Hot chicks... apparently

Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Serbia and Montenegro  ,
Wednesday, August 9, 2006

The morning sun shines directly into my dorm room - it's one of those inevitabilities of life - like the tallest guy in the world sitting in front of you at the football or someone else ordering a better dessert than you.Ineffective dorm room curtains are blamed by all, unjustly so it seems to due to their inaminate nature. My Australian rearing suggests, judging by the colour of the morning through the window, a 10.30, perhaps 11 o'clock sleep in - and momentary panic ensues at the thought of a near entire morning wasted. But it's only 8.30am, the sun, as it is in europe, prematurely mature in summer, overcompensating for its winter laziness. Spanish kids whisper loudly across the room. One of them has a lisp/ Through the walls of this student dormitory I hear an old Michael Jackson classic fade, replaced by the opening notes of flashdance (E-----DCD----). They love the 80's here - Toto is playing tonight; synthesised saxophone worthy of the residents of Beijing entertains the cofee drinks in Republike Square; and love is in the air - in more ways than one - every sight and every sound. A quick check reveals I am neither dead nor wounded. Astounding. Brilliant. There was certainly a point during last night's UEFA Cup game bewteen Partizan Beligrade and Slovenia's Maribor FC where I thought I wouldn't be so fortunate. There's eomthing about a fixture bewteen 2 teams from the former Yugoslavia, the presence of 500 riot police and the occasional flair projected between rival supporters that fills you with a feeling that I can only describe as "What the fuck am I doing here?". But it's all good. Not dead nor wounded. Living the dream.

The idea of death has been on my mind the last couple of days. Indeed, I have lost a couple of things that I have grown very attached to. For my own sake, I will not go into the details, but I will at least pen the following final thoughts / obituaries:

Faithful servant; superfluous fashion accessory; overcame much criticism from those at home; tireless resistor of glare; friend; companion.
Destroyed on a bus by a careless Spaniard on 9 August 2006
May he forever rest in peace.

Brown Havainas of Death
A saviour to my feet; spongy; comfrtable and durable; invaluable on the road.
Died of old age in the line of duty - 11 August 2006 - a long way from home. Required barefoot escort across Belgrade to its final place of rest.

Both of the above were replaced by near identical items on 12 August 2006.

Perhaps I should mention Belgrade. Well, there really aren't many sights in Belgrade. Kalamegden, the ancient citadel is cool but, as far as ancient fortresses / ruins go, it struggles to complete with those seen both in croatia and china. The orthodox cathedrals - Sjevti Marko, impressive in both name and fact, and Sjevti Sava, still in cosntruction but which will be the largest orthodox cathedral in the world, are also mandatory stops on the Belgrade tour. Both are cool. but certainly, Belgrade is not a place to visit based on its sights alone. Surprisingly, Belgrade does not bear great scars, at least physically, from the months-long war with NATO. Only a few building's remain damaged - certainly nothing compared to Sarajevo.

If sights are not really Belgrade's thing, then nightlife probably is. Floating barge nightlife to be exact. Along the Sava and Danube rivers lie a whole heap of clubs, bars and cafes, all hip and happening and all fucking floating. A few drinks were consumed here. Brilliant. I've decided that floating barges are the way of the future. mental note: New business venture on return to Perth - Floating barge nightclub of the devil of the death.

Generally speaking, Belgrade oozes an air of sophistication, contentedness - a cool, city with a youthful underground feel. However, conversations that I've had with the locals suggest an underlying feeling, especially in the youth, of concern in the economy, the lack of opportunities in the current Serbia and also in the difficulties, both governmental and financial, in travelling and working abroad. And, in totality, Belgrade has been a cool place, but it is fair to say it has not entirely captured me.

Belgrade is one of those places that I will remember not for any particular sight that I saw but, rather, as a place where I met one of the most bizarre, crazy people that I have ever met. Somehow, a conversation was struck up with a young lad from western Sctoland who, as the conversation progressed, firmly established his position as an absolute nutter. It emerged, as he wrote down each and every thing that he said in a notebook with a gold pen, that he was convinced he would become some sort of messiah figure 'if he tried hard enough'. Some of his finest moments were:

"I'm writing a book where every single person in the world will be in it. Your name is Mark - you will be in it. It will be a book of everyone's dreams."
"I will be able to perform miracles if I use enough of my brain".
"I can speak every language in the world, but my favourite is the language of your dreams".
"I can time travel - it's all in my mind."
"I can turn everything into gold - like take this water for example - if i pour apple juice into it, it turns gold".
"The moment of everyone's renaissance will be broadcast on TV and the internet."

So, to the Top 5. Serbia uses the cyrillic alphabet just to mix it up a bit. The cyrillic alphabet? Killing me. A whole heap of new, random, some almost chinese by design characters make life just that little bit complicated, especially when maps and all tourist info are in normal alphabet characters. It has led me to wonder whether, in countires where they use the cyrillic alphabet, sesame street is occasionally 'brought to you by the character that resembles an octopus'. The biggest problem are those characters that are so ingrained to sound as something in english but are something entirely different in cyrillic. Here are the Top 5 letters that fuck with the english alphabet.

5. C = S. Manageable
4. Backwards N = i. Makes for words that look like they have no vowels.
3. X = K. Random but rare.
2. H = N. I never remember whether it's N or M.
1. P = R. Gets me everytime.

Greece? Different alphabet again...
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dan_cymru on

Agreed with Belgrade summary!
Dude, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your Belgrade entry, I was there a few weeks ago & I think you sum it up perfectly! I think you missed out on the island in the Sava 'Ada Ciganlija' which was worth a visit, will upload my own blog entry soon!



correction on

X = H

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