Cora's adventures in Ukraine (1)



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Ruslana Forum / Eurovision / Cora's adventures in Ukraine
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cora
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# Posted: 28 May 2005 18:57 - Edited by: cora
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Cora's adventures in Ukraine

Monday, 16th and Tuesday 17th May 2005



Arriving in Kyiv on Monday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was that you could not walk five minutes in this city without stumbling across Ruslana. Here you see her picture on a magazine, there you hear a ring tone, here you see big posters, there you see her videos on screens in the metro. Even the one hour waiting time at the passport control at the airport was sweetened by Ruslana welcoming the guests to Ukraine on a screen above the heads of the waiting crowd.

On Tuesday afternoon I stumbled across Ruslana again, this time in real! Lussekatt and I had spend the morning together and after we split I went to the Arena to take a photo of its walls.



The Arena is a big square building with a big yard in the middle where a stage was situated. There was an entrance directly from the street, so you could just walk in. And there was Ruslana on the stage doing a soundcheck.







That's when I heard 'Heart on Fire' for the first time and I liked it straight away. When she was finished, she recognized me, greeted me warmly and we exchanged a few words. Well, meeting Ruslana right at the beginning of my journey was a really pleasant surprise :-)

A couple of hours later I turned up at the Arena again. It was much too early for the concert and ? what a surprise ? I saw Ruslana again rehearsing, this time together with the dancers.



Lussekatt came and we attached our two banners to the fence. She had made a big black banner saying "Thank you Ruslana" and I had my small one with me which regular readers should know from the topic "Ruslana 12 Points".

Speaking of Lussekatt - it was great to meet her in person, after we had been in email and phone contact for several months sorting out tickets and accommodation together.

We had anounced a fan meeting on the forum for 6 o'clock at the Arena entrance. But as there were two entrances, which we didn't know before, there was not way to meet the other fans and we hoped that they would find us. It was only Tarasik who found his way to us and so the three of us enjoyed the concert together.

One negative aspect I don't want to leave unmentioned. Someone has designed this concert yard and forget the most natural need of people! For the 3000 spectators just four "Toi Toi loos" (you know these plastic cubes) were available in the parking lot underneath the yard and these were in a condition which I rather will not describe here?.

Anyway, the yard was filled with about 3000 people and several V.I.Ps on the balconies. President Yushchenko as the most honourable guest was greeted by the crowed enthusiastically.

At 8 o'clock the warm-up started with some of the ESC participants: Latvia, Lithuania, Israel, Estonia, Croatia, Germany and of course Ukraine. The German participant Gracia sang together with Greenjolly.



cora
Moderator
# Posted: 28 May 2005 18:58 - Edited by: cora
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Ruslana took off with 'Wild Dances'. The concert was fantastic! I have seen many concerts in my life, but nothing like this! The show was impressive with fire, water, an orchester, dancers, different costumes, images on a huge screen ? just perfect. Ruslana sang mainly the classic songs and only at the end some of the remix versions. I loved the selection of songs, because I prefer the classic version to the remixes. Lussekat, Tarasik and I had a lot of fun screaming and shouting and singing and dancing and jumping up and down.









"Wild Passion" was performed theatrically with a story: Ruslana being chained ?



and later freed by some girls who had themselves freed from slavery. Stunning!





The clothes changing breaks were not boring. Drummers drumming for the ears and images on the screens for the eyes.





Ya tebe ljublju. Great that Ruslana sang also a balad!





Lots of fire and water!













The president of the Foundation of Children of Chornobyl.

After the show we met a number of other fans and arranged a meeting on Maydan for the next day. Sudenly _ok_ turned up ? what a nice surprise - and we chated a while and took some funny pictures.









Well, today was a magnificent start of my journey!

cora
Moderator
# Posted: 28 May 2005 19:01 - Edited by: cora
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Wednesday, 18th May 2005

Spacytoon, Etos (whom both I got to know yesterday), myself and some other fans spend all day on Maydan. It was another hot and sunny day. Etos was in mobile phone contact with one of Ruslana's team, who made us believe that we could meet Ruslana. Also we wanted to see her rehearsal for tonights show. But we had no luck. Time passed by and in the afternoon we went away for half an hour. Later we learned that just at this time Ruslana did her rehearsal. Arrggghhh! Then we met Lussekatt by chance. She told her story on how she met Ruslana and Sasha twice this day. Lucky her! We then moved to the backstage entrance still hoping to meet Ruslana. When the show started we were in a rather bad position.



Thousands of heart shaped baloons were released.

We couldn't see anything of the stage, ?


but it was also too late to get a good position within the huge crowd on Maydan. So we stayed where we were. At least we could see Ruslana's performance on a screen.



So close and yet so far anyway.

She sang Wild Dances, Kolomiyka and what else? I don't know. It just passed by me.

The other fans had somehow managed to get backstage. It was only Spacytoon, Etos, Lussekatt and me left outside. In an unnoticed moment Spacytoon slipped through the guards trying to get some of these media cards for us. We were now getting really desperate, because the show was about to culminate in Ruslana's "Rhythm of the Heart" and we still couldn't see anything. Finally with the help of Etos and someone of Ruslana's team we got backstage.

Ruslanas had finished her first performance. The backstage area was really big, but it was quite easy to spot Ruslana. You just had to watch out for a cluster consisting of microphones, cameras and people. In the middle of the cluster you would find Ruslana.



Inside the cluster.

Sometimes the cluster would move around. It was quite funny to watch this from a distance. Then Ruslana had to go on stage again and we rushed underneath the enormous stage finding ouselves just in front of the stage. It was an extraordinary experience to be between the stage and the crowd on Maydan together with just about 50 others. We jumped onto a wooden platform which vibrated heavily under the dancing feet. The batteries of my camera were flat and I used one of Lussekatt's cameras while she was filming. The kids did a good job. Singing at that age in front of thousands of people and still being so natural, really impressed me.





It was an extended version of "Rhythm of the Heart" with Ruslana also taking to drum sticks. Absolutelly great and we were so close! Finally she ignited the "Heart of Europe".

Immediately after the show the cluster building started again. I felt really stupid and ashamed that I did what everyone else did, chacing Ruslana. I am not normally like this. But somehow this Paparazzi behaviour was contagious.



Anyway it was a great end of a day which started a bit disappointing.

Etos and Spacycoon, thanks for your friendship! And thank you for helping me out with your mobile phones. Without your help I would have been really stuck with a severe problem with my apartment.

Lussekatt
Member
# Posted: 28 May 2005 19:01
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yes yes yes!! :-)

cora
Moderator
# Posted: 28 May 2005 19:02 - Edited by: cora
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Thursday, 19th May 2005

Last night my friend Birgit from UK arrived and in the morning we did some sightseeing.









The next event for us, Birgit, Lussekatt and me, was the dress rehearsal of the semi final. Somehow we believed that Ruslana would appear in it ? a mis-information. In the voting break the Shyttya dancers performed, but without Ruslana.



Exellent!



Later Birgit, Lussekatt and I met with Spacycoon on Maydan, where we watched the semi final on the big screens. It was quite an experience. Unfortunately the broadcast was constantly interrupted by a sort of presenter talking endlessly on the stage. It was annoying, because we missed quite a bit of the broadcast.



Apart from that it was a very enjoyable evening.

cora
Moderator
# Posted: 28 May 2005 19:03 - Edited by: cora
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Friday, 20th May 2005

Today a press conference of Ruslana and a meeting with _ok_ were on my schedule. At the press conference I met Lussekatt who filmed the whole event. There was quite a number of journalists there, 50-100 I would estimate.



Ruslana showing the trophy for the forthcoming ESC winner, a pectoral made of pure gold.



Ruslana answered the typical questions about this or that ESC particpant with routine and diplomacy.

After the press conference _ok_ took me to Palats Sportu. We went backstage and coming from behind the stage into the audience area of the hall. Ruslana sat there waiting for her rehearsal to start. _ok_ had several appointments and I was left watching Ruslana rehearsing 'Heart on Fire' (Hey, I love this song and the show!)



in street clothes ?





? and in stage clothes and
the rehearsal of half the final.



Zdob si Zdub from Moldavia have got this Hey Hey feeling :-)

We then walked to the Arena office where we finally sat with two of the managers to dicuss promotional issues in Germany. I was glad to be able to help a little.

I also gave the birthday present for Ruslana to _ok_ which some of the German fans had prepared in a joint effort.

I was also a bit worried, because I had left Lussekatt in the press conference building and my friends waiting on Maydan with no way of informing them of what had happened to me, because our mobile phones were not working.

Anyway, this was a very enjoyable and interesting day, giving me some insight into the work and extreme time pressure Ruslana and _ok_ are under.

cora
Moderator
# Posted: 28 May 2005 19:04 - Edited by: cora
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Saturday, 21st May 2005

Birgit and I went together with Spacytoon as a tourist guide to visit the Lavra caves. It was a little drizzely today, but still very hot. The caves with the not decaying bodies of monks were an experience.



Thank you Spacytoon for showing us around!

We then went to the Euro Camp on the Dnipro Island where Etos was about to perform as Ruslana. She (far left on the picture) first sang together with some girls traditional songs.



But her Ruslana performance had to be cancelled due to technical problems. What a shame!



I really enjoyed Spacytoon's company with her ever so nice and pleasant personality.

We now had to hurry to get to Palats Sportu to see the dress rehearsal of the final. As I had seen it already the day before, I gave my good ticket to Spacytoon and bought one of the very cheap ones. When Ruslana opened the show with 'Heart on Fire' it was difficult to enjoy, because people were still pouring into the venue, blurring sight and sound and it took ages until everyone had found their seats. Because of an overlap of time schedules, we had to leave after Moldavia to attend the fan meeting Lussekatt and I had arranged on Sofievskaya Square.





It was fun to meet the other fans!

Etos, thank you ever so much for the CDs, very much appreciated!

At Palats Sportu we met again with Spacytoon (who had a heart shaped Ukrainian flag painted on her cheek) and Lussekatt to see the final. We made our way inside which took quite a while. Our seats were on the left side quite close to the stage. President Yushchenko on the balcony was greeted with standing ovations. Again it was a hustle and bustle in the audience while Ruslana opened the show with her thrilling performance and the awesome flame thrower. This could have been better organized, making people taking their seats earlier. Lussekatt and I waving her banner "Thank you Ruslana". The show was amazing. There was so much to see and watch. I found it more interesting watching the ocean of flags and clapping hands, the camera cranes and camera men rushing about, rather than what happened on stage.



(this photo shows a steadycam cameraman at the semi rehearsal)

Although, also watching the stage with its changing images and lights was great.



The audience loved the Molavian song which was also our favourite?. and it went berserk, when it was Greenjolly's turn.



Another splendid performance by Ruslana with 'The Same Star'!

When Greece had won, Ruslana came on stage again together with president Yushchenko and the Klitschkos to give the price to the winner.





I felt sorry for the German participant Gracia. She didn't deserve to become last after all she had gone through during the past weeks, German tabloid media ripping her to pieces because of her fraudulent producer.

All in all it was a magnificent evening!

cora
Moderator
# Posted: 28 May 2005 19:05 - Edited by: cora
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Sunday, 22nd May 2005 ? Wednesday, 25th May 2005

My friend Birgit and I love travelling, experiencing other countries and cultures and we had decided already one year ago after Ruslana's victory that we would not only go to see the ESC events but also to see something of the country. We had rented a car for four days which is an enjoyable and relaxing way of travelling, being independent and driving or stopping whereever you want to.

It took us 9 hours to drive to L'viv, driving first through a flat and swampy, scarcely settled area around Korosten with huge forests and grassland. Further southeast the landscape changed into a rather densely populated agricultural area.





In L'viv we had rented an apartment in the city center in a house which looked devasted from the outside, but the flat itself was nicely refurbished.

Next day we strolled around L'viv looking at the sights. It was another bright and hot day.



Is this the building where Luxen studio is situated? It should be the right address, but I am not sure.





The old town looked like an Austrian town some 50 years ago. Almost all houses are really beautiful, but in a very bad condition, at least what we saw from the outside. What a huge tourism potential this town would have - if the buildings would be renovated.



All streets were cobbled and the tracks so uneven that we wondered how the tramways could move properly. Well, we had to try out the tram, going to a cemetry.



It is very interesting to look at cemetries in other countries. This one was unusually situated on a hill.

The shop infrastructure was quite unaccustomed for us. Neither in Kyiv, nor in L'viv nor in the countryside we found any supermarkets, where you could just take the stuff you want yourself from the shelves. Here the shops consisted of several counters and staff you would have to ask to take the goods from the shelves ? a rather time consuming way of shopping. You would have to buy bread at one counter and cue again for a tin of corn at next counter. It is also a staff intensive system. In a supermarket you could manage the same amount of goods with only a small percentage of staff. Okay, the Ukrainian way has also got an advantage - more people are having a job? The choice of goods was really poor and being vegans it was quite difficult for us to find something we could eat. Thank God we had an apartment where we could cook pasta in the evening. But even finding a proper tomato sauce wasn't that easy. Apart from that we mainly lived on bread and tins of corn. For just these few days it was not a problem. We also bought lots of fruit which was sold everywhere on the streets.



Have you ever seen a combined fish and CD shop? No joke! They really sold fish and CDs (and nothing else) in this shop!

In the evening we met Olga, a friend of Birgit, who gave us some interesting insight into the living conditions of Ukrainian people.

cora
Moderator
# Posted: 28 May 2005 19:07 - Edited by: cora
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On Tuesday, Ruslana's birthday, we headed for the mountains! Everyone had warned us of the poor road conditions. But the roads were not as bad as we had expected. At least on the main roads you could easily drive 120. Actually, on our way back to Kyiv we were stopped twice by police for driving too fast ? ehhmm. When approaching the mountains we noticed what people had meant with bad road conditions. The roads were like a Swiss cheese, lots of holes! First we were shocked about their depth, they could easily swallow half a tyre, but after a while we got used to them and made fun out of it trying to avoid the deepest ones by driving around them.



The landscape looks like the German middle mountains.



Ever so beautiful. Again - what an enormous tourism potential!



Picturesque landscapes!

We drove to Mizhhiria. All day long the sun was shining, but when we arrived, a heavy thunder storm came down. We didn't bother doing anything there and drove straight back. The weather got better again, when we left the mountains.

Other interesting sights in the countryside:



19th century transportation seem to be common. We actually saw quite a number of people plowing their fields by horse power.



Individual cow care! Mainly elderly people walked each a single cow, letting it graze here and there. We wondered, if the human recources could not be used more effectively. One grandma could surely easily handle two, three or even four cows at the same time. Also the cows would benefit from it enjoying the company of fellow cows?.





Lots of storks.



Many houses in the countryside were in a better condition than the buildings in L'viv ? really nicely painted like this shop.

On Wednesday we had to drive back directly to Borispil. We had allowed ouselves 10 hours and thought we would have plenty of time. But in the end we almost missed our flight, because of poor signposting. This was another major difference between Ukraine and Germany we noticed. In Germany you sometimes can't see the signposts because of all the signposts. But here the signposting was very scarce. In L'viv and the countryside we easily found our way around. But when approaching Kyiv the scarce signposting was fatal. We got lost and had to stop several times asking for the way. It took us two hours to find the airport and we finally arrived completely stressed out just before the plane was about to take off.

Language-wise we didn't have problems. I can express the most basic things, like asking for directions and going shopping in Russian and Ukrainian. These skills were rather helpful, as almost nobody could speak any English at all. People we approached in this way were always friendly and helpful, even the policemen :-)

Sumarizing my journey, it was 1000% worth all the effort. I had a most fantastic time with all the Ruslana events in Kyiv and seeing a little of the country was very enjoyable. I have got to come back some time seeing more of Ukraine, maybe the south coast, maybe in winter. We will see?.

So, thank Ruslana for making me come to your country and for an ever so enjoyable journey!

Dasha
Member
# Posted: 28 May 2005 19:32
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cora
fantastic!

Lussekatt
Member
# Posted: 28 May 2005 23:03
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cora

wow! Great to take part of your version of everything! Your pics of the concert is impressive good also the ones of the churches in Kyiv.

But her Ruslana performance had to be cancelled due to technical problems. What a shame!

I felt sorry that I missed that because I wanted to see her perform as Ruslana as I have done it myself. So I was lucky then that nobody got to see it. Really sad and sorry for Etos!

They really sold fish and CDs (and nothing else) in this shop!
LOL! Interesting combination.

Individual cow care!
very cute detail of Ukraine :-)

And thank you for everything. I also hope that I can return one day to also see the Carparthian Mountains

Guido
Member
# Posted: 29 May 2005 00:34
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They really sold fish and CDs (and nothing else) in this shop!
I once read about an ukrainian babusjka sitting on the market a whole day with one fish. Perhaps she had already sold her CD ?

tarasik
Member
# Posted: 29 May 2005 02:19
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cora
Thank you very much for the foto's.
I like this

Dieter
Member
# Posted: 29 May 2005 14:51
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Cora

Thanks for those lovely stories :). I read thim with great pleasure and it sometimes felt like i was there as well (but i wasn't since i have to study for exams :'( )

Shimrit
Member
# Posted: 29 May 2005 15:44
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Cora, what an amazing journey diary!! I'm so sorry for not meeting any of you, guys... I don't know how it happened... i just forgot to make sure I know where to find everyone and while everyone were in kiev it just didn't work out... and I was so busy too, I had to actually work sometimes - blah. I saw Ruslana performing a few times, but this time around I was so busy i never got to meet her - but after meeting her last year in Istanbul and couple of months ago in Israel and spending a day with her, I guess it's ok, although i'm a bit disappointed about it - but I can't do EVERYTHING. but since we're friends with the dancers, we spent a lot of time with them, we even went to drink and dance with them a few times, they're all such a nice people. One of the guys (sasha) even danced with me, which was very cool.

my photos are also up - that's only part one and it includes my Ruslana concert gallery, second part of the photos will be up tonight.

cora
Moderator
# Posted: 29 May 2005 19:47
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Shimrit

Really good photos, thank you! Yeah, sad that we didn't meet. Maybe next time :-)

tarasik

It was great to meet you. I hope you had a safe journey home. L'viv is a lovely city!

Hugo63
Member
# Posted: 29 May 2005 23:40
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cora
From me too - thanks for this report, for sure a lot of work after this travel. Reading this still increases my goal to make an own ukraine trip. And visiting a Ruslana live concert must be a really fantastic feeling - hope that we can see Ruslana once in Germany on a big tour - or is something planned already?

Christiane
Moderator
# Posted: 29 May 2005 23:56
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cora
After I left my comment about your report in the german forum first, I´m going to continue here :-) Thanks for your fantastic report and the great pictures, which gave me a real good impression of Ukraine.......you´ve done a great job!

KrUAsan
Member
# Posted: 30 May 2005 01:06
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Thanks for the very intresting story!

khrystyna
Member
# Posted: 30 May 2005 04:55
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cora
thank you for the pics. i lived in ukraine and im happy u took some pics of ukraine as well to show people who were never there how beautiful ukraine really is and ruslana and everything there. its trully a great place to visit!

Christiane
Moderator
# Posted: 30 May 2005 15:55
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cora
Have you ever seen a combined fish and CD shop? No joke! They really sold fish and CDs (and nothing else) in this shop!
This reminds me of something.....not of a CD shop, but a pub on the Dingle peninsula in the southwest of Ireland. Not only drinks are sold there, it´s also a shoemakers shop :-D

Dieter
Member
# Posted: 30 May 2005 16:00
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Shimrit
Nice pics as well :)
Are you going to every ESC???? cause i remember you went last year as well :o

tarasik
Member
# Posted: 30 May 2005 19:13
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cora
It was great to meet you.
For me too. I have passed a great time with the fans of Ruslana and specialy with you and Lusse you are the very great people. Yes, of course lviv is a lovely city, this is a very historic city and native city of Ruslana.

Esther
Moderator
# Posted: 31 May 2005 00:35
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Thank you Cora for sharing your story and pictures. By seeing them I think I would really like Ukrain. Not think I know.

Christiane
Moderator
# Posted: 31 May 2005 10:17
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Dieter
Shimrit is a student of journalism and she joins the ESC during the carrying out of her studies, writing articles......that´s what she has told before.

cora
Moderator
# Posted: 31 May 2005 21:16 - Edited by: cora
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Thanks everyone!

I have brought back from Kyiv a brand new Ruslana brochure and an article from a Ukrainian magazine which you can download here.

Christiane

but a pub on the Dingle peninsula in the southwest of Ireland. Not only drinks are sold there, it´s also a shoemakers shop
LOL

cora
Moderator
# Posted: 1 Jun 2005 00:49
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Now you can view an
album with 100 of my Ruslana pictures.

oleh_muc
Member
# Posted: 1 Jun 2005 03:31
Reply 


cora
great experiences, but still: I think you didn't understand much of the philosophy of the life in Ukraine.

Example with the cowes: A grandma doesn't want to manage two or three cowes. She just doesn't need it - or she cannot afford it, because you usually also have to provide the grass for the cow in winter time by yourself.

"19th century transportaion" - really "nice" metaphor... But I love riding horses - it's kind of REAL and NATURAL! can you understand this?

after living almost 5 years in Germany I can say that most of Germans have lost this connection to nature.

one of my german friends who has been more than 20 (!) times to Ukraine told me once, that the thing fascinating him about Ukrainians is their / our creativity -> so far concerning selling CD's and fish in one shop! :-)

buying stuff NOT in supermarkets might have been quite exhausting for you - but I bet it was still nicer than struggling with the huge choice all alone in a hypermarket!

and last but not least: you should have tried buckwheat or other similar stuff, because Ukrainians usually eat less meat than Germans!

(Varenyky could give a good example of it)

:-)

cora
Moderator
# Posted: 1 Jun 2005 09:44 - Edited by: cora
Reply 


oleh_muc
I think you didn't understand much of the philosophy of the life in Ukraine.

How could I, after just being there a few days?
But to be honest, I think you didn't understand my report. It was not my intention to give a deep insight in the philosophy of Ukrainian life. I also did not say that things in Germany are better. I
a) just described some differences I noticed and
b) it was supposed to be a bit entertaining.

MUR
Member
# Posted: 1 Jun 2005 10:01
Reply 


cora
Outstanding pictures!
Where did you get that superb brochure? Is it official or something handmade?

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