belarus bank

ten years ago i was involved in politics. my motives for getting involved was that i wanted to fight for the swedish rights in this country, however, i noticed pretty soon that i wasn’t the hard-core politician, my skin wasn’t thick enough. so i got a job there instead. that way i could be a part of it, but more in the shadows so to speak. oh the stories i could tell… but anyway. i’m off to st petersburg tomorrow. that got me remembering. i was there eleven years ago, we hade applied for funds from the ministry of environment to go on these “near environment”-trips. my memories are a bit fragmented due to all the little water we consumed, but it must have been one helluva trip considering about four or five of us managed to get mononucleosis…

a year later we went to minsk. now that was.. an interesting trip indeed. i, who at least used to be good at maths, have seldom been so confused. you are not allowed to exchange belarus rubles outside the land of lukashenko, so we had to do it when finally there. i remember going to an atm and someone telling me 45.000 BYR would be enough. okay, if you say so.. after that we had to get the 1.000 bills turned into useful money so we went to a kiosk and bought chewing gum. it cost 7 rubles and the lady in the kiosk was furious. i didn’t understand why until i checked my bank account back home again. that 45.000 BYR had been worth 19 euro…

the reason for us getting money from an atm instead of exchanging it was very simple and also the reason for me writing this post at all.. when we got to the border we had asked the military where we can get some money and they had told us there would be a bank about a mile down the road. when we reached the bank, we however decided more or less unanimously not to exchange our money there…

yes, the sign really does say belarus bank...

and yes. that’s a footbridge that you’re supposed to walk over in order to get to the bank. how a bunch of drunk 18-22 year old students ever managed to get back alive from that trip remains a mystery to this very day.


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