Published: May 28th 2008
August 11th 2005
I have been fortunate enough not to have made too many poor decisions since leaving Ternopil for Odessa. Coming to Budva was one of them, however. I should have listened to the three young French tourists who implored me not to come to Budva. Yet, I said that it would be OK since I needed a more mindless destination. I wanted to kick back for a while and look at the Adriatic. Anyway, I was too busy correcting them on every ill-conceived and tedious opinion they had about the U.S. and their country’s increasing irrelevance in world affairs to get the message that Budva was to be avoided.
No more than a seaside touristic hell that sucks you into to its marvelous backdrop of forest green mountains, you need only check your brain in at the bus station where it will be waiting for you upon your departure. Budva is everything I hate about traveling during the summer along the coast. It is the worst elements of Las Vegas, a state fair, a trashy circus, and an amusement park all into one.
Flip-flop obsessed Serbs invade this seaside resort to revel in its overrun and overpriced restaurants, nightclubs, and boutiques. These are not travelers, rather holiday makers, intent on letting loose for one week of dancing until early morning, recovering the next day on a beach towel, engorging on awful food, and not much else. They fight elbow to elbow for the any plot on the sharp, pebbly, and narrow beach. So many stake claim to the beachfront that reaching the water is nearly impossible without stepping on one of the sunburned victims or hitting your head against a jumbo umbrella. Music - no, noise, roars from gigantic loudspeakers, eliminating any chance of conversation, even with yourself. And by the way, there is no sense in my going to Serbia’s capital this month because they are all here! Last one out of Belgrade turn off the lights and lock the door because no one is home. Budva becomes Belgrade’s escape valve for the summer.
The main pedestrian walk in Budva reveals how horrible a place this is. It is not hard to find. You only need to follow the parade of skimpy bikini tops and hiked up thonged bottoms painted on the young women, all who could pass for supermodels back in the States. They strut their stuff and walk arm in arm towards the glitter and lights. Ping-pong tables give way to water slides, tattoo parlors, and cotton candy stands. Tourist trains pass pool tables, CD shops that hawk pirated albums, and beachside bars that were designed from the creators of The Jetsons. For as much as I despise Budva, I look around and see thousands of folks having a blast.
I have not motioned to pull my camera out of my bag. Even Budva’s rebuilt and walled Stari Grad is like walking through an Ikea of pubs, street performers, and novelty shops. It teems with tourists. Budva lacks soul. It has no personality. There is nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. I cannot get out of here quick enough. In fact, I have already decided to be on the first bus tomorrow and forfeit my second night, already prepaid. I will go to Kotor to save myself from this real life Saturday morning cartoon, gone so terribly wrong. Come to Budva if in search of a red back, a desire to be seen, gorgeous men and women to admire, and very little more.