Αναρτήθηκε από: Nikos | Ιουλίου 29, 2003

29th of July 2003

Well, I finally managed! After spending something like 5 days here, i finally got stable (although not so fast) internet access, so now i can start writing my blog! Of course everyone has to admit that writing a blog while on training abroad is my original idea, so please i don’t want anybody mumbling and whispering «psss psss he is doing the same thing as Raggi did!» Raggi was writing in Icelandic, right? Not that it would be easy for me to find a Greek language pack here, especially with this Russian keyboard…

Where should i start? From the very beginning, i think… Well, let’s go back to last Wednesday night! Oh, what a wonderful last night for a poor IAESTE member down there in Athens… having to deal with an Arda-wanting-to-go-to-the-hospital-because-he-thought-he-was-very-ill, and all this just a few hours before my flight…did i mention that i did not have time even to prepare my luggage? Cm’on i’m just leaving for one month, why should i have prepared luggage earlier? Thank God things got solved pretty soon (Thanks to Yorgos and his fast and sharp decisions!) and we managed to have our small good-bye taverna dinner in Exarchia…Now that Raggi and Lauri had left, it was only Yorgos, Sophia,Kristina, Steven, Wendelien, Ali and I (Hope i didn’t forget anyone!) Ah, what a wonderful experience it was, especially when the waiter spilled half a liter of wine on Kristina’s pants!!!

Anyway, things didn’t get too emotional that night (which i am really thankful of…people know that i’m not that good in goodbyes!) so then at about 2 o clock in the morning i returned at home to make my luggage (God only knows how many things i forgot to take with me!) and then strolling to the airport (since Yorgos INSISTED on giving me a ride…) After not too much goodbye stuff, a sleepy flight from Athens to Frankfurt and a flight from Frankfurt to Minsk (in which i didn’t sleep coz i was getting pretty anxious)..i am stepping foot in the Republic of Belarus!!!!

Well…that place is so..SOVIET! A very friendly and hospitable airport (Raggi would understand these terms i think) covered with marble, full of military etc…after something like two hours of waiting and trying to communicate (since NOONE speaks english here), I managed to get my visa, pass through passport control, get my luggage, and meet Alina, the IAESTE girl here..after changing money (giving 250 euros and getting a BUNCH of almost 600 thousand Belarussian Rubles – imagine that the biggest bill here is the ten thousand one…) we got a taxi from the airport to my hostel – situated in the center of Minsk, near Persamanskaya metro station – meaning «1st of May»…

Driving from the airport to Minsk center, one easily understands that mountains simply do not exist in Belarus. The whole country is annoyingly flat (and annoyingly green, i would add a few days later!)…well…for a guy that was born and raised in a mountainous country like me (especially on mount Pelion) that’s pretty odd! I was sure that somebody was hiding the mountains away from me – soon after i found out that the tallest spot of the country is a 300-m hill somewhere!

Whatever…arriving at the hostel! First of all i have to mention that in comparison with my hostel, Omega is a 50-star Luxurious AAA Class summer resort! The whole place STINKS, the WCs are common and stink, the showers are common and they STINK, and not to mention that there is a significant population of flies and other insects with which we share accomodation… what’s worst? The hostel gets LOCKED every day at midnight and STAYS locked till 6 o’clock in the morning…we should implement these methods in our Athenian hotels, don’t you think? Holding the trainees as prisoners! Imagine a Friday or a Saturday night, oing to a club KNOWING that you have to return after 6 o’clock! Whatever…my roommates are a French guy, Nicolas (who also thinks that Minsk is OT, and what’s more, he is like seeing Harry Potter on the mirror!) and Kyril, a guy from FYROM (who really wants to get into a fight with me for the whole FYROM stuff, but i won’t let this happen!). In the room near us there is Baris, the Turkish guy that lives in Sweden (and is really WONDERFUL), and until yesterday he was with Oyvind from Norway, who just left..pretty bad, because for the few fays i had met him, he was a COOL guy 🙂 What else? hmmm… oh yeah, Natalie and Mark from the Netherlands, as well as Janina, the Belarussian girl that was also living in our floor and we spent lots of time together – too bad she’s living for her home town in the weekend. So, that’s all… and concerning that Natalie finished working (she’s on vacations now, that’s why she invited her boyfriend Mark here) we are FOUR trainees in Minsk! Some people back in Athens should really start admiring the hard work i had to do this summer, right? 🙂

So…strolling in the city! Minsk is FAR different from what i expected to be honest! It is a very beautiful city of almost two million inhabitants, suffocating from… parks and greenery! It has lots of enormous parks (like the national garden back in Athens) and people seem to do nothing else than walking around, consuming ice-creams (i found out that Russians and Belarussians adore ice-creams, even in polar temperatures!) Even though Communism isn’t any more the official regime here, there are HUGE Lenin statues in the center, as well as the hammer-and-sickle everywhere! In obelisks in the parks, in the metro stations… and of course one can see everywhere the CCCP sign (USSR in the Cyrillic Alphabet). Except from the Buildings that are on the main avenue (Skorina prospect) – which are quite impressive and beautiful – the mainly urban populated area of the city is full with monuments of soviet architecture : Straight, efficient, no curves, tall and dominant blocks of flats – even the flats of Athens would look like masterpieces of art compared to these… still you can see some pretty images of Minsk in http://homepages.nsys.by/minsk/

Thursday we didn’t do anything in particular…just going for some junk food with the guys in a place called Byblos in Oktobrskaya Square and had something like Gyros – a far heavier one though!
Friday was the interesting day! After walking around the city, going to the IAESTE office to leave my passport there for all necessary registration procedures, we went to Westworld Club at night with the other guys, to do the traditional celebration here – every new trainee that arrives needs to get celebrated with Vodka! The club was fabulous, it even had…stripshow! We started drinking vodka shots from the bottle we bought for 10 euros or something (in a club!)…at some point, Baris and I were «abducted» by two fat drunk Russian guys (in the beginning i have to admit that i was afraid that they were going to rape us, kill us, burn us etc) that just bought something like three glasses of Vodka for us in another bar – not to mention that one of them was wearing an unbuttoned shirt and we were staring at his hairy chest…of course our conversation was wonderful, all in Russian! 😛

Anyway….best things still to come… i will continue tomorrow – since i don’t get anything better to do here… 🙂 Enjoy!

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