Zhenya Mantsevich and Verasen By are a unique couple from Belarus. He is a disc jockey and guitar player; she a TV journalist, violinist and acrobat. Together, they make sweet music and are part of a bigger group hitchhiking the Western Hemisphere with a stool to perform on.
Well, that's what their act is called in Belarus. With a Little stool. C Taburetochkoi. They talked about that in an interview via Skype that was broadcast in Minsk via the TUT.by portal of Belarus. From the top of Zina's Guest House.
They married in April and headed out on an extended honeymoon. First on their hitchhiking adventure was a four month stop in New York City and Brighton Beach, where they worked.
Verasen was a host in Russian restaurants, also acting as a waiter when needed. And he worked in construction up to 14 hours a day.
Zhenya took her violin to Manhattan and played on the streets for tips.
They hung out with other performers from Minsk and performed with them, too. They did all of that so they would have enough money for a year of traveling. But traveling frugally. They are members of Couch Surfing.
And that is how they came to me. With backpacks and sleeping mats. I offered then a down feather-bed and Memory Foam as well. Each morning, we had tea and music. Music that Punta dog became quite accustomed to. Zhenya cooked from my pantry and shopped to supplement it for their largely vegetarian diet. The food was my favorite kind: nutrient dense!
They went to Playa Norte daily and played like children. Then, nights they'd be back at their Netbook, logging and blogging and Skyping the world. We'd trade Russian slang, mine older from my father and then the Refuseniks I tutored in English in the '70s, before they were born. They giving me the Russification-of-Facebook lexicon. And spoiling Punta dog something fierce. Verasen especially. I would say something about him over-indulging her and he'd say, "So now am I supposed to beat her? Dogs exist to be spoiled. They are our best friend. Haven't you heard?"
It was quite a fitting ending to their stay Sunday morning, while Punta was acting concerned about their departing behavior, that Verasen picked up the guitar and Zhenya a percussion toy, and feted Punta with one more Belorussian folk song.
Then they quickly made an alteration to his heavy Belarussian folk shirt, tied up their backpacks and headed out. Doh svedaniya, doh vsleduyschiu vstrechu! Goodbye, until we meet again.