Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Letter to the editor...


As usual, I enjoyed reading your blog recently. If you don't remember me, I'm Matthew, I wrote to you last year. I too have a wife from Belarus, and now two daughters. We live in Northern VA, but go back to Minsk, nearly every year.

I laughed at the youtube video you posted and the whole cake episode.

As much as I love that country and visiting there, there are times when all you can do is stand there at the counter with "you gotta be kidding me" look on your face while the lady wearing the pink (or green) hat on her head tries to tell you that you are wrong.

It reminded me of my last trip to Minsk. I went to a magazine in the "cyxepebo" region and being a sucker for good beer, I picked up couple of bottles of premium beer and some of the local brew (which is just as good in my opinion). When I gotto the register, the girl took the premium bottle, looked at it, and said to me in Russian "this costs 10,000 rubles, do you know that" I replied "yes", she then looked at me and furrowed her brow and said "do you HAVE 10,000 rubles?". This caused me take a look down at my appearance and get some looks from those behind me. As I just came out of the lakes from fishing, I may not have been dressed in my best track suit or pointy shoes, but none the less had money in pocket. I couldn't help but be offended, but had to save face quickly. Prior to coming inside, i exchanged a $100 for rubles, I pulled the money out, gave her a 100,000 ruble note and told her "Da, yest. Shto vy dumete, ya iz raone?". This put her into all kinds of a tizzy as she now had to run from register to register looking for change.

Normally, I try to keep a low key, but don't particularly care for the way that some people look down on those who appear not to have money.

Hopefully that experience will prevent some other fisherman from having to be embarrassed on his way home!!

I was going to in August, but I came in late for my Bro in-law's wedding and was in and out in 7 days, spent most of the time doing the obligatory tour of relative's houses and shashlik pits, I did, however, have the pleasure of kicking a MVD Colonel's ass in a skeet shooting contest. It's a good thing that those black and white sticks hold so much authority, because their marksmanship skills have a lot to be desired.

Best of luck to you in Pinsk, It sure looks like a beautiful town. I haven't gotten to see much of southern Belarus, we mostly travel around the northern end since that's where most of her crew is from. I'll be sure to continue reading your postings.


Matthew L


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