Hey, it was either that title or, “In the Land of Honey and Honeybees.” Which would be accurate, since 53 percent of Kosovars are under the age of 25. I like it very much.
So they love Americans here. Something about bombing Serbia in 1999, I dunno. And if you say you are a GI (not gastroenterologist), well you petty much won’t pay for a drink at all.
What’s that? Alcohol in a Muslim country? Actually, they brew their own. Peja – give it a shot (never mind that it is brewed in a town of the same name best known for an all-but-abandoned Serbian monastery). I actually met Clare, my couchsurfing friend, in the capital’s Irish bar. She’s from Belfast, so some sort of irony I suppose. I’m lucky I met her at all. I won’t go into all the specifics, but they involved me waiting in the wrong place, with no phone, at 10pm, and the only other contact I had was another American who gave me her number in passing that morning. The international community being small, everything worked out at the pub.
A quick respite to say that the foreign keyboards are back. If my y and z are backward, blame the game, not the plazer.
So back to Kosovo. It is a young country, and at times a little backward.
I took a few day trips from Pristina with some Czech friends. First to Prizren, which everyone says is the most pretty city, but really it is just so much quieter than Pristina.
Then on my own to Mitrovica, site of some 2004 unrest as it is the de facto border between Albanian Kosovo and Serbian Kosovo. Mostly as a sign of protest, a small group of Serbian soldiers have built an earthen wall across the main bridge, seen far right, though you can cross on foot. Sorry about the profanity, kiddos. The two groups really, really do not like each other.
One night we ended up teaching hip hop dancing to Roma children in a slum outside Pristina. Shakira in Albanian is delightful. I did not want my camera nicked so no photos, so you’ll have to also trust that we were joined by the American ambassador’s 19 year old daughter. What happens in a shanty in Pristina, stays on this blog, I guess.
Also a quick trip back across the border to Skopje for the second game of Vardar’s Champions League match. For 1.5 Euro, we joined the rest of the country in the biggest match in many years. Sadly, a diving save from the Belarussians in the dying moments preserved a nil to nil tie and advancement for the visitors.
A few more nights in Kosovo. Despite arriving at the not so fabled intersection of George Bush and Bill Clinton Boulevards [Jerry I am at the nexus of the universe!], I guess they did not like this guy.
Thanks Clare and Martina for hosting, cooking and guiding me for a week. Kosovo was a great experience. I know I know Mother Theresa left it to live in Calcutta, but remember that she is a saint and stuff. It is not that bad.
A few housecleaning items: chess players in the park cheat no matter what country you are in. The burek is still lovely, and I save you the last bite as always, Chris.
I even cooked for myself once. Here we have al fresco Skopje, cooked on an outdoor summer kitchen, with a side of Skopsko and baseball.
Off to the beaches of Montenegro, where I plan to be straight chillin.