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Scenes from Syria - Virginia


For the past week, Americans have been flooded with images of young children and adults foaming at the mouth. Eyes sealed shut from the effects of chemical weapons, people gasping for breath and dying as cameras filmed the atrocities. Lines of bodies wrapped in white sheets, the spectacle of death viewed by many as they sit on their comfortable couches or kitchen chairs and watch the news. Meanwhile, my country readies its arms and steps into its favorite role - world police. Tonight President Obama will make a speech to the nation to sell his military agenda for Syria. Obama - a master and persuasive orator. However, the majority of Americans don't support action in the region and I doubt anything our fearless leader says tonight will sway the polls or advance support for military intervention.

Today I'll show you scenes from a different Syria, a small town located about one hour from Washington, DC. Almost all of these photos were taken from my iPhone or from the window of the car while in motion, so quality isn't the best. The town is located in Madison County, Virginia and population statistics are hard to find. One site says the population of Syria is 238! It's small town America at its best, surrounded by views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and pastoral landscapes. A serene and completely different way of life.

1. Perhaps this looks similar to the landscapes in many Russian provinces? Tiny houses and cabins sit on huge masses of land.


2. Lots of farms, horses and cows in the area. Agriculture and farming - the main occupations of residents.


3. In Syria, almost everyone drives around in a pick-up truck. I've never noticed this special tag "Farm Use" before.



5. My family sometimes drives here on Saturdays or Sundays to visit Graves' Mountain Lodge, the main attraction in the town. The Lodge offers a lot of events, festivals, and a huge home-cooked meal for a cheap price. All you can eat - the American way! :)


6. The menu varies each weekend, but the service style is always the same. Waitresses bring out huge bowls of food and everyone at the table shares. They constantly refill the bowls, until everyone is stuffed full. On this day, we had chicken barbecue, lima beans, macaroni 'n' cheese (my favorite!) and fresh baked rolls. Dessert was an apple strudel.


7. I can't say the decor of the Lodge is appetizing. Dead, stuffed animals hang everywhere! Taxidermy - probably a lucrative profession in this area. Maybe this bear escaped from Russia? :)


8. Sly fox, but not sly enough to avoid a bullet, death and posthumous stuffing.


9. Lots of black bears in Syria, so the bear theme is common in the Lodge gift shop.


10. After the meal, you can lounge on rocking chairs or swings on a huge wrap-around porch. My mom and dad relax. :)


11. The main activities in the area are fishing and hiking. Kids come to the pond and try to catch trout. If you're lucky enough to get a bite and reel it in, you pay for your fish by the pound. I don't remember the cost, but it's very cheap.


12. Lots of American rednecks in Syria. Now "redneck", it's an interesting term. I don't equate rednecks with gopniks. In general, American rednecks are country folks, not delinquent alcoholics or thugs. They simply live a rural lifestyle, but still work very hard to support their families and community. I think some of my family members even fall into this category.


13. I don't know how many of you fish, but it's a common activity for American kids and adults. I love this photo! Brother and sister in camouflage, competing for the biggest fish.


14. When I was a kid, my dad made my sister and I hook our own worms. On this trip, I discovered a lot of kids now use corn. It's not the same! Every child should go through the rite of passage of hooking a worm and having its guts spill out on your hands. I suppose kids today are more delicate and polished, less willing to get their hands dirty.


15. Apparently corn works, Aidan caught a fish!


16. Boy scouts at the pond. Readers previously informed me the Soviet equivalents were known as "young pioneers."


17. Typical house in the small town.


18. Very common for the American flag to hang on the side of the home, or from a pole in the yard. The homes are well-maintained, though some are abandoned.


19. Most properties are surrounded by natural streams and mountain views.


20. Some families name their properties. I like this one - "Bright River."


21. I mentioned earlier that this is redneck central. However, it's still America, and you'll find a lot of ethnic diversity even in small towns. Here, an Asian family eats noodles on a grassy area by one of the streams.


22. The town itself I've rarely explored, mostly because I'm usually here with my nephew and it's impossible to keep a five year old boy entertained while walking the streets. There are a lot of antique shops here, an old cemetery, and mom and pop grocery stores.


23. Abandoned store.


24. Wonderful, roller-coaster roads here! In my first Russian post, I made a big deal about the quality of the roads in your country. In America, we're simply not accustomed to shitty roads. Even in the middle of nowhere like Syria, we still have excellent pavement infrastructure.



26. Abandoned school bus on the side of the road. I didn't notice school buses in Moscow during my February trip. Do Russian schools pick up kids in buses, or are parents responsible for dropping them off at school?


27. I love living in the Northern Virginia area. You can be in the middle of farmland, the mountains, or busy city life within one hours drive. My State also is home to Shenandoah National Park. In autumn, I'll go there and photograph the famous Skyline Drive. It's a scenic mountain route that's beautiful when fall foliage is at its peak.


I suppose many people would be extremely bored in this small town, but it's a nice weekend escape for me. Now we sit and wait to see whether America will start bombing a very different Syria. What do you think? Is it justified, or should we mind our own business?


( 63 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 10th, 2013 03:51 pm (UTC)
Amazing !!! Thanks!!!
Sep. 10th, 2013 06:58 pm (UTC)
My pleasure!
Sep. 10th, 2013 04:14 pm (UTC)
>>I didn't notice school buses in Moscow during my February trip. Do Russian schools pick up kids in buses, or are parents responsible for dropping them off at school?

We have, but rarely. Most children go to school on foot, it's not to far from home. Sometimes parents use cars.

>>Now we sit and wait to see whether America will start bombing a very different Syria. What do you think? Is it justified, or should we mind our own business?

America's intervenention in the war favorably for rebels. Chemical attack is also beneficial for the rebels.

Is fecit cui prodest.

Sep. 10th, 2013 06:59 pm (UTC)
In America, we're lazy so few children walk. Plus, parents are scared of abductions, etc. so the bus is the easiest way.
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Sep. 10th, 2013 07:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 10th, 2013 10:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Sep. 10th, 2013 11:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 10th, 2013 04:20 pm (UTC)
"our fearless leader"- LOL!
We're going to bomb Syria for bombing Syrians and fight on the same side as Al Qaeda while we're fighting Al Qaeda? (c)
The short summary of my opinion)

Sep. 10th, 2013 07:03 pm (UTC)
I don't support military action. Absolutely not. Everything is too uncertain and there's no exit plan. I don't always agree with Obama's policies, but I believe he's an exceptional and persuasive speaker. In this case, he whipped his dick out too soon and was forced to put it back in his pants when other allies refused to stroke him. A bit humiliating.
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Sep. 10th, 2013 07:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 10th, 2013 10:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Sep. 10th, 2013 11:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 11th, 2013 12:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Sep. 11th, 2013 08:56 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 11th, 2013 01:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Sep. 11th, 2013 02:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 11th, 2013 02:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - south_of_broad - Sep. 11th, 2013 07:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asharky - Sep. 10th, 2013 09:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - south_of_broad - Sep. 11th, 2013 07:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 11th, 2013 07:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - south_of_broad - Sep. 11th, 2013 08:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 11th, 2013 08:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - south_of_broad - Sep. 11th, 2013 08:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 11th, 2013 08:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 10th, 2013 04:23 pm (UTC)
I love these pictures! Beautiful town. Loves! Xoxo
Sep. 10th, 2013 07:04 pm (UTC)
This is a great place, very relaxing! You should take a drive there next time you're in Virginia. :)
Sep. 10th, 2013 04:25 pm (UTC)
Such a lovely place! All my favorite things are present: mountains, rivers and forest. There are many nice people around and doesn't matter are they rednecks or not. And your roads are just fantastic, we in UK very rare have this quality of road maintenance. Particularly our pavements are disgusting: bits and pieces of tarmac, broken so many times for pipes and cables repairs. Local government can't afford any proper tiles.
Sep. 10th, 2013 07:06 pm (UTC)
These are my favorite things also! :)
Sep. 10th, 2013 05:13 pm (UTC)
As always, great post! The photo N1 - definitely Russia :)
Sep. 10th, 2013 07:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Denis. I'll see these scenes in Russia again when I return in a few weeks.
Sep. 10th, 2013 06:07 pm (UTC)
I think that the collective mind of people is wise.

It may fail to understand what people want, and it may be struggling to find agreement. But when the collectove mind says "we DON'T WANT this", it is never wrong.

In the specific case with Syria, I suspect there is a collective feeling that these political bastards are mocking you and want the nation to pay some bills for their games that are worth a lot of money, and worse, a lot of blood.

People do not know what these political games are about, but know for certain they'd like to see them in hell.

Furthermore, since these political games involve chemical attacks and dying children, it makes these games a crime. People don't want to be involved into a crime - especially when they are not certain who is the killer.

And mass media - they lie. They always do.

I wish Syria, Middle East were the same peaceful land as Syria, VA.

Edited at 2013-09-10 06:09 pm (UTC)
Sep. 10th, 2013 07:11 pm (UTC)
Mass media specializes in sensationalism in every country, including America. Anyway, I stopped watching the news because the scenes are horrific and it's the same rhetoric over and over again. This region of the world will never see peace in my lifetime, with or without America's intervention. If you ever come back to the DC area, it's a very easy drive to visit this peaceful town.
Sep. 10th, 2013 07:45 pm (UTC)
Nice place!

One can see almost the same scenes on "Mozhaisk sea", a large atrificial lake not far from our dacha.
But our rednecks are not that accurate: they drink a lot of beer and leave trash on the shores :(

Sep. 10th, 2013 10:40 pm (UTC)
Rednecks are usually harmless and not aggressive. However, I doubt you encountered many in Seattle. It's hippie land there.
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Sep. 10th, 2013 11:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 10th, 2013 09:48 pm (UTC)
Sep. 10th, 2013 10:41 pm (UTC)
Hi! Nice to hear from you. Thanks for the photo.
Sep. 10th, 2013 09:50 pm (UTC)
Nice post, but looks like the quality of the photos got worse. Do you use a different camera or I'm wrong?
Sep. 10th, 2013 10:43 pm (UTC)
I wrote in the post that the pictures weren't good quality because most were taken with my iPhone or from the car window while in motion. I was traveling with family and a lot of kids. They don't have the time or patience to pull over in the car every time I want to shoot something. But I've never claimed to be a good photographer. :) I'm a complete amateur.
Sep. 10th, 2013 11:36 pm (UTC)
BTW one thought came to my mind while watching YouTube.
Since you are going to visit Czechoslovakia and still remember women from that area I recommend you watch this movie.

This is the main Christmas movie in former Czechoslovakia and also it is famous in Russia.

www. youtube. com/watch?v=zL-2HDO9Uvk&list=PLC43E1FB2268D98B8

Very beautiful, set in a winter forest in mountains. All that you like :)
It's a playlist of several parts, the only version I could find there with English dubbing.
Sep. 11th, 2013 01:01 am (UTC)
Very interesting, thanks! :)
Sep. 11th, 2013 04:55 am (UTC)
Syria12 pic
"Brother and sister in camouflage, competing for the biggest fish"(c) I'm sorry, but the lack of fishing rods in the frame makes the picture ambiguous: "Brother teaches his sister to urinate in a standing position" But the picture is still great!
redneck = деревенщина. Rednecks in Russia are not aggressive too and have a habit of saying hello to strangers.
The word "gopnik" is more suited to an urban gangsta rap lover.
Technological advantage provides the ability to kill without much risk of being killed. This is a great temptation. Consider an example. Occasionally children fight with each other and it is quite a normal thing. Life is such way. But if parents notice that their child is fighting too often, they have to take action. All parents want to raise a decent man from their child. It is the task of American society - take care of their "baby" - their state. There is no other "state-cop" who could teach USA.
What is the Cyrillic version of "workshop on film" slang? Back translation confuses me completely.
Do you know that the monk Cyril was the greatest humanist and philanthropist? Here's the answer why: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glagolitic_alphabet

Edited at 2013-09-11 06:09 am (UTC)
Sep. 11th, 2013 01:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Syria12 pic
They're holding fishing rods, you just can't see them. Why else would young children stand so still? Speaking of peeing, when my nephew was about three he would occasionally try to pee in public places. Walking in the park, he would suddenly begin to pull his pants down to urinate. Little boys - interesting creatures! Now he simply touches himself all the time. Over the weekend, we asked him if there was something wrong with his "wee wee" (slang for penis). He answered in a serious and curious manner - "Yes, when I touch it a lot it gets hard." :))) This is for mommy to explain to him, not me!! Curious young lad. Do boys every grow out of this habit? I think not! :)
:) - andrey_kaminsky - Sep. 11th, 2013 02:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: :) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 11th, 2013 03:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 11th, 2013 07:02 am (UTC)
Another nice post :) I like the pictures very much!
"Maybe this bear escaped from Russia? :)" - yes, and reached America by swimming :)
"Gopniks" are not the same as rednecks :) we have the word "деревенщина" in Russian :) it means exactly the same as rednecks - country folks.
Sep. 11th, 2013 01:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks Anna! I didn't know this Russian word ""деревенщина" so you have taught me something new!
(no subject) - siberian_cat - Sep. 11th, 2013 02:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 11th, 2013 11:40 am (UTC)
it's not too hard?
Sep. 11th, 2013 01:54 pm (UTC)
Hi! I can't view the photo?
(no subject) - modest_so_zvesd - Sep. 11th, 2013 02:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 12th, 2013 06:14 am (UTC)
"...Now we sit and wait to see whether America will start bombing a very different Syria. What do you think? Is it justified, or should we mind our own business?.."
Putin said all :)


In general, of course America is better to do the problems, rather than trying to solve other people's. You can, for example, at last prohibit torture in Guantanamo, to abolish the death penalty, and so on. And that in fact it looks very strange: having these things in yourself - to teach others. For a start it is helpful to become a civilized and modern country.
Sep. 12th, 2013 01:32 pm (UTC)
I read this Putin article. Maybe I'll write a post about it. :) You can't compare Guantanamo and the death penalty with the Syrian situation. In those cases, we are dealing with bad actors, horrible people. In Syria, either the rebels or Assad are unleashing chemical attacks against innocent children and adults. Such actions should not be acceptable to any country. Btw, I support the death penalty in some circumstances.
(no subject) - asharky - Sep. 12th, 2013 01:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 12th, 2013 01:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
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