Montenegro and Serbia

Trip Start Jul 20, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Serbia and Montenegro  ,
Thursday, September 13, 2007

Staying with Montenegrin families has been a hit and miss affair with first impressions being misleading. In Budva we were greeted with a shot of clear liquor, the owner beaming at the grapes on the veranda in the yard. Home made grape schnapps at 11am! The couple in Sutomore were a lot more civilised and invited us around the kitchen table for coffee and biscuits. As much as i love an early drink, staying with a family who spends all day every day getting pissed was a bit to much; it was like staying with the Gallagher's from Shameless. A huge extended family sat in the back yard for 12 hours each day slowly falling into a drunk stupor which was not particularly pleasant when combined with the complete disdain they showed towards us. Their unfriendly behavior was peculiar given that tourists like us appeared to be their only source of income - did any of these people have jobs?

However, the couple in Sutomore had never taken foreign (non ex-Yugoslav) guests before and had a genuine interest and care in our lives and well being. For Kerry's birthday they prepared a huge meal of grilled chicken, sausage, cevapi, served with salad, soup, and a huge mound of pancakes for pudding. In comparison Kerry nearly burnt down the kitchen in Budva and Frank 'Igor' Gallagher started a slow patronising hand clap when she emerged with burnt food. After enduring a second sleepless night we packed and decided to leg it. While running to the bus station the owner drove past so we jumped on the first bus praying that the Gallagher's weren't hiding around the corner with their baseball bats. It was on this bus we met a Serbian woman Veri. Bemused the bus had once again bypassed our intended destination, Sveti Stefan, she explained that Montenegrin's are well renowned for their laziness and it was unsurprising that the driver wouldn't take the 5 minute detour. Veri convinced us to come to Sutomore where she acted as tourist agency and translator, securing a huge apartment with bedroom, kitchen, dining table, bathroom, and a back yard full of kiwis, apples and pomegranate's all for just 10euros a night. We stayed 5 nights here either side of our jaunt to Albania, enjoying some home comforts and chatting with the locals. My highlight was watching Montenegro win the European water polo championship 9-8 in the final with the delighted owner of the apartment. 

Montenegro, Budva aside, is a beautiful country, huge mountain peaks hug the coastline of crystal blue sea which makes you forget about the awkwardness of only having running water twice a day - apparently Russian billionaires have been purchasing the land down the coast something the locals are extremely pissed off about. The further you venture from the coast the more stray farm animals you bump into; sheep, cows and goats just roam the streets. These goats really need to get laid because they all have bollocks that drag along the ground hindering their movement - traffic slows to a crawl to admire/laugh/scream.

From Sutomore the owner magically sorted us out first class train tickets so we could stay in Subotice on our way to Kiev (he used to work for the train service). The buildings are a mix of Yugoslav and Hungarian influence built in the early 1900's, classic examples of Hungarian art novae apparently. We went out for a couple of drinks and were about to go home when a Serbian pensioners offered to buy the whole bar a round of drinks. Quite a character this guy, his generosity continued as he explained that Tito (Communist Yugoslav leader) was his friend and gave him a good pension which allowed him to come to Subotice to help his 'sexual problems.' We weren't sure if Subotice had good call girls, a doctor that cures impotence, or both.

An English man from Blackpool but residing in Subotice started chewing our ears off. Serbian John he liked to be called but their was nothing Serbian about him; he had lived there 3 years and proudly told us he had finally got the hang of Serbian numbers and days of the week. He was the typical mid 40's man who sits alone in the pub every night, combining detailed sob stories of his past with elements of his present we were supposed to be jealous off. For example,
Kerry: "Out of all the countries in the world why did you come to Serbia?"
Serbian John : "well, best woman ran away with my best mate, blah blah blah, sob story i know, blah blah, nothing left in England, you know the usual shit"
Kerry: "So why Serbia?"
Serbian John: "Ex wife wont talk to me, blah blah, cant see my kids, blah blah (yes he kept repeating blah blah)
Then out of nowhere he would exclaim, "just bought a beautiful house, 10k, massive living room, bar [grins and laughs] well you know it had to be done, got some pictures here, oh shit the pictures aren't on here their on my business phone." This guy was hilarious in a David Brent from the office kind of way, telling shite jokes and making totally inappropriate comments that made you laugh at him while he thought who were laughing with him.

His mate 'Wolfy' joined us and they invited us back to Serbian Johns because they had just brewed 45litres of Raki and we could have a bottle for our train journey. We started downing some shots (poured in the kitchen, the bar was nowhere to be seen) and realise that David Brent has morphed into Delboy Trotter selling real estate. He's showing us hundreds of holiday brochures and adverts of places he has 'contacts' in, opening briefcase after briefcase to find more crap to give us. Wolfy was trying to impress us with his ability to write in Serbian Cyrillic but was slightly bemused by the phrases we wanted translating, particularly our consistent references to fat dogs. After a few more rakis Serbian John was getting painful... "as you can see just a few minutes from the beach, cosy place, beautiful town, no opportunities left in England, Serbia's the place to be, your investment will skyrocket." If ever there was a time to say, "you've been a good crack but your talking shit" it was now. We rang a taxi and for the second time in a week cursed having accepting the offer of free home made spirits.

Anyway, time flew on the 33hour journey to Kiev as we kept recalling some classic Serbian John comments. Going on the 5 day train journey to Mongolia in a couple of days with our mate Gurbanov and then straight into the wilderness so probably wont post anything for a while. Inabit!!!!!!
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