In stark contrast to the previous weekend, I did manage my way out of Belgrade this time. And how. Wednesday through Monday, I attended my very first EXIT Festival, in Novi Sad. It was pretty epic times.
EXIT started a decade ago, as 100 days of music and protest against the Serbian government of the time. Since then, it's become one of the premier Festivals
Last weekend was American Independence Day, on July 4th, so I had a day off from work on Friday the third. This gave me a 3-day weekend to play with, and I planned to take in some regional travel, which I hadn't done yet since arriving in Serbia.
So the next step was to select a destination. A lot of places seem like they take a really long time to reach considering how close they are to Belgrade, especially by bus and train. One thought I had was Romania, because it's next door, and it's one of those places I've always wanted to go, and not only because of
Took a break from the office today to check out this Art Workshop called "Praise to Hand," which is a day center for kids with Down syndrome. The workshop played host to part of the "Nas Beograd/Our Belgrade" volunteering actions the other weekend, when a group from PricewaterhouseCoopers helped them repair their fence and renovate the walls of the ex-toolshed it is housed in.
I took a cab from the office down to Senjak where the Workshop is. I don't really like taking taxis, especially not alone--it makes me feel like a City Boy business type or something, which I don't
On Saturday, my friend Natalija and I were on our way to some barge on the river, that I guess has an artificial island attached to it or something? It sounded like a good idea. I texted my roommate/colleague Nathan asking if he wanted to join us. We were waiting at the bus stop, and I received a reply: "Um i'm at hospital maybe getting stitches. Gashed my head on the water heater." This came as a bit of a shock. When I thought about it, though, I wasn't incredibly worried. He was able to text me, after all, and with punctuation no less. Dying men don't use punctuation, was my reasoning.
My coworker Srdjan came over to my desk this morning. Hey, want to come with me to the chiropractor, he said. I promise it will be weird. Ok, I said. That's really all I can ask for from an experience.
Crossed the bridge into New Belgrade, navigating the traffic jams, pointing out pretty women. We had a bit of trouble finding the office, and nearly got lost but for its bright entranceway, the bricks in two tones of brilliant purple. Inside the office had a basic homeopathic/NewAge type smell, as might be expected. I was more taken by the collection of ikons and
I'd been in Belgrade since I arrived in Serbia almost two weeks ago, so I was ready to leave the city a bit and see more of the country, which I got a chance to do over the weekend. Nathan and I went to the twons of Trstenik and Zagudica to help with environmental cleanings conducted by ISC's partners BCIF and Green List, who are running a campaign called Oplaneti Se! to raise awareness of and liminate wild dumps.
I returned today, around the same time of day. Same soundtrack. Ok for now, but I dunno if I can abide that ev-er-y time. Added to the list of things I can't find: black beans, hair conditioner. I guess they're nothing I need, really. Ajvar, burek &c are quite a functional substitute.
I wish the weather would get a bit cooler, though it did give Nathan and I an excuse to meet our neighbors. I finaly gave in, against my sort-of-environmentalist instincts, and turned on theair conditioning last night. That felt nice. Then, a couple of hours later,
I went shopping today, which is always a potentially fascinating experience when abroad. I had been to corner stores a couple of times, but I decided I was ready for, indeed craved, an upgrade to the big leagues. Actually, I wanted to go yesterday, but by the time I got around to it the store was closed. Guess I forgot how things-close-early-on-Sundays. And now I know the word for "Sunday," too. The supermarket nearest me is right next to a restaurant called "Supermarket," which I think is cool.
Supermarkets can be confusing even at home, just the bright colors and
Last Saturday Nathan and I attended a cleanup project on Great War Island, at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. Nathan, I should mention, is another American youth here in Belgrade. We're both working with the Institue for Sustainable Communities (ISC -- an NGO that works toward building civil societies with support from USAID) this summer, and sharing an apartment. Coincidentally, he's from Vermont originally, just like me. Cool kid, you should get to know him.
I woke up early