MIHCK, the second!
Slowly getting caught up on this motherfucker, so I return thee holee reader to MIHCK, the land of awesome.
On a serious note, we were warned a shit ton about der Byellarussia before our departure. Do they have an autocrat in power? Yes, and he is the patron saint of this blog. Is it a relatively poor country? Well, yes. Are the 5-year-plan style group farms still running? Yes. Does the government wish the CCCP were still kickin it, Brezhnev style? Yes. Do they still have the KGB? Yes. Can you be thrown into jail for protesting? Yes.
Does that mean it has nothing to offer, and the people there aren't fucking champions of the world and awesome in every which way?
Of course not. This I swear by the bushiest of the bushy eyebrows of Leonid Brezhnev.
Firstly, from a completely objective standpoint, the women in Belarus have finally toppled Estonia as the Queenies Supreemie of Eastern Europe. Even the men there agree.
Check out Dmitri, Sergei in the crotch, and "My name Xenianiraia, but call me 'Jane'" Alright "Jane."
Mike and I attest as well.
And for real, it wasn't like these two had some sort of monopoly on hot. It's funny like this - that old stereotype like "DUDE BRAH JUSTTTT TELL DEE WOMEN OUT THERE YOU ARE AN AMERIKKAN AND THEY WILL HOPPP YOUR BONES."
If you tell them you're American, they'll assume you're rich, and expect you buy them drinks. And even if I were searching for something like that, I wouldn't be wasting on money on beers for broads. However, said stereotype proved truer in Belarus - not so much with the women, but it was the first time on this trip at least I felt exceedingly "exotic" simply by the grace of my nationality. Maybe it's because that aforementioned anti-American autocrat, Mr. Lukashenko, and his being too busy playing 3rd option wide receiver on team Axis of Evil ("SOMEDAY I'LL GET MY SHJOJT"), being all Rudy and shit. It seems all his anti-American rhetoric has had the adverse effect and made buttholes like the Sherman brothers into tres sexy beasts. Which is a sham, obviously, because...
...because, well, we're morons.
That big glass ovary thing is the new National Library, and that big statue is Frances Skarnya, the national writer of Belarus. They love their statues in Minsh - lots of monuments to history. Monuments. MONUMENTS. The Island of Tears, the Afghanistan War Monument. Notice the polished bronze on the angel-dong.
Check it out: bigger and better in Belarus. Take that, Cabrini Green! Kilometer long apartment blocks and shit - Stalin does it with massive mustache monumental style.
We stayed with Club Beau Monde - an apartment where only four people lived but with a serious crash-pad vibe. The characters who swung in and out of there were seriously awesome, and each deserved their own consideration simply because they ruled that much, even though the language barrier was pretty severe. These are pictures of a fucking motley crew of champions.
Most of the guys were based in computer work (programming, search optimization, flash design), which makes sense - tech companies like Hewlett Packard and Xerox have offices in Minsk, and the internet hasn't really hit the hands of government censors like the press has. Also, unlike China, the government hasn't caught onto restricting proxy servers yet. The future is here, breh.
Here's a roll call for the Beau Monde Consortium.
Cry for the Indians, sweet Belarussian lad! Showed us around our first full day in Minsk, when we were incredibly hungover. Asked us if we wanted a vodka shot before going out. Gave us an extreme tour of extremity. Also, slept on my feet one night.
Another eager guide, wanted to drink away the hangover and showed us the "psychedelic architecture" of the National Library. A king indeed, he taught us how to say "rape" and "hangover" in Russian. Loud, funny, and laughed like a hyena.
I think Victor's English skill doubled over the course of our three day visit. More serious in demeanor, but a wonderful guy as well. Here he is, perfectly sober and ready to play some extreme, err, boggle, which we won because of our greater comfort with the Latinate alphabet. I wonder if there is cyrillic boggle. These are the questions that need answering.
Max works too much, which is a pity because of the 600 dollar a month NBA style salary cap on Belarussian citizens. Max and Mike talked about programming for a while, during which time I forcefully shoved my fist down my throat in boredom. Another champ. Funny thing about Max - while his English was OK, it was much better when talking about program optimization and streamlining than it was about, let's say, ordering food from a restaurant. Again, the future is here.
Nadya and Valo
They were leaving Belarus in a few days for England - the duration of their stay there wasn't determined, but I suspect it was meant to be prolonged. Valo was the paparazzi of this endeavor, snapping pictures flash bulb all the time. Whenever he couldn't communicate what he meant to say, he would hold his hands out and go "AHHHHH". Valo tried one day to try and register our visas, and it was a wash, but we did manage to play in a leaf pile. Nadya was his girlfriend and they were like some Cyclops/Jean Gray shit, except the cool Cyclops before the movies made him look like a fag. She was a devout local, indeed, always up for letting someone discover Minsk. And she told me about how friends of friends are in jail for protesting against Lukashenko, and was an eager tour guide proud of showing people around.
In that picture, Valo's got a plate of MOTHERFUCKING FRIED BREAD. It's only dark rye bread, deep fried and rubbed with salt and garlic. Yeah, seriously, WHY THE FUCK HASN'T AMERICA FIGURED THIS SHIT OUT YET. Grease? Bread carbs? Salt? Garlic? Hell, that shit's more American than apple pie, and only those former commies know its glory. We must liberate der fried bread, yo. Radio Free fried bread.
Scorpion comes to Belarus.
Much unamused, unlike these happy cartoon caricatures. All IZ GOOD IN BELARUUUZZZ.
But "Xeniaiajyiaji, call me Jane" is amused by the antics of Dmitri, the other Beau Monde front man.
Yes, posted already I know, but I love that picture. And Dmitri is fucking legion. How could you not love that face?
And also, Sergei:
The point guard of Beau Monde, Sergei was a fucking champ, and we watched porn on his computer and then ate crab dip with rye bread and he showed me where the grocery store was and Mike and I made fajitas and then we drank in an internet cafe until the sun came up, along with Victor, Max, Valo, and Nadya. Check out Mike at six in the morning, POLICE AT THE DOOR, Ice-T style.
No police at the door, actually, but we were only about 200 meters away from this place, where the patron saint of this blog lives. I think that building needs a dictator-style mustache.
Can't see it, but I'm standing in front of some tanks.
I've broken the "picture/dick joke/picture/commie joke" format that we've been keeping pretty solid for the extant of this blog for a real reason, and that is because Minsk is a real place. It is not, as we have been told, "like glasnost never happened." The cars are not all Soviet-issue Valgas, there are no breadlines, everything is not crumbling to the ground (though the countryside is in worse shape), etc. Sure, there are hammers and sickles and red and yellow, and agriculture is still state-run. It is an autocracy. When our hosts went "shh" when we talked about Lukashenko, they laughed, yes, but I sensed they were only half-kidding.
The people we met in Belarus were, and this is not an insult to everyone else we've come across on our trip, the most kind-hearted we've stumbled upon. Right now, in Bialystok, Poland, our hosts' apartment is across the street from a Belarussian consulate. Mike and I see it everyday and mention getting new visas and pretend we're kidding. Everyone in Belarus, not only our hosts were so kind and smart - the people behind railway ticket counters, the hotel women in Brest, the bartenders, everyone. All this is in a place we were told "IT'S DANGEROUUSSS FOR AMERICKANS DON'T YOU KNOWW YOU CANN BE SHOTT FORR MAKIN FUN OF LUKASHENKO!?!" Yes, and if you're a "terrorist" you can be locked up for two years without the right for an attorney and given electroshock torture from inbred West Virginians. How drole.
Anyhow, if you ever can, swing a plane down to Minsk, and see for yourselves. I've kind of drained myself of praises, and have said "champ" so much the "c" on this keyboard is split in two. Just listen to this: Belarus, and Minsk, fucking slayed, and we were rightfully slayed back.