Friday, 14 March 2008

Kiev: Eventum, contractors and ten more churches to go

Today in Kiev, we had a great time with MySQLers in Engineering and Support. And I got competition in the area of photography from Oleksandr "Sanja" Belkin. Other than that, this blog entry is again of the sit-back-and-relax type, not going into lots of MySQL detail. That's not to say that we wouldn't have gone into detail, though, although we saw more churches under the leadership of our Kiev team than we had seen in a long time.

This is how much I like my Sigma 8mm lens

We started the day by looking at Sun's on-boarding procedures for MySQLers in the Ukraine, sipping tea and coffee at the Hotel President. And we went through Sun's business model, through the importance of retaining the Eventum systems for Support, about how MySQL-time contractors are managed as part of Sun, as well as other topics familiar from other MySQL locations. Our Sun colleagues noted that our values, topics and concerns seem to be the same across our locations, and that MySQLers across the teams know each other quite well. With our IRC culture, Radio Sakila, our Development Meetings and other meetings, the strong bonds between MySQLers might not be that surprising, but I'm still glad it's noted by our colleagues at Sun.

After the "formal" meeting (which did conform with ZSP, the Zero Slides Policy), we went for a walk across Kiev. Our first stop was the City Hall, where hundreds of yellow buses were honking their horns.

There was a bus strike going on in Kiev

Valeriy, Alexey, Sanja, Bogdan, Julie, Dave

Then we went on to the main Independece Square, with a statue of a "kosack" leader. Yes, I know, these guys are probably spelt differently in English than in Swedish. But I refer to these fiercely independent guys on horses that carried swords and played the balalaika-like bandura instrument.

A kosack, a horse and myself at Kiev's Independence Square

Sanja (of Lugansk and Maria Engine fame) has a big camera


Sanja is from Lugansk, 672 km away from home but next to Kiev's well-known Internet Explorer monument

I like the Kiev architecture.

The Sofia Cathedral ...

... counts as several churches in my book

My favourite St Petersburg architect, Rastrelli, was hard at work also in Kiev

You remember Misha? Misha Bulgakov? Our local MySQLer who helped us in Moscow? Well, guess what, we jumped into a statue of him in Kiev!

Misha Bulgakov and me, both sceptical

Then we went for a Georgian restaurant, famous for a Soviet era film comedy "Mimino" about a Georgian and an Armenian (of whom a Japanese commented "all Russians look alike"). Our Ukrainian hosts educated us about Lviv (famous as Lemberg, from the Austro-Hungarian era), Kamennets-Podolski, Uzhgorod and other cool sights in the Ukraine. Personally, I enjoyed seeing the Crimea eight years ago, and am still looking for an excuse to visit Odessa on the Black Sea coast.

The Georgian and the Armenian from the Soviet comedy Mimino

After dinner, it was about time to head back for the airport. Just ten more churches! So we took the Funiculaire uphill, for a view of the Dnjepr river.

The funiculaire

The view over Dnjepr river

Ten more churches to go

This one counts twice

.ua is EU friendly

Time flew, and we needed to find our way to the hotel, so we took the metro.

Julie on the way down the endless Kiev metro escalators

A Kiev metro we barely missed

Dave, Aleksey and Julie felt I took a picture of their knees

Valeriy, Bogdan, Aleksey and Julie

It's fun in the Kiev metro

And now, the last leg of the Corporate Jet tour is coming to an end, as we're landing in a few minutes in Hamburg. Yup, we'll also do Munich tomorrow, but for that, we will have to take Lufthansa, as opposed to Decadence Airlines, which we've used so far. Ah, I have to confess, I could bear with another whirlwind tour of Europe with Decadence Airlines, despite sleep deprivation, not to mention a few issues with the Russian officials in Munich (not getting a visa), Helsinki (getting a visa but incurring huge extra cost), Moscow (not getting an immigration card), and Izhevsk (not having pilots, as the flight was randomly postponed by 1h).

Thank you all Ukrainian MySQLers, especially Bogdan Degtyarov and Lawrentii Novitzky, for excellent arrangements!


  1. I saw your photos and was suddenly set back to my time in Kiew. I was visiting some of our programmers down there. I found Kiew a very intresting place. I like the history you see on every corner, but also the people I like. They feel there is started a new periode since the breakdown of the USSR.

  2. [...] was my third time in Ukraine. I had been in Ukraine in August 2000, and in March this year. Compared to earlier times, this visit had about 100% less tourism and quite a bit more business [...]

  3. [...] sprang 6 gånger med Dave Douglas (i Menlo Park, Kista, vid Röda Torget i Moskva, i Kiev, i Santa Cruz och runt Sellmo i Nagu), 5 gånger med Patrik Backman, 5 gånger med Zack Urlocker, 3 [...]

  4. There are a lot of interesting places in Kiev. We've used tourist route from and in free time we've visited Pechersk and VDNH. I definitely recommend it to all newcomers.