Leaving Skopje and the Problems Behind

Trip Start Jul ????
Trip End Aug ????

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Flag of Macedonia  ,
Friday, September 15, 2006

We left a day after the wedding of my best man Zvanko who, normally, has a full name and a title at that: civ.ing. Ljubomir G. Drnkovski a great guy with whom we were in the same class since the first grade of elementary school. We are still the best of friends. He married ing.tech. Snezana Bekar who took his surname and is now Snezana Drnkovska. I was summoned to serve, from the coming September. the obligatory army service which was "paltry" 11 months long period for men who either "fed" the family or were University graduates. I was both, but the term of duty seemed long never the less.
So, we, Marija and myself, decided that we fill up our coffers of memories and live on them during the duration of the duty which was going to be interspersed, we hoped and planned, with visits. Still, the idea of hiking up to the North Pole seemed great, it invigorated us, we felt very young and mighty again and that was. It did not take much cajoling my Mom to baby sit with my son Igor (he was barely three then, while she was barely fifty years of age) because she simply adored the boy.
People in Macedonia do not take men of 27 as particularly serious, especially not so if they had not served their army duty. Mothers of 23 were treated like college dropouts. That was a total nonsense and we were leaving the whole parochial and patriarchal atmosphere behind. In the process of preparation I gave in (giving in was something which did not normally happen to me) to strong suggestions and recommendations that we carry half a rucksack full of "Krash" nougat chocolates of 250 g., boxes of cocoa powder, black peppercorn in 100 g. and I do not want to remember which yet another item. Allegedly, that stuff was as good as gold in the barren desert space of what was then the Eastern Block.
This story was most loudly pressed on me by my mother's younger sister and supported (totally under pressure) by my uncle's wife, a professor who always believed in US dollars and disbursed them to nephews like me when it was appropriate. Thus, with half the rucksack (big, ugly and impossibly heavy product made in Bulgaria and sent to me as a present by my father who thought that I should walk more, climb mountains and burn my excess of fat away) full with counter-band articles, we got in the fast overnight train and the following noon set foot in Budapest.

(to co0ntinue)
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