Ok, so I already posted a fourth floor view of part of the city in post “No escape“.  I’ve only seen couple of housing projects that are more than 5 stories high and no hi-rise  office buildings at all.  This is a fairly small town of around 450,000 inhabitants.  It is also the capital city of Lugansk Oblast, or county.  That said, it’s still pretty limited, unlike Kiev where everything can be found…for a price.

Our neighborhood, near the center of town

We are living one block from the city center which means all attractions are within walking distance.  Attractions being the mall, a couple of supermarkets and the town bazaar, or open air market.  As we shopped for clothes for Matan, it quickly became apparent that the majority of retail shops sold only shoes.   More specifically boots, lots and lots of boots.  It is truly amazing to watch the women here navigate over snow, ice and slush with 5 inch spike heels.  Seeing what these boots go through, it’s no wonder that women replace them regularly.  I just don’t know how they manage to pay for the luxury given that the average annual income in Ukraine is just $3000 per person in 2008. Wikipedia reports that in July 2008 the average nominal salary in Ukraine reached 1,930  hryvnias per month.  Using today’s exchange rate, that means only 239 USD per month, or $2,868 per year.

Our building with a Lexus parked outside

I shot this photo at the doorway to our apartment building.  In spite of the general disrepair of the entire building, and the nearby rusted out playground, this is considered a very good neighborhood.  The Lexus apparently belongs to one of the tenants since we see it parked here regularly.  Notice also the complete lack of any sort of parking plan.  People just drive up to their building and leave the car as close as they can get.  We did see areas that look like trailer parks of sheds, and were told that the sheds are used for parking cars safely, so they aren’t stolen.