsepower. So much has changed.

Posted by annika, Mar. 30, 2004 |
Rubric: History & On The Blogosphere


this is fan mail-- I just love your blog. You really put yourself out there. You are a smarty-pants with your own personality and quirks. What better description could there be of a good blogger? Plus, you realize our nation is in an actual war with practitioners of a murderous ideology. I have little patience these days with people or bloggers who cannot see that. Anyway, kudos to you and your blog. I have really enjoyed it.

Posted by: gcotharn in Texas on Mar. 30, 2004

Compelling photos, but clearly one of the more dumb activities you can possibly undertake. This chick has a JFK Jr. sized deathwish. Walking around in radioactive Soviet era buildings with no maintenance for 20 years?

As long as you have your portable Geiger counter, everything's peachy!! Look as with each step we take toward this vehicle we get another 100 REMs!!

Hey what the fuck, let's drive up to the CHERNOBYL PLANT GATE!!!

To paraphrase the guy on the porch in Fletch: "Girl, what in the hell is the matter with you?"

Posted by: Jason O. on Mar. 31, 2004

gcotharn, thank you so much, i hope you keep coming back!

Jason, i wondered myself if i would do what Elena did, given the chance. i don't think i would take the chance. i mean, you take in all that radiation and you don't notice anything until later. Unless you go into the reactor like those guys in K19.

Posted by: annika on Mar. 31, 2004

K-19...talk about a movie that could have been excellent. It was not bad, I liked the twist that Liam Neeson sides with Harrison Ford in the key point of the mutiny. Reactor scenes were brutal.

Of course Das Boot is the best sub movie ever...in particular the scene when they have been through hell and the officers are invited to the party on the Nazi resupply yacht...the look of disdain Jurgen Prochnow gives the assembled partygoers is tremendous.

Red October
Run Silent Run Deep
Grey Lady Down
Crimson Tide

Posted by: Jason O. on Mar. 31, 2004

i'm a big russophile, so i loved K-19. Just like with Enemy at the Gates, it's cool to see things from the other side and how the old enemy could be heroic too. i reviewed K-19 back in sept.

i also liked The Enemy Below, with Bob Michum a lot.

Posted by: annika on Mar. 31, 2004

Did I just read you recommend Mr. Majestyk in that review???

To paraphrase Drexl in True Romance: "Hey Marty, look what we got heah....muthafuckin' Charlene Bronson!!!"

Have you seen "Hard Times" with Bronson as the bare knuckle fighter and James Coburn as his handler? Bronson's best movie, IMO.

Posted by: Jason O. on Mar. 31, 2004

Haven't seen it. But i'll rent it.

Posted by: annika on Mar. 31, 2004

Chernobyl is Russian for Wormwood, which some believe means that this disaster is foretold in Revelations.

"And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter."

"The burning star recalls the explosion and fire, the poisoned rivers and fountains of water in the Bible bring to mind the contaminated rivers and water reservoirs affected by the Chornobyl plant's unleashed radioactivity, the name of the Biblical star Wormwood has the same meaning as the name of the Ukrainian town where the disaster occurred.

Do the similarities between the tragedy at Chornobyl and Revelations 8:10-11 imply that this Biblical passage contains a prophecy that has been fulfilled, or are they merely a coincidence? This is a decision that everyone will have to make individually."

...interesting stuff IMHO.

P.S. I think the best movie that, as annie puts it, lets you "see things from the other side and how the old enemy could be heroic too" is Iron Cross. Bad ass movie. Though the recent Enemy at the Gates is up there too...


Posted by: Scof on Mar. 31, 2004

Damn, it's Cross of Iron, not Iron Cross. Still James Coburn kicks butt, "I will show you where the Iron Crosses grow!"

Posted by: Scof on Mar. 31, 2004

Very cool photo journal. And she did the whole 911 km trip in only 9hrs 11 mins (just kidding). Thanks!

Posted by: d-rod on Mar. 31, 2004

Okay Scof, lets test that. Here's Rev 8:11 in Russian:

"Имя сей звезде `полынь'; и третья часть вод сделалась полынью, и многие из людей умерли от вод, потому что они стали горьки"

Unfortunately, i can't read cyrillic, but maybe someone can tell me if the word "chernobyl" appears in that passage.


Posted by: annika on Mar. 31, 2004

A friend of mine used to inspect cracks in nuclear reactors for a living, so I emailed him about the biker chick's radiation exposure and here is his response.

That is amazing... The dose she received is pretty darn high. More than I ever received while working in the nuc-u-lar industry. Not enough to make her hair fall out though, so she *should* be fine.

Just thought some here might be interested.

Posted by: d-rod on Mar. 31, 2004

No Anni, it doesn't contain the word Chernobyl. Let me tell you something even more human. I was a Soviet Studies major in the late 70's. I remember feeling a certain smugness when the piece of shit reactor failed and killed so many and so much, but those were darker days, and the Russkies were the bad guys. Ultimately I fell in love with a Russian gal whose husband died of lung cancer at the age of 26 after probably inhaling fallout from the reactor. Life is strange and cruel, yet beautiful.

Posted by: Casca on Mar. 31, 2004

It's actually a "Russian transliteration of the Ukrainian word ‘chornobyl’, which in English means wormwood"

Posted by: Scof on Mar. 31, 2004

I second the recommendation for the movie 'Cross of Iron'.

Posted by: Ted on Apr. 1, 2004

Another excellent "enemy perspective' is Robert Vaughn's Nazi character in "Bridge at Remagen"...At the very end when he is about to be executed by his superiors for not holding or destroying the bridge, he looks up at the Allied planes overhead and realizes he is on the wrong side.

Posted by: Jason O. on Apr. 1, 2004

I keep going back to that photo essay. It is strangely compelling.

Posted by: Desert Cat on Apr. 2, 2004

Strangely compelling and scary. How quickly the whole world can change.

Posted by: Bernard on Apr. 4, 2004

Looks to me like the word "wormwood", in Cyrillic, is replaced with a phonetic spelling of "pollen".

Posted by: Tuning Spork on Apr. 5, 2004

Try this ( but take a hankie)


There are a number of charities in the U.S helping the Children of Chernobyl.

Google "Children of Chernobyl" and take your pick.

That Elena is a brave Ukrainian biker chick - and plainly madasafish. Good luck to her.

Feel as One
Breathe as One
Love as One
Be as One

Posted by: Roger on Apr. 13, 2004

well, the girl has passion. and you - you dont have balls event to think about somethinng nt 100% safe..

Posted by: to jason o. on Apr. 16, 2004

ow .. where has the site gone too? that's one that shouldn't go offline :(

Posted by: Joan on Jun. 7, 2004

Yes i just wanted to say she is Ukrainian not Russian. And Chernobil is in the Ukraine not Russia. Ukraine was the first country to split from Russia in 1987. Calling a Ukranian a Russian can be quite offencive.

Posted by: Concerned Uki on Sep. 23, 2005

thank you for the correction. i will fix it.

Posted by: annika on Sep. 23, 2005

Below is all monet works.

Woman In A Green Dress painting

Winter At Giverny painting

View Over The Seas painting

Vetheuil In Summer painting

Vase Of Flowers painting

Train In The Country painting

The women in the Garden painting

The Valley Of Falaise painting

The Turkeys painting

The Thames And The Houses Of Parliament painting

The Studio Boat painting

The Shoot painting

The Seine Estuary At Honfleur painting

The Seine Below Rouen painting

The Seine At Rouen painting

The Seine At Lavacourt painting

The Seine At Bougival painting

The Seine At Argenteuil painting

The Seine At Argenteuil I painting

The Sea At Fecamp painting

The Road To Chailly painting

The Red Cape (Madame Monet) painting

The Red Boats painting

The Picnic painting

The Marina At Argenteuil painting

The Luncheon painting

The Ice-Floes painting

The Garden of the Princess painting

The Church Of Vernon In The Mist painting

The Church At Vetheuil painting

The Boats Regatta At Argenteuil painting

The Beach At Sainte-Adresse painting

Terrace at St Adresse painting

Sunset painting

Sunflowers painting

Sun Setting Over The Seine At Lavacourt painting

Still Life With Melon painting

Snow Effect With Setting Sun painting

Sailing At Sainte-Adresse painting

Sailing At Argenteuil painting

Rue Montargueil with Flags painting

Rough Sea At Etretat painting

Promenade Near Argenteuil painting

Poppy Field In A Hollow Near Giverny painting

Poplars painting

Pond at Montgeron painting

Palazzo da Mula at Venice painting

Monet_Self_Portrait_In_His_Atelier painting

London Houses of Parliament at Sunset painting

La Porte D Amount Etretat painting

La Japonaise painting

La Grenouillere painting

In The Woods At Giverny painting

Impression Sunrise painting

Hyde Park London painting

Haystacks at Giverny the evening sun painting

Haystacks At Chailly painting

Haystack snow effect painting

General View Of Rouen From St Catherine s Bank painting

Garden In Flower At Sainte-Adresse painting

Floating Ice Near Vetheuil painting

Cliffs Near Dieppe painting

Boulevard Des Capucines I painting

Beach at Honlfeux painting

Argenteuil painting

A Windmill at Zaandam painting

A Corner of the Studio painting

A Corner of the Apartment painting

Monet Spring Flowers painting

View At Rouelles, Le Havre painting

Camille At The Window painting

Landscape With Thunderstorm painting

Monet Purple Poppies painting

The Red Boats, Argenteuil painting

Regatta At Argenteuil painting

A Woman Reading painting

Wild Poppies, Near Argenteuil painting

Monet The Luncheon painting

Still Life Apples And Grapes painting

Springtime At Giverny painting

Apple Trees In Blossom painting

Tulip Fields With The Rijnsburg Windmill painting

Haystack at Giverny painting

Haystack At Giverny painting

In The Woods At Giverny painting

Girls In A Boat painting

Boating On The River Epte painting

In The Rowing Boat painting

The Seine At Port-Villez painting

Poplars on the Epte painting

Monet Water Lillies I painting

Monet The Waterlily Pond painting

Woman with a Parasol painting

Camille Monet in Japanese Costume painting

The garden in flower painting

The Artist Garden at Vetheuil painting

Jeanne-Marguerite Lecadre in the Garden painting

Boulevard des Capucines painting

Posted by: handmade painting on May. 27, 2008

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Posted by: 빫˾ on Mar. 10, 2009