Friday, May 13, 2011

A Serbian Beginning, in Three Parts

Day One:
In which plane rides are boring.
You get on a plane, and sit, for very long periods of time, with the exception of exciting four minute breaks where you get to pee, and then you land, and then you finally get to get off the plane.  And then in many cases you hang out in an airport for a few hours, and then you get back on an airplane, and do it all over again.  Why anyone would be that silly escapes me, except - wait, what?  It goes five hundred miles an hour?  And Belgrade is 5000 miles from Clemson?  I guess that's why. 

Day TwoIn which jet lag is a myth
Well in any case it is very minimal for me anyway.  If that is not the case for you I am terribly sorry.  Excuse me while I chortle quietly to myself.  Anyway, I landed in Belgrade.  The runway looks like a twenty year old asphalt street in the Californian desert that no one feels like repairing - it's all crossed with tar lines and rather gravelly.  For an airport serving the capital of a nation, it's not incredibly big, nor really modern or anything.  Security compared to anything in America is weak.  But that's ok, who wants to bomb Serbia.  What? Us a dozen years ago? Well, that was then, this is now.  They haven't invaded Kosovo for at least a decade.  So that's all good then.  So we get to the hotel after driving through New Belgrade (eastern side of the Sava, terrifyingly industrial or hideous 80's architecture) and Old Belgrade (remnants of many previous centuries, plus hideous 60's, 70's, and 80's architecture).  Hotel Royal is pretty cool I guess.  After we compared notes later, we realize that no one has the same bathroom, AC unit, or even furnishings (Sarah got a fridge, the lucky dog) but at least Pierce and I got great working AC and a toilet that is easy to flush, even if we missed out on the shower curtains.  Then Matic decides that we aren't tired at all and will benefit from a two and a half hour walk before dinner, so we do THAT and take a bunch of pictures at Belgrade Fortress, which I sit on top of for a little bit, and we see a statue of a giant metal man who faces the river because his sculptor gave him giant metal junk as well as a sword and a hawk, and we wouldn't want to offend the ladies now would we, even if we did win the damn war.  So then, dinner, in which Vladimir taught us how to eat and tried to make us eat more, and then bed.

Day Three:
In which I eat Nutella pizza
I totally did, it was fucking delicious.  Kiwi and pineapple and black cherries, all deliciously moist and fruity (somewhat like a sugar-covered Jeff Goldblum in the mist) with Nutella on top, but not like covered and overpowering, just enough to be amazing and perfect.  So that is one of the best things I have ever eaten.  Other things that I did today:  Drank my first Jelen, which is sort of the Serb national beer, or at least the one everyone has and the posters all over are for and the delivery trucks you see have on the sides, and so forth.  It was alright, it reminded me of something American but I can't place it yet, more on that later.  Saw the Konak (residence) of Princess Ljubica, who was Prince Milos' wife.  Serbian royalty in the mid-nineteenth century.  It was interesting, half done up in Turkish fashion, which doesn't involve much furniture, and half in the Austro-Hungarian, which involves a ton.  Also we met with the press officer from the US Embassy to Serbia, which was very interesting and he told us about the foreign service and also answered questions that we had.  I was very drowsy for a bit at the end of his start-off spiel, and felt slightly bad, but was very alert and asked lots of intelligent questions after it became more of a discussion, so good for me.  Now we are back at the Royal.  We shall go out to a nice dinner and then the girls really wish to go out for wine, so I suppose that shall happen.

Alarm is set for Jack to get up and run in the park around Belgrade Fortress.  Will it happen?  Probably not.  Stay tuned!!

No comments:

Post a Comment