The exciting, the boring and hair cutting

Trip Start Sep 07, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Anita's House

Flag of Serbia and Montenegro  ,
Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wow Already Thurs! Sometimes the time seems to be flying by and sometimes it is dragging its feet through the sand.

Yesterday was Anita's birthday and we all went out to dinner. There were about eight of us at a grill place with tables outside in the garden. She decided that her birthday would be the one day this year she wore heels, so we dressed up a little, though anything goes at this restaurant.

The food was delicious, I must say, and the owner's son also had a birthday so he bought everyone a round of drinks, including a bottle of wine.

The food here is very simple. Most restaurants offer grilled meats or sausages, tomato salad or grilled & marinated bell peppers and bread. And that's it. The main thing you have to choose is what type of meat you want. Not a place for vegetarians. Not just this restaurant, but all of Serbia. There may be more options in Belgrad, but I didn't get the chance to find them. I can definitely speak for Valjevo, and I am not sure they have a word for vegetarian :)

For dessert, we had a crepe-like dessert called palachenka with walnuts and powdered sugar inside.

We then went back to the house and continued celebrating with some music (a present from one of her friends of a Serbian pop star. He sound kind of like George Michael, but hold his cries longer, and a little more dramatically. But I have to say I liked it (but then again I like George Michael too!)

So at this point the time went by fast...When does it go by slow? When we visit with all the neighbors and friends. She wants to introduce me to ALL of them, but only three out of the 20 or so that I've met can speak German and maybe the teeniest amount of English. The rest just say hello and then dive into conversation with her about the latest Valjevo gossip. All of which I have absolutely no idea, and really I am not interested. It's why I don't live in a small town! Neighbors always in your business is annoying!!

SO I probably should have studied the language a little more before I traveled, but what I could have learned in a couple of months wouldn't have prepared me in any way to converse about such topics. I would need to be there and immersed in the language to learn it.

Don't get me wrong, the people are totally nice and good hosts/hostesses but I am TOTALLY BORED during these visits, but luckily this is only a percentage of the time I am here and I like to think of the glass as being half full. And that it definitely is.

So on Tuesday we went and got a haircut on a recommendation of a friend. I am always nervous with people I don't know, but she was really good. I am totally satisfied and she fixed the mess of a shape that I had been cutting myself.

I also got a shampoo with a scalp massage and a blow out (for family - that's when they blow dry my hair and style it) all for under 6 euros! I wanted to give her more, but she wouldn't take it and thought I was crazy! Honestly I don't care what they think, I am the crazy American that is friends with Anita. Give them something else to talk about!

SO then we met up with some friends for ice coffees and one of these friends offered to drive us up the mountain side to the swimming spots in his SUV. It was such a pretty day and we had no other appointments so we said OK and enjoyed the afternoon next to the river.

I had to take pictures because it looked so much like California, I felt like I was home! The rivers are all very low this year because of the warm winter and very warm summer but there was still enough to swim in and there is also a spot with a dam just like the Russian River. Right now, most of the schools are back in, but at this time of the day, classes are over and everyone is in the water. Kids were jumping off diving boards and rocks, people were pikniking on the banks and the cafes were all full.

We found a spot next to the river (it was almost a creek at this point) where we could dip our toes and sit in the shade to enjoy the day.

Unfortunately the guy we were with was making Anita crazy. Everytime she tried to lighten up the conversation he would bring the conversation back to how crappy the living is in Valjevo. I, luckily, understood nothing, but she got an earful and a headache.

However, we did manage to enjoy ourselves and take lots of pictures. I wish I could of gotten more because it was so interesting to see the people out and about around us. For example, I saw several times people riding mopeds with toddlers riding on the seat with them (in front). No one wears helmets, I have seen maybe one. People give rides to people with tractors and horse drawn carts. Kids are fishing everywhere. It's like being in a time machine here. All the things that people are not allowed to do in Germany and the USA, they do here!

One bad thing everyone does here is smoke. They even have signs that are for smoking permitted!!

So after our excursion we at a little leftover soup with Kalmak (a very delicious type of curd cheese that I want to eat everyday for the rest of my life) and then went to visit another friend and his parents in the neighborhood. He is an importer who sells mostly expensive things and on this day he had given his parents some new sunglasses from Gucci or Versace or something of equally high caliber. Though it was evening and the sun had already gone down, they insisted on wearing the glasses. We told his mother that she looked like Sophia Loren and she got all excited so I had to take some pictures of the famous couple on the couch. Of course, after I took the pictures and laughed with them a bit, the first question to come out was "Is Grace married? She is so sweet and Gorat needs a woman!" He just rolled his eyes. I am SURE I am not the first she has asked about!!

So we then went over to another friend's house, and the drive I must say was a little scary and THANK GOD short. He drove so fast and was passing people in the middle of town, laughing and talking the whole time. I was just happy I had a seat belt in the back seat this time!

So today's adventure was not so adventurous. We shopped most of the day. We went to a flea market and then hit a few shops and didn't find anything we needed but somehow managed to spend money?! Go figure!

Tomorrow is supposed to be 20 degrees cooler, hard to imagine as it is so warm right now. The crickets are chirping and the stars are out, But we will see when the sun rises, what tomorrow will bring ...
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