Watching with eyes wide open

Minsk is soon to welcome a great many foreign guests and it’s interesting to think what impression our country will make upon them. A Chinese student here in Belarus tells us what astonishes him…
Izuyi Chaya

Minsk is soon to welcome a great many foreign guests and it’s interesting to think what impression our country will make upon them. A Chinese student here in Belarus tells us what astonishes him…

“You have very good roads and everyone obeys the traffic regulations! In Beijing, locals often ignore them, as do pedestrians; they cross the road without looking, Beijing is a city of bicycles, with about 8 million cyclists. I know that many people in Belarus have begun using bicycles. I think it’s a good trend.

I’m also surprised that it’s against the law to drink alcohol on the street, including beer. I hear that smoking is also to be prohibited soon.

Your dairy products have impressed me: milk, sour cream and curd cheese are delicious. Chinese people see eating as more than an appeasement of hunger; it’s a ritual — a solemn performance. Even today, older people in China greet each other by asking if they’ve eaten and a man who has lost his job is said to have ‘broken his rice bowl’. I like Belarusian cuisine — such as draniki (potato pancakes). It’s interesting to me that most people in Belarus think that a dinner without soup isn’t a dinner at all.

I’m attracted to Belarus more, the longer I remain. My favourite places for walking are near the National Library and around Troitsky Suburbs.”

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