Город двух языков, город двух религий, город двух типов людей, почему-то, ещё никого не оставил равнодушным. Город загадка с атмосферными местами и жуткими забегаловками, ослепительным солнцем и густыми, как взбитые сливки, туманами. Пяти лет однозначно не достаточно, чтобы узнать его, каждый день он открывается с новой стороны, с хорошей или плохой, и это даже не важно.

понедельник, 19 декабря 2011 г.

Почти Запретный Минск BY DAVID FARLEY

И вот я наслаждаюсь статьей журналиста из Нью-Йорка David Farley, которую нашла наконец-то в электронном виде тут http://www.afar.com/afar/a-chip-off-the-old-bloc
Этот парень прочувствовал Минск по-настоящему, во многом благодаря хорошим друзьям. В истории есть все: тлумачэнне абыякавассці да беларускай мовы, галерэя Ў, Ли Харви Освальд и годы его работы на Горизонте, разоблачение тайны убийства Кеннеди, много водки и сала, Аліварыя,  модный и любимый id bar, Птич, Свислочь, модели, Лукашенко и его усы и много другого такого родного. В общем, либо переходите по ссылке и читайте целиком, либо просмотрите мои любимые отрывки.

 ...I had met “George Harrison,” whose real name is Ivan, the day before when a Minsk-based friend of a friend, whose name is also Ivan, drove me out to the countryside for a bucolic Belarusian afternoon of barbecuing and beer drinking. In the company of a half-dozen shaggy-haired hipsters in their 20s, as large pieces of pork cooked on the grill, Ivan and I had nursed oversize bottles of Alivaria, the local brew, and watched water-skiers cruise by on the wide Ptich River.

...And if that wasn’t enough to send me straight to the Belarusian consulate to apply for a long-term visa, there was this bizarre nugget of historical minutiae: For two and a half years in the early 1960s, Lee Harvey Oswald—one of the most mysterious Americans of the 20th century and the alleged assassin of John F. Kennedy—called Minsk home.
How is Oswald remembered here, I wondered, and what trace of his Cold War–era residence did he leave behind? Also, how did it come to pass that while many of Belarus’s Soviet comrades have consciously broken with their past, Minsk stalled at the starting block, the capital of a country lost in time and space, still partying like it’s 1959? Except for Russians who come here to lose their rubles in the city’s many casinos, and the odd male Italian who explores the clubs to hit on the exceptionally beautiful Belarusian women, tourists of the world aren’t exactly uniting here. 

...Another friend of a friend, Siarhiej (pronounced SER-gey) Kalenda, a well-known Belarusian novelist, told me to meet him at Ў, a combination bookstore, gallery, and publishing house hidden in the courtyard of an apartment complex near the center of town.
Once in a while, a full-scale after-hours bash breaks out at Ў, and this was apparently one of those nights. As black-clad twentysomethings flowed into the gallery, Kalenda, 25, gave me color commentary: She’s a poet. He’s a writer. He’s a painter. She’s a graphic artist. A tall brunette delivered vodka shots to waiting hands; then came baskets of creamy, salty (and utterly delicious) salo—a pig-fat delicacy, the only delicacy worth smuggling out of the country.

...I also felt a tad paranoid. I sensed that the KGB, which, not surprisingly, still exists in Belarus, might break down the door at any second and arrest us all. I had spent the last few days wandering around Minsk with a slight sensation of fear tingling in my stomach. If it wasn’t the neoclassic KGB headquarters or the ominous, boxy, and heavily patrolled presidential palace (which is strictly verboten to photograph) or the ubiquitous police presence (Belarus has one of the highest ratios of cops per capita in the world), it could have been the general Stalinist design of the city. 

Kalenda jumped in, saying, “Whenever I travel around Europe and people ask where I’m from, I say Belarus. They say, ‘Where? Belgium?’ And I say, ‘No, Bel-a-rus.’ And they ask, ‘Oh, right. That’s part of Russia, yes?’ ” 

...In October 1959, Oswald turned up in Moscow wishing to become a citizen of the Soviet Union. The Russians said no, and Oswald attempted suicide in his hotel bathroom. Thinking he’d do it again and succeed, and fearing the United States would assume Oswald had been murdered by the Soviets, the Russians relented. Still, they suspected Oswald might be a Yankee spy, and they sent him off to Minsk, put him to work in an electronics factory called Gorizont (Horizon), and had the KGB track his every move. For a while Oswald settled down, marrying a local girl named Marina and making a few friends. After a couple of years, though, he tired of Soviet life. 
Then Edward took us inside, a cigarette dangling from his lips, and led us to the bathroom. “See this toilet?” he asked with more enthusiasm than I’d ever heard about a commode. He fanned his hand around it like he was trying to sell it to us. “You can see it’s an old toilet because the tank is up high and connected by this pipe.” We nodded. “This,” he said, taking a moment to catch his breath from all the excitement, “was Oswald’s toilet. Oswald sat right here!” And just in case we needed a physical exclamation mark, he pulled down on the chain hanging from the tank and gave it a flush.
Like the pensioner we met outside, Edward was convinced Oswald was no killer. He had a theory—a very long one, in fact—that suggested that Oswald was just a patsy, used by “them” because of his history of living in the U.S.S.R. Then Edward sat down at his computer and began playing a video about Oswald’s role in the history-making incident. When Ivan and I looked bored by it, Edward drew our attention to a photograph on the wall, a picture of an attractive, scantily clad young brunette.
“She’s nice looking,” Ivan said.
“She’s a fashion model. You want her phone number? Here,” he said, scribbling it down on a piece of paper. Ivan looked confused for a second and then thanked him. “How do you know her?” he asked.
Edward glanced at the photo of the girl, lying on her back, her eyes looking seductively at the camera. “She’s my granddaughter.”

...Ten minutes later, Ivan and I were sitting in a nearby pub, both giddy from the experience, me because I couldn’t believe I got into Oswald’s apartment, and Ivan because of the phone number in his pocket. The pub was called ID Bar. Fittingly enough for Belarus, the waiters were dressed as police officers, and the space we sat in was a replica of an interrogation room.
Despite the too-close-for-comfort atmosphere, the ID looked as though it could have been in any European capital city. And the place reminded me, yet again, that the world I’d come looking for—that stark, melancholy rot of communism—was only one facet of Minsk’s personality. The city was indeed stunningly Stalinist in its own way, but it was also more sophisticated than the stereotypical images of bread lines and babushkas.

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