Published: May 1st 2012
May 1st 2012
Serb Defense Ministry
There used to be a bridge connecting those two sides. It, along with the frontal facade aren't really there anymore...
There's a very ancient saying, going back hundreds of years, "oh bugger". It seems I've got a final in a few hours, which would normally be fine, but I'm crippled by a tragically fatal set of problems, which have a lot to do with packing and finally leaving Europe. In the mean time I'm going to do something that needs to happen. Study for that exam? Hell no! Continue updating from the Balkans: Serbia, or, new ground:
Well alright then, we’re finally out of the leg of the woods where I bored just about everyone under the sun by noting that I’d been here before, and we entered the Balkans proper. Our actual part of this trip’s kind of funny in its own way. Mind you, the bus we were on was already bound for crazy town, long rides tend to do that to us. I rather wish I’d stopped to write down some of the more inventive curses that came out over a game of Hearts, it’s amazing how quickly playing cards can turn to threats of homicide. Still, the funny part to all of this was that our route took us to Belgrade, then back to Croatia before
Remember that scene in Titanic? Yeah, that foot move, for two hours.
flying to Kosovo. Geographically, that seems a little batty right? Well, yup. Trust me, there’s some really good reasons why, and we’ll get there. In the mean time, for the twenty of you who can keep the geographic lunacy of the Balkans straight, that should give you your bearings.
Serbia’s…interesting and not at all what I expected. There’s nothing like the sight of the Serbian defense Ministry building with its front still collapsed and scarred to remind you that U.S ordinance can do the equivalent of a murderous parallel parking job. Precise, functional, and just by the side of a crowded street (mostly) without damage. Aside from the odd decimated building, the place really was...well, nice in a lot of ways. Our program met up with a group of Serbian Political Science students, and for once it really was nice to actually get just a bit of insight from people actually living in the area. The feeling one gets is definitely of transition, plenty of destroyed buildings were still there, but depending where you were in the city new cars were honking their way merrily around the circles. At times, wandering through the city center with a rather eccentric
Well, from the outside at least it looks pretty! This should be finished in the next twenty years or so.
tour guide, it was downright peaceful. Alright, that might've changed my perspective a bit when I got a brief thirty second interview with Serbian national television, but go figure.
Still, if there was one thing on everyone's minds, or at least on unemployed poli sci students' (vision of my future), it was Kosovo. Yes that unresolved chestnut continues to be a pain to just about everyone, and one wonders how long it will take before some kind of compromise is reached. For now, while the member of the Serbian state we spoke to talked long and (translated) emphatically about Serbia's move towards the EU, it's fair to call Kosovo the six hundred pound gorilla in the room there. Alright, it's more like a five pound gerbil with the added mass coming from its international support...an exceptionally corrupt gerbil I might add... Oh, look, my money's a supervillain
Moving onto a happier topic for a college student, the local currency was even more hilarious than Forint, as Nikola Tesla adorns the hundred Dinar bill. If I’m ever dictator mad scientists are going on all of my cash. Just saying. The prices were equally surreal, as I found
Well, this is still rather nice.
myself literally struggling to spend the dregs of it as we left (exchangers treat it like toxic goo), and in spite of buying more alcohol than I’ll ever admit I still only spent four Euro. A Night at the Ballet
Incidentally, that’s about what I spent on a night at the Serbian Ballet. Don’t ask me how I ended up here, I’m still unsure myself, but I have never seen pants on men that uncomfortably tight (wedgies are built in), or watched women dance in a way that made me flinch. Don't ask me what the plot was, I'm still not sure I, or even trained professionals could follow this without weeping tears of bitter frustration and boredom. Was it pretty? Well, alright yes. It's hard not to have some respect for how difficult and downright painful the moves looked at points, don't ask me how someone can make a 180 degree angle with their feet.
The best way to sum up all of the above? Well take the money and wonderful exchange, and you have a solution to a night at the ballet as well as the Kosovo problem. It's called Rakija, the local fruit
brandy (if fond of liver do not consume), and it was worth tasting a few times. As a final thought, I dearly hope that I can bet back here in the next ten years or so. Just to see how times have changed, and also because I dearly hope that ten years from now I can still do this. Jesus, get to the end of your time abroad and you really start reminiscing. Ah well, til next time folks.
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