18 July, 2012

FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Minsk 2012 - Part one -

Even just watching RG on live is wonderful world for me, however this particular opportunity gave me more than this. It deserves to be called 'dream days'.

More than one month ago, I was thinking my vacation after submitting my dissertation. And at the same time trying to get tickets for the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, I was not able to get anything in official way to watch RG in London 2012 therefore, I decided to get to Belarus world cup as a sort of compromise.

Firstly, having known I have to apply proper visa to visit the country of Belarus, I got in touch to the organisation of the competition. And their response was absolutely quick. They send their certain invitation to Belarusian embassy in London and accordingly, I applied my visa by post.

The procedure of my visa application was a bit dodgy. Basically, I am a Japanese but my application doesn't happen in Japan but in the UK. So there are no examples before. I looked up on the Internet about the visa application in Japanese but they mostly talk about 48 hours transit visa hence not proper tourists visa. The embassy has got their website and explain the way in which applicants have to do in order to get visa but, annoying thing is it contains some contradictions in its descriptions. Therefore I had to ask them to make sure that which way is the correct. I emailed but no reply and rang instead. They answered but their attitude was not kind at all, moreover, generally speaking embassy or public organisations like that are basically bureaucratic. If I make mistake to apply visa, they just reject it and normally require me another application. I did not want to be forced to do like that. I rang twice to double check for myself and finally sent it.
Luckily, I successfully got my tourist visa quite quickly. First important step has been done.
Secondly, I needed to notify this the organisation and book a flight to Minsk. At that time, the organiser suggested me to stay an official hotel with gymnasts and if I do this, the organiser can issue an accreditation which enables me to take photos of gymnasts at next to the floor. I had no choice but to say YES despite it costs a lot. Their proposition includes pick up buses both from the airport to hotel and return.

Flight to Minsk was no problem apart from stink from a boy next to me. Depart around 14:00 from Gatwick to arrival 19:00 in Minsk local time.
Soon after my arrival before passport control, a man who was waiting for me spoke to me and took me to a compulsory insurance desk. I paid for it 2 euros for 4 days (what a cheap). And got to the passport control. (I wondered why this man was able to get into this side because obviously he is not a tourist at all.) Nothing happened at the passport control, which is good.

From the airport to the hotel which I am supposed to stay, I got on a pickup bus and watching the landscapes all the time. Unlike the UK, it was nice weather and quite shiny thanks to this. Perhaps because there are no sea in this country, I felt much humid than UK. The traits of the land were, flat, broad, straight, and massive architecture.
There are no steep slopes and no mountains. Some hills are there but still gentle. The roads have at least 3 lanes always and super broad. All of them can be seen motor ways. And also the roads rarely curve, being straight anyway. Perhaps for the drivers, it's boring to drive. As to the architecture, everything is square and huge. But due to the broad roads, I didn't feel tight.

About 40 or 50 minutes later, I arrived at the hotel. I was tired already. And then somebody called my name. I was not able to recognise who it was quickly since I wasn't wearing glasses. And I got closed to the person, she was Liubov Charkashyna. She stays at the same hotel as I. That was the best welcome that I've ever had. And she gave me the dinner ticket for me at that time as the article  second to the last one shows.

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