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iPhone Archive: Gazza in Ukraine

I spent the first week of the 2018 World Cup knockout stages visiting a friend in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. During the Russia-Spain match, we sat in an empty bar -- no one wanted to publicly watch the host team play given the ongoing war that divided the country between ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.

Walking around the decidedly pro-Ukrainian Kyiv, it was hard to believe that people were dying just a few hundred kilometers east. Walking through the Independence Square, where the government murdered its own citizens just a few years earlier, was eerie.

Yet, few things were stranger than the drawings at the bar we watched the Argentina-France tie at, a nondescript downtown watering hole that featured multiple images of Paul Gascoigne.

Side note: the reason these seats were empty was because in Ukraine, people call ahead to reserve seats at bars and then often don't show up. When we arrived, we were told that every seat was taken even though only about one-quarter were filled by the end of the 90 minutes.

As far as I can tell, the man they call "Gazza" has no ties to Ukraine and we weren't at a British pub.

Like many things in this part of the world, no one was able to explain to me the significance of the Paul Gascoigne drawings. That's okay, they weren't the oddest images I saw that day:


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