Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Wet around the edges...Happy Independance Day BiH!

To live in Sarajevo, you must be strong, you must be able to walk on water. I walked on a lot of water today to get into town, since I got lost searching for Bit Internet Club, which is supposed to be closer to my new digs. Finally I got annoyed, and just went downtown and then to Club Easynet in Baščaršija. Where I am both having fun with and being annoyed by the Eastern European keyboard.

Tomorrow is Bosnian Independance Day I will not be posting tomorrow therefore as most places will be closed and it may take me until MONDAY to dry off. All of BiH is being rained on, or blown away and rained on.

I finally got a Bosnian coffee service, made by an Iranian citizen of BiH, it is a two person set and is GORGEOUS!

More later....

Saturday, October 27, 2007


'Go West'

I normally watch 'Folk Show' if it is a Saturday night that I am not doing something else, and this is one of those Saturday nights.
'Nebo iznad krajolika' was serialized and now to my amazement and delight,F.T.V. is serializing 'Go West' in a similar fashion.

For those not in the know, here's a B.B.C. story about the film before it was out:

B.B.C. Story on 'Go West'

Frankly I found the first part to be funny in a very bitter way, and very good.

The film is gutsy for more reasons than the issue of gayness, and inter-communal strife,and inter-communal partnerships, it's gutsy because it takes on other physical and psychological effects of war, like nightmares, like living in the destruction, which was good for NO community in this country.

The couple pass as a man and a woman, and it's very difficult,for the one passing as a woman, because of the conditions of village life, women for example do not feel any particular shyness about one another's bodies, and the gay male who is passing as a woman has many uncomfortable times of needing to make excuses, further, he's Muslim, and he has to conceal his discomfort with the different diet of Serbian people, ie, pork, and LOTS of it! Rakija and lots of it, and he pretends to be ill to avoid both these substances.

There is the matter of his partner's best friend, a guy who is like a brother to his partner. There is so much to hide, and they need to get out soooo badly.

As well he sees a Muslim woman called names and given a bad time by another woman, a Serbian woman, that was hard, and has a nightmare about a scene of ethnic cleansing.

I should mention that while so far there's no overt sex, for those who might have children to consider, this is an adult film.
1. In the nightmare sequence, at one point, the man passing as a woman lifts his skirt and you clearly see his penis.

2. The Serbian woman and he go to get water. When they get to the water, it's a hot day and the Serbian woman takes off her blouse and splashes water on herself and tries to get the man who is passing as a woman to do likewise, he doesn't, and it's very uncomfortable.

You do get a clear view of her very shapely breasts.

So if you don't want your kids seeing this you've been forewarned.

Really though, I don't see what the objections were beforehand. It's about two guys who for reasons quite aside from war, need to get out, the war only makes the problem far more urgent.

I can't wait for the rest of it!

I am here to say that film in BiH has been very creative and very bold, and very original.

Film makers here take chances, and now the T.V. stations are taking chances that would not have been taken only a few years before.


News Links

Bosnians protest Serbian president's remarks

Not only that but just look at this headline!

Sukob s Lajcakom sukob s Amerikom!

Serbia seeks help in hunt for war crimes fugitive

File under 'ooooj! dosta mije!'

and file this under

I've had enough of the skinheads too!,25197,22655912-5013404,00.html

Not Balkans related but worth a read, because unfortunately, these observations are similar to my own...

Dumber and dumber :(

Friday, October 26, 2007


From Short-Listed to Published! :)

The Foggy Dew Bar, Templebar

This photo of mine was published in Schmaps! I took it while wandering around Templebar one morning.


Tonight's news links (yes my dears it's night where I am, I left this site on Yakima Gulag time!)

BiH faces new political crisis

There was quite a bit about it in yesterday's 'Oslobodenje'

More tensions over Kosovo

A Free Preview from Wall Street Journal

of course they stop just when it gets interesting. how very like them...

Mladi ć is in Serbia

Former Bosnian foreign minister accused of abusing power

and not Balkans related, but very damned important, also very damned




C.N.N. finaly covered an aspect of the terrible arson caused fire disaster in Southern California that I have been concerned about, and not been able to get news about,
Namely the effects of the fire in Mexico if any.

Southern California shares it's Southern Border with Mexico.

Well as someone who was against it, I have to report a POSITIVE effect for the 'Tortilla Curtain' !

It comes hard to do so too, I vocally opposed it.

The fence acted as a fire wall, confining the fire to the U.S. side.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Fresh slaughter upon a phone request

Fresh slaughter upon a phone request
Originally uploaded by Melita
This is just too Balkans to resist! Had to show you my dear readers, this isn't in BiH, it's next door in Croatia...still pretty typical.


What I did to honor the memory of Queen Katarina today.

Put your money where your mouth is!

BiH Crafts is a good cause, you can find them online too. The stories of the women who make things that are sold by BiH Craft are on their website.

Here is some information related to the organization:


and here is their actual website:

BH Crafts

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Katarina Vukčić Kosača Death Anniversary

As has been customary for me, I mark this anniversary today. Some commemoration of the life of this great figure in Bosnian history has been made earlier, and mentioned earlier in the week. There is still respect for the memory of the last queen of Bosnia. She was after all this time.

The following link has some good pictures and interesting information, warning, stupid mis-informed flame-war. She was not a convert from Orthodoxy but from the Bosnian Church sometimes mis-called Bogomil, She descended from a family as important in it's own way as the last of the Tvrtković family. Her line in fact traces to Constantine I, yes THAT Constantine I.

People on that board also do not realize there was no way she could have been buried in Bosnia, there was a small matter of it being difficult to carry a body abroad in those days of no refrigeration just for starters. If you died someplace that is likely where you were buried for the most brutal of practical reasons.

The accusations of incompetence may be true of her husband, but it is less than fair to carry those accusations over to her. Queen Katarina had a very strong character. She did not flee until it was unavoidable.

Anyway, there's some nice pictures on that board.

Interesting Link on Queen Katarina


News Links for Tonight

After I got in and posted earlier, it was necessary to take a nap, I woke up and it was dark. I had a good day today, of course any day you can eat guacamole can't be all bad right? Unless you are one of those preverts that hates the stuff! :)

Serbian police search military facilities for war criminals

Tose Proeski obit

This singer was well liked in Bosnia, I spoke with a lady who runs a little shop in Sarajevo, and she said that everyone she knows loves this young man's music.

Croatia begins building disputed bridge

Know what, I think it's a bad idea too. SO WHAT you gotta go through customs twice Soo big fat what!?!?

And yes, it's a costly project given Bosnian opposition to it, and the Croatian national debt, don't they have BETTER things to do with the money, like helping poor people and old people?

Croatia seeks extradition of war criminal


Hacienda, a little taste of Mexico in Sarajevo!

So I'm walking around in Baščaršija, nothing new about that, I go there on any excuse possible. It's one of my favorite parts of Sarajevo. I had three good excuses to go there already.

Then I see this:

A better view of the Mexican Flag on 'Hacienda'

Yes sirree Bob! a genuine Meksikanski zastava! Right thar in
Baščaršija! The weirdness was too much for me. I could not resist. First I took out my camera, and took the two pictures of the flag you can find on my Flikr account, then I thought 'Oh what the Hell, I can't resist looking at the possible results of Bosnians making Mexican food. It could be a real train wreck or it could work out like when they do Mexican music, fairly alright.'

Unfortunately the waiter placed me at a table that tips. I asked for a menu, studied it, realized that the owner has done his homework. Judging by his name he's Bosnian Muslim. Then I decided to order 'Nachos Atun' I do have that nasty meat milk interaction thing to consider, and the results can be precipitous and nearly explosive so I felt safer eating fish.

The tuna was canned, which could happen State-side, if you could even GET Nachos Atun. I ordered a side of guacamole, which I miss. You don't see avacados for sale here. I understand they are sometimes grown down in Hercegovina or Croatia, but I've never had the good fortune to see them around, I figured the tuna might be canned, so I decided I was going to have a beer. Sarajevsko was my choice. If I'd seen it in time, I would have ordered flan as well. The only bad thing about the meal was the tipsy table I was seated at. I'm going to ask for a different place to sit next time and tell them why. The decor is vaguely East L.A. meets the Balkans, and actually very pleasant. Smoking is allowed, in fact an ashtray was set right in front of me. I don't smoke so that was odd. I heard people speaking French, English and Bosnian. No one spoke Spanish, I may have been the only person who speaks Spanish in there unless the owner speaks Spanish.
The meal arrived, and the chips were made from flour tortillas. Forgivable since it's probably not possible to order corn tortillas. No Sanitary Tortilla Factory anyplace near! :).
If I had a chance to speak with the owner I would have told him to just order a bunch of bags of corn chips, even Dorritos if he had to, it's perfectly fine to use them in nachos. For flour chips they werent' too bad. The cheese was Monterey Jack, and there was good fresh Bosnian sour cream, sour cream here is about the best I've ever had, EXTREMELY good. There was corn which probably came from a huge bag of frozen corn, and there was the tuna which had been canned some lettuce, and some onions. The guacamole was a mite brown. Some lemon or lime juice might have helped, but it tasted alright, and for those who haven't been to Sarajevo or tasted Sarajevsko, it tastes like the higher end Mexican beers, it's VERY good beer, I found it went perfectly with the meal.
It's not a very expensive place, more than going to a
čevapi or burek place but an acceptable expense if one is homesick for guacamole! :)
Next time, I'm ordering the flan, I'm sure given that there are traditional Bosnian and Croat desserts which resemble flan that the flan will be superb.
They have free wifi a few nights a week. Not that my computer is allowed to go out at night! :). I don't even go out at night! :)


File Under : Not Balkans Related But Of Interest Anyway

A weird psychological experiment

In her place there would not be any pictures of me or hints as to my locatin!

The huge fire in Southern California is on local news services as well as C.N.N. and Al Jazeera.

I have some on-line friends there and I hope they are safe as I have only seen them online intermittently since this started.

This is just a silly video, it's funny, and if you ever were had by a cat, you'll get the humor:

It's cloudy but a bit brighter than the last couple days, I have some matters to take care of in town. I'll do a more news oriented posting when I'm back in, hopefully. I have secured a somewhat cheaper flat, it's very nice. I sign the contract Sunday I'm moving over the weekend! :)
It's in a very nice area of Sarajevo, it's a very nice flat, and I have fewer stairs, way fewer.
I feel like it's a good move for me. I am very thankful to have found it. My S.O. had to go out of town for a doctor's appointment. By the time he's back I'll have moved. I will perhaps have some interuption of internet service as I have to set it up in the new place, but that is not going to be long, I'll use internet cafes in the meantime, there are some decent ones here in Sarajevo now.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Top Ten Ways You Know You Woke Up in BiH...

Alright, I couldn't find a real copy of the Land Mine Awareness P.S.A. I saw on F.T.V. this morning, so the one above, from 'Adopt A Minefield' is here in it's place.

The one I saw depicted a lovely teenage girl going out to pick a few apples, an older man, (perhaps her grandfather or father?), shouts a warning but it's too late, she did not notice the 'Bouncing Betty' under the apple tree. The last sequence shows one red apple neatly in half falling, but at first you think it's blood it is such a red apple. It scares you pretty badly and it is meant to scare you. Better to be scared badly than a little bit blown up.

Now dear readers, I am only in Sarajevo, I am in a safe area, and you do not need to worry about me. I stay on pavement or areas I am absolutely sure are safe.
Even in Sarajevo some areas are not de-mined,but, I repeat, I'm in a safe area. I hang out in safe areas.


Some news and something to warm you up on a cold day

A review of 'Children of War'

This trial received a little coverage this morning on FTV:

War Crimes Trials

From Itar-Tass

CNN had film of the 'Hungarian Guard' a new organization which denies that it is fascist but has fascist trappings, like black uniforms and the old fascist Hungarian flag.

and some music to lighten things up, a friend sent me this link and I like them, never heard of them before.

and (I'm being facetious here please don't get mad!) This goes out to all those niqabis out there! :)

'Lift Your Veil' by 12 Girl Band

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Još više snijeg u Sarajevu

Film at 11:00 Coordinated Gulag Time:

Yes the workmen are out there, not in the same numbers, working on the buildings nearby. I can't even see the little mosque up the road. I notice less than normal traffic for the hour, it's like 7:30 am here as I write this. I've had a feeling of kind of a rough winter. Well at least I'm near someplace to buy food and it's fairly warm in here

Oh the bus that brings the workmen in is back, and I noticed they are singing some Bosnian rebel songs to keep themselves in the right mood.

My respect for the workmen in this country knows no bounds!


Random notes

It continues cold in Sarajevo, yesterday I made my first outing in Sarajevo that at no point involved the very good taxi service available here. I took the bus into town and then a tram, and went to see my S.O. at his place. Then because I told him, I wasn't sure where to get the bus back, he showed me one bus stop for multiple lines, and we went to my place, since I have a typical single woman's fridge, next to nothing a GUY would want to actually eat, not even a guy who is health conscious, I said 'Let's go to Samshop and I'll get a few things for us.' So we went there. Now I'm used to buying my veggies in the Markale, but I was in no mood to carry a bunch of stuff on the bus. So I learned something else new, you have to go get your veggies weighed in the vegetable section of the store, before you can take them to check out! I had no idea! Anyway, I got a big hunk of soup meat with no bones, a cucumber, a cauliflower, and some wine, I let him pick the wine as he knows all the good regionally available lower priced wines. He chose something from Montenegro. It was delicious red wine, but I am afraid it could have given me a headache even though I only had one glass. I will once this clears up try one glass and make sure it's not to blame, because for the price it is very good wine. Otherwise I'm going to have start making mead here.
Once I have a good local source of yeast I was planning to make my own mead here anyway.

Newswise on FTV they reported on a commemoration of Queen Katarina Vukčić-Kosaća. Catholic Croat members of the Bosnian Army, government representatives, and the high Biship of Bosnia-Hercegovina all were present at Bobovac for a mass, held at the old church in the castle. It is semi restored but the congregation was outdoors and the celebrants under the roof.
It was snowing a little, and rather a touching ceremony.

The actual death anniversary of
Queen Katarina Vukčić-Kosaća is not until Wednesday, the 25 of October, but I imagine this will not be the only commemoration of her. She was the last queen of Bosnia, and still highly regarded by people here. She was not only the last queen of Bosnia-Hercegovina, but a learned woman.
It is fitting that she was commemorated there, where she spent some of the significant years of her life, and I was glad to see she was being commemorated in Bosnia.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


First Snow of Winter in Sarajevo, and it's only October!

I don't believe my eyes, so I filmed it, I will have the film up in a few minutes time.


Today's news links

Bosnian Muslim charged with war crimes

interesting opinion piece from the Weekly Standard


Noises outside

So far I have heard jackals yipping, a couple shots and then some other loud noises, it's damn near as noisy as it was the last night of Ramzan. O.K. the three low caliber shots probably were an effort to get rid of the jackals. I can relate, there's a farm with sheep and goats up there, but the other loud explosive noises, you got me there, it can't all be from the stadium, anyway, there's no lights on there that I can see and no shouting. So I totally don't know what all that's about.


A Funky Little Bug


Today's news links

Srebenica widows jeered Dutch troops who visited Srebenica

There was a lot of coverage of this on all local news channels. It was understandably an emotional time for the ones who lost entire families.

Freelance Journalist Who Works for VOA Beaten In Her Apartment

I don't care who did it or why, it's unacceptable behavior on two grounds, 1. This person is a journalist, and 2. This journalist happens to be a woman.

This story made me really angry.

So far, despite having had local news on, I'm no wiser about the smoke last night, and there was a LOT of it.

There was also a game or something in the stadium. I am not all that far from Koševo Stadium.

I was up a little late watching 'The Alamo' on one of the cable channels, I kind of got in at the middle and was sorry I hadn't started watching earlier, because it is a good film. General Santa Anna doesn't come off too well in that film. Davy Crockett's experience of cannibalism was referred to, it wasn't as frank as his real life references though. I suppose if you are going to valorize someone like that, you can't have references to them deliberately frying an Indian's ass with potatoes.

Oh brag and boast time, one of my photos, not even one of my best ones got short-listed for 'Schmaps'!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


A couple news links

Update on the Uighers in Albania

Halilovic acquittal upheld


Some sort of large fire nearby..

I've noticed a lot of haze in the air today, I mean more than usual for Sarajevo, and it's been white. I thought wow fog, and it's sunny, but I went out on the balcony and it's another thing, it's a fire someplace, and I've heard helicopters overhead. So I just hope things are o.k. up there. It smells like a forest type fire and there are wooded areas near me. I haven't seen anything on the news. So I'm not sure. Perhaps later there'll be something.

Albanian arrested as suspect in war time deaths of 14 Serbs

Macedonian Pop Star Given State Funeral

This was quite some funeral, I saw it on Nova here in Sarajevo.


Worried a little

Vote for Colbert! c'mon you know you want to!

I see now why this fun but totally UN related to the Balkans story got on, is part of the url.

I'm actually rather worried about the state of U.S. Turkish relations, not only out of concern for world peace, Middle East peace and the people of both countries, but because of immediate possible implications for myself.

A.T.M.s in BiH do not ALL process withdrawals from foreign accounts, they 1. only process your specific card and 2. may or may not process foreign withdrawals and there's a daily limit, no matter how much money you have in your account. This is a good thing, but there are times when I need the advantage of a higher limit, and frankly the best one for me is a Turkish run bank. Not only that, I feel very secure using their A.T.M.s as they have a security person on premises nearby if one needed help. This goes for both the A.T.M.s belonging to this bank that I typically use. As well their computers have only been down ONCE and it didn't affect both these A.T.M.s at the same time. So I tend to use them a lot for that reason. My next most likely A.T.M. is from a Croatian run bank and after that a German run bank.

Anyway, I really worry about it, EVERY time I've watched C.N.N. lately.

Oh this is too cute, a bird, just was at the window, looked in, and flew off. I love birds, and there are a lot of different birds here in Sarajevo, not just pigeons and crows, mapies and wrens, but other sorts of birds, many of them unfamiliar to me.

The windows here are quite popular with birds for some reason so I see a lot of them.

So now the soup is on, I fried both sides of the soup meat, in sunflower oil, with my seasonings, some 'Mediterranean mix, some fresh ground pepper, a little salt and a little Vegeta. Fried both sides until the fat was browned, then I put in some wine and let it simmer a bit.

Then I cut up and cleaned the veggies. I added the carrot leaves after finding out the leaves of carrots have MANY wonderful healing qualities, the other root vegetables I am not so sure what they are or if their leaves are safe to eat or tasty, if so, they will be added too. If not, no.

I am going to let that all simmer a bit and add the cabbage. I got just one big cabbage down at the Municipal Market. I put in the left over plain lentils and rice. It's all in a big pot on the stove.

Not much worth watching locally on T.V. today. I do have Larry King on.

I was a big fan of his radio show Back in The Day.

Larry King saved me and my kids from a burgler. I always used to leave the radio on at night the kids and I were in bed, and I woke to hear noises at the front door, so I grabbed my burgler basher with one hand and began fiddling with the radio dial, turning it down before commercials and up just enough so when he yelled at people that came out. He has a nice deep voice, and my little ruse worked really well.

I heard footsteps then saw a shadowy form then quiet, so I went to the living room, the door was wide open but no one was around. I got a handkerchief out of my pocket, closed the door using it, and called the police.

The next day the landlord also got a call. In Washington State if anything happens to a tenant because the lock doesn't work, your survivors can sue the landlord. I reminded him of that, it was still a pretty fresh lawsuit. And he had a guy put in the first dead-bolt in that complex.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


The Museum

Finally made it to the National Museum. I decided I'd be using my feet all day and that it would be better to take cabs both ways, to and from, I arrived shortly after opening time.

There are a lot of steps up, and this building took at least some damage in the war.

The collections are 1. the Roman and Pre-Historic era, and 2. the Medieval era.

The signs and labels are just about all in Bosnian,which is not a problem for me, I do read it well enough, maybe for some foreigners it might be, the real problem for me is most signs were way too small for me to easily read in a few cases because of being placed too high or too low, that would be my only major critique actually, and they do have guided tours, it's just that I seldom do guided tours in museums unless the museum is HUGE!

This museum isn't huge. There are some wonderful Greek antiquities, and you can look pretty closely because the WONDERFUL thing about this museum is you can get close enough to really look at things.I have never seen a Roman funerary urn for example, they had one and the tombstone of the person it belong to, and a diagram of how it was set up. That was pretty cool, I've read about it and seen it in books, this however was better, because I had no idea of the actual size of a Roman urn. There were some sacrificial altars as well from the Roman times.

There are of course museum guards, they are not at all obtrusive.

When the guards realized I don't see well and wasn't going to touch anything, I put my hands behind my back so they would know that for sure, they gave me no more than the ordinary attention any other visitor would get.

The Roman artifacts included many tombstones and floor mosaics. Some right near Sarajevo, and some from a little further afield.

Medieval artifacts were marvelous as well, stone carvings from Bobovac, hoards of coins, and jewelry in bronze, silver and gold.
There was some fabric as well, from the grave of a notable person, and there were old guns, old stone cannon balls, King Tvrtko II introduced fire arms to the region.

There were Medieval tools, sickles in different sizes, axes, scissors, other such things.

Before I forget, there was a small pillar that had a Runic inscription! That was extremely exciting for me to see!
There were bits of the frescos from the church in Bobovac, and one could tell that the whole frescos were at a very high artistic standard. Beautiful brush work, I felt the hair rise on my head to be so close to things to do with Rome and things to do with the Kotramanic dynasty.

One thing that I observed in this museum is that if they have partial remains of an artifact and any idea what the whole object looked like, there is plexiglass with the whole thing drawn on it, then the parts they have are placed on the plexiglass about where they were in the original, this is really a cool idea and I haven't seen it done elsewhere, maybe it is, but I personally never saw it done.
The Bosnians were masters of all sorts of metal work, they knew how to make jewelry that both held up and was beautiful.

There were some old weapons as well, arrowheads, swords, armor, helmets, and the finest chain-mail I have ever seen.

My son-in-law is quite capable as a black-smith, he makes very good chain-mail, he would have swooned to see this work, it was incredibly fine.

There were some ancient Greek horse shoes and bridles and bits.

As well there was the stone seat that the kings of Bosnia sat on for very formal occasions, and some smaller stecci. Outside there's a BUNCH of stecci, some have moss on them, as they would in their original settings.

I found the whole thing marvelous.

Then I decided to leave, walked into Baščaršija, I decided to price the Bosnian vests, the really good ones with the most exquisite zardosi work. The cheaper ones have tinsel rather than gold and silver work, they are not ugly, but they aren't as nice as the ones I REALLY like.

The work on a real old-time Bosnian ladie's vest makes the work on bullfighter's clothes look very cheap by comparison. It's done with real gold thread and or real silver silver thread, on velvet, and it takes nearly two months to make one. I wasn't so shocked by the prices being high, I actually was expecting it to be much more expensive. There are very few people left who know how to do the beautiful work that goes into something like this.
Prices begin at 450K.M. That is for most Bosnians a bit more than a month's living expenses. These beautiful vests were part of the daily attire of people in Sarajevo at one time, and of people in other parts of Bosnia.

I looked at other embroidered articles in this shop, there were some fantastic exquisite items for not all that much.

I have to confess, I really really want one of those vests. They are utterly gorgeous.

A lot of people were out and about, I had a hell of a time getting a taxi back, and by the time I got back, I really was tired.

Monday, October 15, 2007


From 'Nebo iznad krajolika'

this is the funny bit from 'Nebo iznad krajolika'. Unfortunately it's too true to life!


Today's big fun...

Plane lands on car, amazingly everyone walked away from that...

Irish high flyer in Bulgarian property market faces collapse

/Croatia starts war crimes trial

Dutch soldiers visit Srebenica for first time since the war

U.S. maternal death rate higher than European maternal death rates,2933,301732,00.html

Incidentally one of the countries with a lower maternal death rate is Bosnia-Hercegovina. There was a really bad war here, and Bosnia-Hercegovina is counted as a developing country, so I want to know what excuse the U.S. has for being behind a country which has suffered so much.

Seriously, out with it!

I took the bus into town and managed to NOT get lost at all. I was quite proud of myself for that. I rode standing most of the way, which takes real skill on the kind of streets they have here, it's like standing on a rollercoaster sometimes.

I did get to sit for the last little bit, realized the final stop for that run isn't all that far from the new U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, I walked sort of the wrong way when I got off, and that landed me on Ali Pašina, There are some real bad crossings going out of the park area.
It's actually not at all a long walk into the Old City from there. So now I'll only take a taxi into town if I really need it. Most of the time until snow falls I won't.
Even when I do take a taxi here, I only use it to get someplace in the Old City anyway, from there, there's endless trams busses and trolley buses to go anyplace else.
Tomorrow I am going to go to the National Museum at last. Now that I actually know which way I need to turn to get there! :).

Id Bajram is basically four days, so it began Friday, and Saturday and Sunday there was stuff about it on all the news channels. Today there was some military sort of ceremony by the Presidency buildings, I noticed this going into town. Yesterday and today people were observing in addition to Id Bajram, Dan Šahid, or Day of the Martyrs. This is to honor those who died in the war. I believe the military ceremony I saw was a part of that.
I stopped to watch for a bit, and then moved on, at first I thought there was going to be some sort of parade, but it stopped looking like that was the case, although traffic was blocked off here and there.
Went to Baščašija for a bit, there were lots of school aged kids out with their families. I had čevapi and a cola and sat tuning in to the conversation of two young Americans who had NO idea I speak English! :)

That was pretty funny, then I saw my fourth Sarajevan niqabi, as she walked by the expressions on their faces were PRICELESS! The woman was plainly older, another woman who had neither a face veil nor even a scarf was walking with her, they looked related somehow.

I saw other Americans sitting at other cafes enjoying the pleasant fall air.

I went to the Municipal Market and got some veggies to cook with the other piece of soup meat I bought last time, and froze. There was a lady who had tied together just a few carrots and parsnips, so that if a person wanted just a little of each thing to put in soup it would be easy to pick up just one bunce. I got a big huge salad garlic, I love that with tomatoes, and some tomatoes. I also got some of the wonderful seedless tangerines you can get here. The local water is very heavy in minerals and sometimes leaves me feeling still thirsty so these tangerines are very nice indeed I drink some water and eat one or two of them and don't feel at all thirsty anymore afterwards.

A few vendors were absent from their usual spaces, probably out of town for Id Bajram, some shops and stalls in Baščašija were closed for the same reason, although one place, a cloth shop was closed for a funeral.

Muslims, Croats and Serbs alike post death notices on walls and other public places, probably it's cheaper than an ad in the paper, but the borders are different, Muslims use a green border on theirs. The notice is in black and white, probably done at a copy center and the border is a seperate piece of paper laid under it.

Well off to do something about a little dinner.
I'll do the soup tomorrow.

Mortgage meltdown will affect the Balkans

Odds are it won't directly affect housing prices soon, here it's not easy to get a mortgage, not for locals and not for foreigners. One's credit rating has to be very good indeed. The0 prices of houses, flats and land suitable for building, as well as rents are a lot higher than when I was last here. You gag when you see a building with heavy war damage going for what amounts to $220,000! Because looking at the wreckage, you know you are going to pay something comparable to that in repair costs and assorted legal and financial documents, all of which must also have the high level services of a legal translator, uuuum, as my late mother was wont to say, 'No thank you Guadalajara!'
It's really quite bad enough renting here.
Still the immediate impact of the mortgage crisis in the U.S. is unlikely to be on housing prices here, where it is going to hurt is loans for bigger projects, and for the various governments themselves. Eventually, since the housing prices here are the result of a post-war bubble, they are likely to go down some.
The interest system as a basis for doing business is of itself unstable, nature itself throws quite enough monkey wrenches in the works. Everything that makes economy more stable either lowers interest rates and keeps them low, or otherwise cushions the blows of interest fluctuations.
It is a social good for economies to be stable. People whose lives are ruined by economic instability are far more willing to go to war, or to create social unrest.
Then again, I want to add to Ambrose Bierce's definition of war, from his famous 'Devil's Dictionary'
I paraphrase here, he probably said it better:

War: n. a means of getting Americans to learn Geography

My expanded definition War: n. 1 a means of getting Americans to learn Geography, 2. n. a prelude to urban renewal in the rest of the world. 3. n. a means of qualifying for international humanitarian aid for projects that the government was too cheap or broke to do. (does not apply in the U.S.A.)4. a means of getting Americans to willingly surrender cherished rights(may or may not apply elsewhere)5. an excuse for looting and rape.(applies pretty much worldwide)6. a means of getting rid of cumbersome paperwork.

I am sure I will think of other additions as I go along.

The mortgage meltdown has already been a problem for other places outside the U.S., for example England.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Well I got the the new phone to take my PIN

Well gentle readers, that is a huge relief, I really did not wish to go down to bother t he nice people at Eronet, I still don't know what was the big deal earlier, I did everything the same! Maybe it was just random weirdness. The only catch seems to be I can't call numbers outside of Sarajevo. Probably I could reach my S.O.'s mobile if it were working, it's on the same network, or was. That number seems to not be working.

That's a bit of a pain, but I do have Skype for say international type calls. Unfortunately this isn't a Skype friendly device, but it does seem to be otherwise useful.

The fun part is I haven't figured out how to change languages on this phone yet, I have located the video clip capacity, and the photograph capacity though, without referal to icons! :) and the radio capacity, it can pick up local F.M. So today I at least have one fewer things on the 'must do' list.

It's too early to call anyone local, but I do have someone in mind that I am going to need to call.

Oh last night, I attempted to send a description of my problem to the Customer Service part of the website, and the website was down, BUT I scored an English translation of the owner's manual, quite by accident! This was not the result of any mad research skills I may have. It looks like I understood all instructions perfectly well! :) I of course copied it for future reference, and book marked the page Just in Case.

Saw the Castro and Chavez man-date on Euro news, it was almost funny. Castro actually doesn't look too bad considering how ill he was. I guess the comrades got together to mark the death anniversary of Che.

Chavez sang Castro a song about Che. I understood every word. I worry about forgetting. I do deliberately watch some Spanish language media here, there's a T.V. station from Spain here, and there are a couple Spanish language soaps I catch, even though I can barely stand either of them, and a really funny show called 'El Refugio' which is a bit like the old American show 'Laugh-In' but seems more aimed at teenagers.

Last night I treated myself to 'Tvin Piks'. That is on the Republika Srpska station, and I watched on OBN, a very good film called 'K-19' It was in English, it was about a Soviet nuclear submarine, that runs into horrible trouble. It was tense, and very well filmed and written. The scenes of men with radiation sickness were very convincing.

It's on the list of films I recommend my readers see if the opportunity presents itself.

Off to explore the rest of this cell phone so that I will know what I'm doing with it.


The stupid phone problem... goes on and on and on and on.

This is really pissing me off, I FINALLY get this stupid thing to charge, it took a LONG time, a WAY too long time, but this baby is charged, So I turn it on, it's different from both my U.S. mobile phone, the track phone, there's a special power button. O.K. that's good, I turn the thing on, it in nice friendly Bosnian words says to put in my PIN, so I get the little book with the PIN number. To Owen who said that mobile phones are the work of the Devil, this PIN number would simply NOT be on in the States! I may never change it for that VERY reason, or may slightly re arrange it for that very reason, then again I may put in some obscure historical date that only I would know, that's my usual practice.
I'm still getting ONLY EMERGENCY calls, with a tiny little stop sign, the Only Emergency calls is of course in Bosnian. This is after all! That part is alright,I can read that stuff nema problema the velika problema je, that I can't make calls and I have to go downtown, after thinking OH GOOD THE DAMN THING WORKS!
I only tried twice because the instruction manual also says if for some stupid reason you enter the PIN code wrong 3 times you are in deep doodoo, your SIM card will be blocked.

Then there is some OTHER BOOGETY BOOGETY YOU HAVE TO DO! All of that BOOGETY BOOGETY I can believe me, well live with out! Things really and truly ought to work according to the instructions, NO FAIR THROWING MONKEY WRENCHES INTO THE EQUATION!

Just a friendly note to all the nice people who design things, go watch 'AK-47' next time they show it on Al Jazeera, the stupid demented designers of mobile phones need to learn that to do the Devil's work you need not have ridiculously complex designs or instructions. A good design is TIMELESS!

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Nebo iznad krajolika and other fun...

Being stuck at home here of a Saturday evening is by no means all bad. Last night there was the third part of 'Nebo iznad krajolika' which it turns out was in the Sarajevo Film Festival. I found that out flipping through the outdated copy of Sarajevo Navigator the landlord left for me to peruse. Anyway, the series got funnier yet, the sturdy Mehmet and the French girl arrive in the next village, where the Federation Mandated (my words not theirs!) Village Drunk a good friend of Mehmets is swigging from a really intimidating bottle of rakija, and is happy to lend his cell phone. There is a circle of stones, which is the ONLY decent reception area for kilometers, he tells the French girl to stay inside the circle and who not to call and keeps saying 'razumijes?!?' 'razumijes!?' after each spate of slurred incomprehensible instructions. She gets on the phone.Her call is dropped, she has a real hissy fit and throws the phone on the ground swearing richly in French. Mehmet and she set off on the tractor, with the Village Drunk who now needs a new cell phone and who of course doesn't care who or why his cell phone was destroyed, it will cut into his rakija budget seriously!

There is by the way a WONDERFUL village tavern. It involves former members of from Mehmet's point of view the wrong side of the war, a roasting pig,a very old man with a VERY long beard, something in the ZZ Top level of hairieness, and a few younger men with tatooos who look scary to me! and a hardened but friendly enough middle aged waitress/owner of the establishment. There is a lot of drunken singing, the songs involve various profanities you don't want your children to have translated for them, accordian playing, it's all very jolly.

There is a Fed Ex delivery of something by a ravishing girl on a beautiful little Bosnian pony. The pony looks like someone shrank a Lippizaner, gorgeous little beast. The girl is a knock out too. The package is for Mehmet.

I won't tell you what's in it, that Would be Telling.

At the other end the phone call sets off a trek by French girl's friends, including one very fat guy who insists on a stop at the Supermarket to stock up on road foods.

Guess where the Supermarket is? Just take a wild guess!

NO you probably will NEVER believe this, but it is the VERY Samshop Supermarket near my place! The very one,The building behind it was just being finished when Nebo iznad krajolika' was filmed!

Friday night, I watched some strange historical drama which involved bandits, kidnapped women,other bad stuff, the hero finding his lovely wife in bed with someone else on his return from foreign parts, a beautiful Bosnian young lady who has an affair with a French guy, lots of horses, lots of shooting, and because I came in at the middle, I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep so I went to the living room and turned on the T.V. that was the least boring thing on. I'm not altogther sure what the show was. It wasn't bad,kind of the Bosnian equivalent of a Western. Wonderful costuming and sets.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Some news linx for a rainy Saturday

Does Bosnia Really Want to Join the E.U.?

I don't know if the E.U. is a totally wonderful idea, some things about it are great, and some as far as I'm concerned seriously suck, that's not the point, the question REALLY should be, does Bosnia want to have a unified police force which would be of some earthly use in nailing criminals? Or do they want it to still be all too convenient for criminals to escape capture by running from one entit to the other? A real police force that is unified and a unified army are necessary to a modern nation, it should have NOTHING to do with E.U. or U.N. or whatever, these reforms are part of having a decent country for the people who live here.
I personally do not think E.U. membership was wonderful for Ireland. It might be good for Bosnia-Hercegovina, or it might not be. The up-side would be greater ease for Bosnians getting around Europe, from a business point of view that is a very important thing, and a good thing. For individuals leading their lives it also would be a good thing. The increase in prices of ordinary goods and services and the high level of regulation of just about everything, I think most people here would find intrusive.
It's a trade-off and the people here have to decide the issues themselves, but there is no question that a unified, reformed police force is necessary.


Povratnici * or just for you Prof Gordy, HORSE Veselje

The Lippizaners are back in Croatia, there was film of their arrival at some un-Godly hour in Croatia, it was dark and some people were out with the flag to welcome them back. Some looked in sort of rough shape, perhaps those were older animals, others looked o.k. to me, in any case they are back and an issue that has soured relations between Croatia and Serbia is finally resolved.

I saw film of their arrival, but here is a news-link about it.

Lippizaners Headed Home


Nadrealist Show and other trivia

One of my favorite local programs is one I miss too often for one reason or another, it's the 'Nadrealist Show' Top Lista Nadrealisti are pretty familiar to any one who knows Bosnia, I first saw them as part of New Year's Eve programming here in Sarajevo, in 1998/99. I did not speak the language beyond a few handy phrases at that time, so I missed out on a lot of it, but now I can understand most of what is being said.

Tonight they skewered
Osmanagić, the pyramid guy who is now raking it in from two channels here in BiH. There is the show 'Piramid' and some alternative archeology show called 'In search of Lost Civilizations' He's become a more likable version of von Denikan. I met von Denikan years ago and must say I was not favorably impressed by him either as a human being or as an alternative archaeologist.

I have to say that Osmanagić comes off well on T.V. whatever you think of his theories. Still he's an attractive target of opportunity for humorists and the Top List Nadrealisti have not been slackers in that regard.

Before there were 'stone' cell phones and other modern items being dug up, that was one skit involving Mr. Osmanagić This one had a guy who'se girlfriend must have REALLY had fun in Baščcaršija! He had Indian glass bangles and golden bangles from his wrists to halfway up his arms, and some scarf or blouse had been transformed into the Pharonic head gear.

Mr. Osman Semiragić asked to see proof in writing of the 'pharoah's ' ownership of the alleged pyramid in Višoko. The 'pharoah' produced a badly drawn drawing of some hieroglyphics on some cheap school paper, in crayon as his proof.

The other victims were 'Hitno Pomoc' (ambulance service for those of you in Rio Del)

The ambulance guys drive MADLY down 'Sniper Alley' to of course a pretty nice burgedznica in
Baščcaršija. I have eaten there in fact, their food is good. The ambulance is parked right by the place, bear in mind that Baščcaršija is mostly a pedestrian area, and even the newly paved areas which have nice even brick type pavement don't see a lot of vehicular traffic.

Anyway they are stuffing their faces and they get a call from a building site. This guy at the building site gets a rock in is pant's leg while working with a small cement mixer, the portable kind. He tries to get the rock out, makes contact with something electric and starts totally doing the 'Funky Chicken' Another guy gets on his cell phone, calls the ambulance guys interupting their meal of burek and cola. So they tell him to take like any non metal thing and move the guy. The caller does that, using a shovel, he whacks the guy hard a few times to stop him from doing the 'Funky Chickent' while he's at it. (Construction workers get skewered here too I guess!) After that the ambulance arrives and the ambulance guys pick the victim up by his work suit, (guys here use sort of one piece work suits made usually from denim, they have lots of zipper pockets) with pliers that have rubber handles, and the workman who called puts the shovel UNDER the guy they get him on the gurney, he of course falls off, They pick him up again, and then the best scene of all the very bandaged up victim thanks sincerely, tearfully all his friends and workmates who saved his life by calling the ambulance. He's all bandaged up and of course he's damned lucky to be alive considering all the 'help' he got! :)

They have the workman who called the ambulance sitting in his flat in a fairly silly looking fur hat drinking coffee and talking with his mouth full as he tells the story, and another guy, VERY seriously portrays the doctor who narrates the series, he warns people not to eat pickles because in some way I missed out on, pickles started the whole problem.

For your edification an older skit: 'Nemir u svedskoj' (Unrest in Sweden)


Links on other regional stories of importance.

Serbia offers 1 million Euro for information on Mladić

Bosnian Serb War Crimes Suspect Detained

Elections to replace the late RS President Jelić set for Dec 9

Kosovo U.N. office evacuated due to bomb scare

There wasn't actually a bomb though...

Way off recent news, but interesting to me due to a long term research project shared by my late mother and I,

Knights Templars Partly Rehabilitated

I KNOW the Vatican must have documents on the Bogomil movement, I think they also deserve some rehabilitation.

quick aside, I want to know what drugs Ann Coulter is taking so I can assiduously AVOID them! Whatever they are they don't make you feel good and they DO make you really really really stupid!


Sarajevo faces possible bus strike

This I don't have a link for, not in English or in Bosnian,I saw it on one of the local news shows, basically several people from the bus driver's union gave a statement that the buses here are in terrible shape, they need new tires urgently and other repairs before Winter sets in. They announced that they may strike unless something is done to improve the situation.

A bus strike would really shut this city down. Even though there are more cars than ever, most people use public transit in the form of the buses and the tram and tolley-bus lines. As well there is so much reconstruction of roads and even other reconstruction of things like sidewalks can make driving and walking here difficult. Right downtown it's not too bad, but go anywhere else and the road situation is pretty bad.

All the transit infrastructure is in bad shape. I know this because I do ride the trams regularly, and I have taken the buses here a few times. I am here to tell you that the drivers here are very good, very conscientious guys. They basically are trying to act in the public interest.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Id Bajram greetings to any Muslim readers

So even though I'm Catholic myself, I decided to watch the special Id Bajram programs as that is an experience I wouldn't have in the U.S.
Now there's a program of religious music, and it's quieted down outside, there were a lot of firecrackers and what sounded to my ears like small arms fire.
I suppose most of my neighbors are having gatherings of family and friends.
Speaking of friends, I am absolutely sure I saw my favorite taxi driver on T.V.
There were two different places that the big Id prayers were offered, Gazi Husref Beg, where Ceric officiated, and Careva where another religious leader presided, I'm sorry I didn't get his name, fine print, fuzzy reception despite cable and your friendly editor's bad eye sight. I think my favorite cabbie was at that service, that or someone who looked a LOT like him.
A largely male crowd, although one guy brought a girlfriend and they were outside, she was dressed in jeans. She obviously could not have gone in, they sat on the grass outside.
I saw too when people were leaving an older Bosnian Muslim lady walking slowly over the bridge by the Careva mosque.

The workmen seem to have the day off, they've earned it!

The music on T.V. is quite lovely, and very old fashioned, it's very beautiful

I am told that this phone could take 20 hours to charge up! ooooj well I'm doing little else today....


So the stupid phone situation STILL isn't resolved!

Looks like either Saturday or Monday I have to go down to Eronet and ask them for a different battery, the one supplied seems to be a dud, it says if a battery has no charge it may take a few minutes. I was EXTREMELY careful I removed my rings before even touching the battery at all, I was EXTREMELY cautious installing it, but a few minutes probably should not be about half an hour.

This is really pissing me off. I have to go in either Saturday or Monday and hope someone can please help. I am going to check the website first. If I don't start seeing signs of life with the little phone though, I guess it's another trek downtown. At least now I know how to get there without problems. It's not that far from the National Theatre, so I can save a little cab far by going to Skenderija or Baščaršija. Given that it probably will still be raining, that might be a good idea. I hope it's not the damn battery. In case you haven't noticed, the phone situation has me muy enojada, veoma ljut,

I know I can maintain composure and talk slowly and listen if I have to go down there again. I just really was hoping I would not have to. It involves carrying ALL the damn paperwork to and from.

It's not like there was the wrong battery, or like I did this wrong. I don't know sometimes a battery is just no good. Sometimes the phone is a lemon, who knows.

I have to say that they do a good job at Nokia with the instruction manual, they have it in Bosnian and in English, and the Nokia website has excellent demos you can refer to.

B.T.W. I'm hearing what sounds like celebratory gun fire and or fireworks, it's pretty desultory so far. It began about when the last of the workmen on the building site knocked off for the night, there were some guys unloading stuff after dark.
Then I heard what sounded like little kids out with fireworks of some kind, just one or two. It's rainy, that probably explains why there isn't a lot of it going on all at once, it's like someone goes out does what ever with the noise, and then goes back in to eat or something.

People tend to have parties for this last night, and to see their family and friends. It's however pretty mellow since there isn't drinking involved.

I bet these noises have been scary for the canine life forms out there, if they are even out and about in this rain.

While I was out earlier I saw a dog that was some sort of hound, very lovely, he was on his own, he had three colors. I think he has an owner, he looked relatively well cared for.

Update: O.K. I went to the website and found out that Nokia batteries take a notoriously long time to fill the first time, one person said 16 hours, supposedly it's 3 hours for a first time to fill the battery. it might be a good idea to put that information in the users manual instead of making people crawl through the dry desert to some internet message board to find that out! I'm just saying....

Anyway that means I need to be up a little later just to be sure because in big unfriendly letters it says in the manual that you can over charge the battery. I really would LOVE to have a battery like in my first phone that lets you know when the charging process has started, and lets you know with loud kittenish beeps when the process is over, and that you can't over charge it. Ah well only so much you can expect from designers and writers of user manuals I guess, but a few minutes is way different from saying 'O.K. the first time you charge it can take awhile, like 3 hours, 16 hours, the next week, whatever you do don't panic. That would be helpful. Another thing, if it's on a user message board that simply isn't as credible to me as something actually IN the manual.

I'd rather have a little bad news in the manual right up front from a reliable source than have to figure it out that way. Just a thought.

I plugged the recharger into a wall socket as required, and then plugged in the little lead as the demo showed. I mean this IS an operation I've done before with other phones. So it's not like it's new.

I mean if they can warn about things like short-circuiting a battery, why not have this news that it takes longer, way longer handier? I didn't mind a bit, I took above and beyond precautions, and checked the very useful little demos at the Nokia website, and I did things correctly. So anything that went wrong is NOT MY FAULT, nisam ja kriv!

So all I can do is cross my fingers. I really don't want to have to bother the nice people down at the Erotel office on Saturday or Monday. I just want the thing to work! I hate bugging people with stuff that doesn't work! I really and truly do!


So today's random wanderings...

It wasn't raining too badly today, so I got gussied up for going into town, I figured today was 'now or never' on the phone issue. Tomorrow is Id Bajram,

Id Mubarak for any Muslim readers! :)

Anyway things will be closed on Friday, and people will be having a day off. So it's just as well to get stuff done today! :).

I got to the taxi stand, and there's no taxis. I wait. A couple who were there before me gave up and went to the bus stop, then along came a guy with two plastic bags of groceries from Samshop, and then along came an older guy who was missing a leg and was plainly a veteran of the Bosnian war, with two really good looking younger guys, his sons maybe? They had short hair and were wearing dark blue military type warm up jackets. I think they may have been soldiers.

The guy with the groceries got out his cell phone and called Sarajevo Taxi and said 'There's a bunch of people here that want taxis and no taxis not even ONE!' Then an older obviously Muslim lady showed up, then a girl, very young,very pretty in tight tight jeans, anyway, ALL these folks gave up,and got the bus.

Not knowing for sure where that particular bus goes, I didn't, I stayed put. I had determined not to get lost in search of Eronet's office. Anyway I wrote down the address, I find that that helps greatly, sometimes if I don't say something just right, it's a problem. Mostly it isn't, mostly I'm not going to a specific address, just a given taxi stand, like Baščaršija or Skenderija, or the taxi stand by the Markale. Or I'm going back to the flat. Anyway, most drivers do catch that I'm a foreigner, and they handle my mistakes in pronunciation alright, I am making fewer of them anyway.

One thing I love about Bosnian men, and this is a huge plus!

They WILL ask for directions! If a taxi driver doesn't know for sure how to get to a place, he calls the dispatcher and finds out! Guys who aren't taxi drivers often ask for directions too! They usually ask a taxi driver. I respect that.

The trouble with the Eronet office was the first time I saw it was the day I was badly lost, and when I've been badly lost it's like there is a LOT of junk information in my brain, and it makes matters worse. If I had time and it weren't raining that'd be another matter, but I don't do well with umbrellas in crowds, and I just wanted to get there. I got to the office, asked the lady if their Hej! package would work with the first cell phone I got, she checked it out carefully and said I had a bad phone and should just get rid of it. So I said 'Fine, I'm willing to go ahead and buy a new phone.' So she showed me the list. I ended up picking a Nokia 6070, and the nice bit is it WILL work with the package, and I have someplace to go that will help if there's a problem. The other nice thing is it's a camera phone, and it can record short video clips, that's kind of cool

Going pre-paid is about the only way to get mobile service here for foreigners. It's not too expensive, and like I mentioned before, there's a couple other services. I'm not totally against BHmobile, it just didn't work out for me.

Some the problems I had with BHmobile's website are problems with OTHER European websites for products and services, it's not just a Bosnian thing.

Samsung for example doesn't have a good F.A.Q. set up either, and they are a HUGE company and SHOULD really have that set up better.

While I was out I got a newspaper too. The woman I usually buy it from has a really loud voice, She moved from her usual spot for some reason, and I like getting my paper from her in particular because she's a nice person who helped me when I didn't know where the nearest taxi stand was. As well she's an irrepressibly cheerful soul and I like that.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


A program I saw today on Al Jazeera

On 'Al Jazeera' there is a program called 'Witness' which is very good. The latest edition had a story about Bosnia and the war, and a number of people.

There was a woman in Belgrade who took in several Bosnian children at the time of the war, among them a little boy named Senad Imamović, who came from a little tiny Muslim village. She looked after these children very well, there were three of them. She wanted to find out what became of them later, especially
Senad Imamović.He has Cerebral Palsy.
She got involved with Video Letters. I first learned about 'Video Letters' from a blog called 'Random Bosnian Thoughts' Anyway, she did manage to find the boy's family and the news was not good. The film was very touching, and shows a lot about what it is like here since the war.
I won't spoil it for you by telling how it ended. I want people to see it for themselves. It should be up on the Al Jazeera website soon. When I see a link, I will post it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Rainy day here in Sarajevo

The mud at the construction site out the window is probably knee deep, hardly any of the big crows around. I woke up a little late because I was up late watching 'The Motorcycle Diaries'. It's on the cold side. I don't think I want to go anywhere unless the rain lets up a little.

here you can see the workmen at work despite rain, got some decent footage of one of the cranes in use.

Today's News Links:

Kosovo P.M. vows independence if talks fail\ACQRTT200710100140RTTRADERUSEQUITY_0045.htm&selected=9999&selecteddisplaysymbol=9999&StoryTargetFrame=_top&mkt=WORLD&chk=unchecked&lang=&link=&headlinereturnpage=

This story received heavy local coverage.

This is from the New York Times, you may need to register, but it's worth reading, even though it's only peripherally Balkans related. This sort of thing should not be happening in the United States of America, not if Americans want to hold the country up as a good example of how things should be done. On the one hand, teachers who aren't good, who are abusive need to be removed from the system somehow, on the other hand, guilty until proven innocent FUNDAMENTALLY violates the American way of life.

Where Teachers Sit Awaiting Their Fates

European Migration Policy Map


and last, but not as trivial as it seems:

Proposed regulation of door to door selling practices for E.U.

I personally have not experienced door to door selling practices, what I have experienced instead in BiH have been door to door begging practices. People will go door to door and ask for money. This is harder to do now that a lot of buildings have Interphone service, but it's still possible. Door to door begging is also a reason for real fear, because it's not unusual for a door to door begging situation to turn into a really nasty home invasion robbery.
Door to door sales mostly has died out in the U.S. The last situation of a door to door salesman I encountered personally was 20 years ago in the Yakima Gulag, some poor guy was out trying to sell Bibles door to door, in the rain of an early Gulag winter. I ran him off, for one thing he did look a bit dodgey, for another, I had a perfectly good Bible, and didn't really need another, a kid's Bible for example. I figured,kids should read the REAL thing, when they are old enough to read the words, as I did.I am not against illustrated Bibles, some of those can be quite lovely. This man had nothing with him, and I was not about to let him in even if he was an old guy. One just never knows.


Completely forgot this anniversary!

It's Che Guevarra-O'Lynch's death anniversary. There is actually some stuff about it on BHT 1 tonight.

In fact not only was this anniversary noted quite a bit on the news, they showed without commercial interruption 'The Motorcycle Diaries' which I've never seen before. It's one of those films that did not make it to the Yakima Gulag or only did so for a VERY short period of time. Certain films never make it there because it's assumed no one will go see them, others only get short runs as foreign films in the cinema devoted to 'art films' or foreign films. 'The Motorcycle Diaries is in Spanish' not only that, it's Argentinian Spanish, which means I had a hard time understanding it, and was damned grateful for the Bosnian subtitles! :).

The film has it's propagandistic moments, but was all the same believable, there were some great scenes of parties, and one pretty amusing fight that broke out at a party in Chile, where the guys were chased out of town by enraged Chileans who were calling them many names in Spanish, only a few of which got translated. I think that they didn't translate EVERYTHING for reasons of 'decency'. I've noticed sometimes they DO translate everything, and sometimes they don't. I prefer that they do, it's more honest, and it's silly to pretend that people have major adventures and no one swears.

The film did a pretty good job of showing the conditions in Latin America which led Che Guevarra to become a revolutionary, it did not dwell on his death, because the film was not at all about his later life. His death was dealt with in an epilogue kind of way, and that is where most of the direct message went.

I found some bits really hilarious, and found others touching. There are elements of Che's story that have entered into legend. Even the doubts about exactly where where, when and how he died, or if he died at all contribute to his legendary status. Che Guevarra was a human being, and his real life probably could not stand up to the scrutiny of people who practically worship him, and lest we forget, dead or alive he was involved in some nasty stuff along the way.


News links

Because it's really NOT all about me! :)

Croatia's Ethnic Serb Leader Dies

Extremism rears it's head in Serbia

Not guilty plea in war-time killings

Sparks Fly Over Police Reform in BiH

Wait a minute...I thought there was an agreement....?

Experts discuss setting up war crimes trial archives for Rwanda, Yugoslavia

I guess not all the neo-Nazis busted in Novi Sad were Serbian, some came all the way from Slovakia and from Bulgaria to get into trouble!


The Telefonski Fiajasko continues

O.K. I went to the post office today, I just took a taxi down there, and took my phone, the Ultra Card, and all that. The lady in the post office said that my phone doesn't take the the BHmobil Ultra Card. I think that is wrong, because I believe that is the EXACT type that my landlord's father used with my phone, and it worked for him. As well I am pretty damn sure that the guys down at Enter Mobile Servis used BHmobile Ultra cards in testing my phone. So something isn't adding up.

There for some reason was a lot of noise in the main post office. It was like a staple gun or a nail gun or something like that. Because of the lovely high ceilings and all, it tends to really echo. The noise would start EVERY damn time the lady behind the counter was trying to tell me something, she was at a seat too far from the window for me to be able to hear her well ANYWAY, and the noise didn't help. When I could actually hear her, I understood her, so that's not the problem, it was the noise that interfered. I left in frustration. Supposedly there is a place to buy the phones taht DO work with the BHmobile Ultra card but I'd had enough of the whole Kafkaesque situation, my feet were killing me. I went in search of an A.T.M. So far only two banks have A.T.M.s that consistently work with my card, Zagrebacka Bank, and the Turkish bank. It was a long walk, I went there, and got money, headed back to the post office, oh they have a display of the various phones but like NO information of whether you can just get them at the post office, or where ELSE you could go to get one of them, or what the Hell they cost.
Then there's the matter of the phone I already bought, which supposedly according to the post office lady doesn't take this type of card. Again I'm not so sure about that. That is ANOTHER expedition into Baščaršija to see if I can just exchange this phone or return it. Within
Baščaršija are two branches of the same shop. I am going to gather up all the paper work and take it there again, to the exact shop where I bought it, and tell them what all has happened so far, and see if I can either exchange the phone, get something that DOES in fact work with BHmobile or whatever.

Monday, October 08, 2007


I now royally HATE the Ultra card service of BiH mobitel!

O.K. the instructions look simple enough, so I tried to get the damn thing working on my own. That didn't work, so I asked my landlord for help, he did EXACTLY the same stuff I did, and it got him nowhere. That means I was following the instructions as written. O.K. I took my cell phone and the packet, the ENTIRE packet down to a branch of the cell phone shop where I bought my cell phone, the guys there are certifiable nerds and know their business, they did everything, two of them and finally concluded I was sold a dud card. So I went in search of the post office where I bought the damn thing, to get my money back or something. They told me I have to go to the main branch for it. Well that was a long ways to walk and by then my knee was beginning to hurt. So I stopped at a news stand and got a totally new start packet. Guess what? The same stupid routine is happening again. Why there isn't a help desk I could call I don't know. The website should have a tutorial or something, that'd help but no there isn't one. I'm pretty angry now. It should not be that damn hard to get a damn phone working. If there IS something else I need to be doing, why is it NOT in the INITIAL instructions like 'Step one, turn on the phone, Step two Enter your pin, step three make a call, anyhwere in BiH, Step 4 you are now activated.
That is basically what the instructions SAY. So why twice in a row, two different SIM cards am I getting 'emergency calls only!' in big unfriendly letters? If there is some other boogety boogety I am supposed to be doing, that ought to be in the initial instructions. The longer instructions don't seem to indicate any further magical actions which must be taken to get the phone working either.
This phone is supposed to be able to accept the BH mobile Ultra card. The guys at the shop tried other ultra cards on it and it worked with them doing EXACTLY as the instructions say! This pisses me off, two in a row that don't work.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Finally have Skype working PROPERLY!

I have had Skype for some time, something Ivan the Terrible got me started with. I've not had a lot of luck in the past using it for international calls, but that's over, I got it working right FINALLY and called one of my friends on it.

In a bit my S.O. gets a call, to see if he's back here, or still down at his brother's.


Selling out to 'The Man'

I have decided that it would not hurt at all if this site generated some revenue, so I have signed up for Google AdSense. With any luck this will re-fill the Emergency Čevapi Fund, help pay for internet access, and generally keep things running.

I probably should have signed up for this long ago. Wasn't it Samuel Johnson who said anyone who doesn't write for money is a fool?

Charles Simic, U.S. Poet Laureate

He's a good poet, and one of his works is in the article. He's NOT that new to t he job.


Death Anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya

Many of the regular readers are familiar with the murder of this brave journalist. I'd forgotten the day frankly, but there was a bit about it on BHT news.

Her son Ilijas was interviewed, and t here was file film from her funeral and some film of demonstrations protesting her murder.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Film Review : Nafaka

So I turn on FTV, not having been out someplace to get a copy of 'Oslobodjenje' I don't have more than a basic clue about T.V. schedules. So I was expecting 'Nebo iznad krajolika' which is a very funny show. Instead there was a film called 'Nafaka' which by turns irritated the Hell out of me and moved me.
It was pretty well filmed, the characters were a little bit stereotyped, but at times fairly believable.
Some bits were even a little funny, and some were probably P.T.S.D. moments for anyone who actually lived here during the war. Nafaka is a Bosnian word, that means 'fate', but in a wierd sort of way.

It doesn't mean a good fate or a bad fate, it just means the way life can push you around in strange ways sometimes.

I didn't know this word before I saw this film, but I have to say that like 'inat' it was a part of my make-up to think of things that way.

Anyway, the premise is there is a Black American who shows up in some capacity during the siege. I think she's like an aid worker, or a journalist.

She is in kind of the wrong place at the wrong time on New Year's Eve, and a big shell knocks her into a a basement with this guy, who is lightly but scarily wounded by the same shell. They kind of are stuck there.

They form a relationship that lasts the duration of the war.

Anyway, at the beginning, she's explaining to some American Embassy person why she is giving up her American citizenship. (A thing I would NEVER do! I've seen what people go through to get a Green Card and it ain't pretty!)

And she's telling this guy what happened to her in those times. The film is a series of vignettes based on the war.

It's not bad as made for T.V. fare goes. I think there is the beginning of a new genre of war movies based on the recent war. They so far are a LOT like the old Partizan v.s. Fascist type of films. There is a certain amount of graphic realism, but not quite as bloody believe it or not as American war films.
The International Community comes off badly in this film, as the ones who let everyone down by not stopping the war, by assuming that people LIKE that 'about every forty years there is four years of war'
There were moments when the film bordered on propaganda, and t hen moments when it was fairly profound.
Anyway, if it shows up anyplace near you do watch it if you are up for that sort of thing. Not as good as 'No Man's Land' but 'not awful, in fact it was kind of therapeutic'

Update, just saw on BHT that 'Nafaka' won a prize for best entertainment film in a Hungarian film festival. Congrats!

Off to go back and watch the rest of 'Folk Show'


Further on the phone situation

O.K. I downloaded the new Skype, as suggested by Marko at Skype support. Maybe they keep a guy named Marko around for us Balkanci! :) Who knows?
Anyway, found that S.V.U. got onto Skype, I was so exicted I clicked on her name, and then realized that DAMMIT it was a little after 4 a.m. in the Yakima Gulag. So I immediately hung up and sent an SMS instead. Hope that works! :)
Then I tried the number in Sarajevo for my S.O. no answer, so I tried his land-line in Croatia, and got him, BRIEFLY, ever SO BRIEFLY he HEARD me. Anyway off to tinker some more, even being briefly audible to him was a pleasant change from the past, when calling him has been damn near impossible, now I need to wait for him to get back here. I guess I need to show him what talking on Skype is about so he'll know that he needs to shut up long enough for me to reply! :)


some news linx

Mullingar Troops Return from Kosovo

Review of 'The Hunting Party'

(the lack of)Freedom of movement in the Balkans


O.K. more about the phone situation

I thought for the Hell of it I'd try to use Skype to call my mobile phone here, and GUESS WHAT komrades? I can reach mobile numbers and I can sort of hear myself! That means that my friend S.V.U. better talk to her cell phone company, something is wrong with her reception on her phone!

Also her e-mail didn't work, I don't know how many times I have told people not to even BOTHER with the Yakima Gulag People's Institute of Higher Re-Education's free student e-mail, it malfunctions all the time! I never used it after the first three malfunctions.

Anyway I contacted the nursery her family owns in the Valley, and maybe she'll just e-mail me back from her stupid student e-mail so I can get something besides the stupid Mailer-Daemon from my e-mail.

It's nice to know I CAN call mobiles from Skype. It comes in fact as a real relief that I am even audible to myself on it.

That means I have some slight emergency ability to contact regular numbers. It's a nice back up given how annoy my experience so far with BH telecom's Ultra service has been. Mind it's probably not them, I probably didn't understand some small but critical bit of information.

It'll be o.k. I'll just see if I can find a cell phone shop where someone speaks a little English, or go to one of the many Internet clubs near the campus. When in doubt Ask a Nerd :).

My respect for both Bosnian workmen and Bosnian nerds is unbounded, the nerds here have a gift for dealing with people who need to talk slowly, and the workmen are very motivated. I see them out in this rain and I feel kind of bad and guilty sitting in my nice warm apartment while they bust their humps building more elite housing.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Rainy Day Saturday

Well, the cable is out here, and so is the gas still. I think the issue at this point might be the pilot light, a part I am not qualified to deal with outside the U.S. I would if it were an American style hot water boiler, because I do know how to light them, and I know where to check.

Here I'm relying on some international symbols and lights, designed to be readable regardless of language. They are VERY tiny So I can't see them easily.

They also were designed by aliens from whatever planet Mr. Bill came from, so that means I should not assume I understand them all until I get the handbook.

Last night I discovered we do have Hell Hounds around here!

I have heard dogs barking madly at different times. I decided to look out and see where the dogs were because my ears were detecting that they were moving around the building in some way, not inside it. So I looked and saw like this HUGE pack of feral canine life forms. For all I know they COULD have been jackals. They all seemed slightly smaller than German Shepherds, and about the same conformation. It was a huge pack of whatever the Hell they were!

It was dark, all I could see was like massive numbers of canine life forms swarming through the building site area. There are jackals here. I should test that theory by howling at them next time and seeing what they do. Dogs will not be silenced by a human response of that kind, but jackals will shut up and go away.

I didn't think anyone in here actually owns a dog, most of my neighbors seem to be Muslims, and Muslims are not big on dogs. Although Sarajevo seems to have a lot of dogs all the same, both tame, cared for and loved household pets and the feral dogs. People will feed stray dogs here. I saw someone trying to give a stray some leftovers. I saw one stray that was apparently an Irish Setter dog, she had lost most of the hair on her face, meaning she must be a very old animal. I have seen also one person who has a huge Dalmatian, he had it on a leash and was going by one of the mosques in the Baščaršija.

I have only seen two of those dogs in the region and both I saw in Sarajevo. The other one I saw was with a couple, they had two dogs, the Dalmatian and some fuzzy little dog. That was years ago. I saw them on Ferhadija, while out walking with my S.O., who really should have been back home by now. I should call him and see if everything is o.k. Maybe he stayed down at his brother's longer than planned, there is a fairly heavy rain and no sensible person would be driving with that going on. Still, if I remember correctly he was meant to have got back on Friday.

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