Sunday, August 31, 2008


And now a word from Our Sponsors....

D. at the shop
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
Not a bad place to get nice clothes in Baščaršija, they do have some Bosnian made articles, ask, usually that would be hand-woven bags. Their hand-woven bags are the least expensive in Baščaršija. They have been learning handy phrases in English from me too! They are right by 'Badem' the really good shop for spices.


Not publishing guesses! :)

Because it would spoil the fun!

And now a word from Our Sponsors, I took a picture of the shop and that of another friend in Baščaršija, I recommend these places. Sometimes someone is around who speaks English. I gave my friends a little phrase book and they have been studying it, and I have been working with them on the all important 'th' sound, which is hard on Bosnians! I have them almost able to say 30 v.s. 13 correctly! I am so proud of them!

I resold any videos I think might not be legal copies. And have been getting ready. Tomorrow is comparison shopping day. Further note, my bank did not tell me there is for customers overseas a 'Collect Call' number. Most banks have them. I did not know that. If you are going to be overseas awhile, it's worth asking about it. I participated in my bank's survey and told the survey the names of EVERYONE who was even MILDLY helpful, so that it goes in their Permanent Record! :).

My landlady is here tomorrow is the begining of Ramzan. So my friends were telling me who was fasting this year and who probably won't be able to. It occured to me that since the F.S.O. and I are quits, I only have a couple non-Muslim friends! So who gets the surplus medovača is going to be entertaining. There is an acquaintance of mine, not at all close who works for O.H.R. and a Serbian-Croat girl who works in an art gallery here. She probably gets the spare medovača, because my acquaintance at O.H.R. hasn't been very good about staying in touch.
So she gets the medovača! She did a break-up recently too. So probably she needs it more really! :).

I have watched about McCain and his running mate. She is young, she's governor of Alaska, six kids. Other than that I don't know anything about her. Obama here is perceived as being a little more friendly to Serbia. Not surprising, he has a Serbian-American community of some size in Illinois. Biden is perceived as more friendly to BiH, McCain is here mostly perceived as not that helpful to BiH, but very helpful to Kosovo. No one is silly enough to expect great changes in American policy for this region either way. The real issues for America with the war in Iraq, and the economy which has not been helped by said war are more pressing for Americans.

Anyway it's a nice day today so I am out and around.

I am thinking of doing a guidebook for the city of Sarajevo. I have enough good pictures.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Karadžić to appear in court today

Not a lot to report on that yet, probably it's going on on T.V. and I am out for the day. My plan was to go see Despić kuća, if I don't blow all my spare change here.

The government in Serbia is urging Mladić to surrender, but I think they probably ought to simply arrest him. The person in charge of such matters was saying it was in Mladić's best interest to surrender, but I don't think Mladić thinks so or he would have DONE so already!

Waiting out things to do with pieces of paper.

The bank sent my card, but NEVER did send a PIN! I might need a PIN at some point....I am not even sure I can activate the card without one. There have been storms at night, usually about when I would need to make the call to find out.

Note to travelers here, calling cards usually don't allow you to call 800#s in the U.S. but there is a nifty way around it, call the regular number, and if the place kicks you onto the 800# you are fine, THAT will work! Learned that by accident.

I went and said goodbye to the guy that made my nice coffee service.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Piramid Reklama

Piramid Reklama
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
jebes zemelja ko piramid nema?


Wedding Season Here is Different

Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
Close to Ramzan, the number of weddings goes up here. Not being Muslim, I don't know why, but it adds excitement to the air, got this shot on the way back from SFF


Why I shall miss the lovely city of Sarajevo...

Why I shall miss the lovely city of Sarajevo...
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
speaks for itself....


Stuff I would have mentioned..if my own problems hadn't been bugging me...

Pyramid Update: I guess Osmanagić has buddies in the neighborhood... there was a big pyramid conference seminar sort of deal advertized heavily on FTV and it made local news. I still don't think it is a pyramid, sorry, my working theory is it is an Ottoman Era Arms Dump and a BIG luxury one. Maybe it was a Ban Kulin Arms Dump, then a Tvrko I and II Arms Dump but then however giganto it was, they forgot it was there.

I came to Club Click and discovered that I am mildly famous....

Comrade Katjuša @ SFF

the lady who opens Club Click in the morning saved it for me, some big shot journalist from far away from either Sarajevo or the Yakima Gulag took this picture. Not being a famous journalist, I am just another face in the crowd. People who would like to guess which one I am are welcome to guess. I shan't tell you.

I am plotting my return. Things I need include a plane ticket and a slightly bigger second suitcase. There are things I got here I'd like to take home. Sadly it can't include the medovaća... so I have been drinking it. I have been going places and seeing my friends. it is a lovely city, and it is going to be very hard to leave. Well, if the landlady's brother ever FINISHES reading my manuscrip, who knows...

News from Georgia remains super distressing. Ethnic cleansing has been mentioned in that context. I feel bad for the ordinary people who are being sucked into this latest opposite of Woodstock event.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Well the Big Letter I have been waiting for got here...

Much delayed and for some reason subjected to inspection by The Authorities, and Resealed with scary looking Official Stickers and Wrapped in Plastic, but at least it is here, so now I can plan my return voyage. It was nice being away from the Gulag, but it will also be nice to be back with my family members, and interesting to see what has changed.


Two young people in traditional Bosnian attire

Two young people in traditional Bosnian attire
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
This really made my day yesterday, that and my favorite cabbie CONGRATULATED me! There is so much I will miss about Sarajevo and it's wonderful people. I have been very lucky to be here nearly a year.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Thoughts Have Wings!

Thoughts Have Wings!
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
This is again a time for change in my life. I am down in Baščaršija. My daughter tells me the Big Letter I have been waiting for might take up to another week. My sister sent me some information I can use if I have to, in order to get help. Things are not dire yet. So long as the card comes in a week. I thought for sure 2 weeks. Anyway, I have been keeping myself busy. Flikr needs to DO something about their upload deal! I am getting annoyed with how long it is taking today,

One of those Only in Sarajevo Moments just happened here at Club Click, the stepless well lit internet club. ) The young lady in charge offered the early customers Bosnian coffee, and of course I said yes! I needed a coffee, the stove and I had an argument this morning. That stove brings out the Animist in me I swear! I had cooked leftover rice and added some soup mix to jazz it up a little, and had just set the coffee pan on the burner when the stove of it's own volition went off. Meaning I had to quick turn it off. I was so annoyed, and it was news time. So I did not have coffee before walking into town, and this dear young lady at Club Click made coffee, and offered it, and it came with lokum on a toothpick!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


End of the Sarajevo Film Festival

I wanted to go to the Family day on Wilsonova, but just couldn't, the heat was pretty bad, and I decided to bag it after seeing the Kafa sa ... Kevin Spacey. Some big general came, not sure but I believe he was someone American. This caused a buzz in the HUGE crowd. There literally were journalists from EVERYWHERE! and a satellite uptake dish was installed to let them do t heir live feed thing. I couldn't use the free internet right away. I made a point of really thanking the lovely and sweet B.B.B.s who helped me every day, and said, it was really good of I.T. Computers to do that for the Festival's visitors!

I gave them how to get onto this blog too, so they could see for themselves, the pictures of the SFF, and that I have only good things to say about the Festival, and I.T. Computers :) and mostly I have good memories of Sarajevo!

Kevin Spacey got an absolutely huge reception here, his movies are well liked here. They showed 'The Usual Suspects' and the interview was great. He is an interesting man and a very good director. Hearing how he works was fascinating. He is a very appealing character. It was his first time in Sarajevo. He really likes the city, I could tell he wasn't just making nice!

Kevin Spacey has been a big supporter of Barack Obama and there were a couple Obama related questions which he handled with great finess.

Speaking of Obama, I hadn't put Biden on his short list for V.P. but I am delighted that Biden will be the running mate! EXCELLENT choice, really excellent!

(Biden has a really good foreign policy record over all. Biden is strong in his own right, which shows that Obama has some guts!)

After sitting in the crowd, under the tent, I was a bit over heated and dizzy, so I went and got an orange juice, not a Cedavita, it was MOBBED over by the Cedavica booth!
Then I walked to the bus stop, the Dom Armije stop. The official name of the building is no longer 'Dom Armije' it is Dom Oružne Snaga BiH' but EVERYONE still calls it 'Dom Armije'

Monday Ramzan is supposed to start and this is a big time for weddings. In fact processions of cars with honking horns proceeding at high speed have been common for about the last week or so. I got a nice shot of one of those processions yesterday.

It was really LOUD, then I went and got a bus home. Today, I walked into town and will walk back. My very important piece of mail did not arrive yesterday EITHER, so a friend who knows the area is going to help me go to the special postal facility by the railway station. I will hopefully be able to find out what happened then. I don't know what time this will happen tomorrow. The friend has other business, it is one of my dear friends from the little dress shop in Baščaršija.

Frankly, I am going to miss them FAR more than I will miss the S.O. It is sad to say it, we have known each other about 10 years, and I really did love him, but right now I feel so blank about him. I guess that feeling is my friend. It will keep me from doing anything stupid about him. I thank God for that feeling!

Often women who have broken up with a guy take him back shortly after the break-up, without anything being resolved. I did that with him once years ago.

To make it as plain as I can while protecting everyone's privacy, he wasn't violent, he isn't a mean guy, he is in fact perfectly charming, even sweet at times. The trouble with the S.O. is he isn't very good about telling the truth. Nor is he especially faithful or reliable. He is not THERE for you wh en the chips are down, not even emotionally. The chips are very much down for Drugarica Katjša just now.

If I had any way of staying in this really wonderful city, I would, with or without the S.O. it is a wonderful place, and most of my time here has been spent without the S.O. actually. Between him getting sick, which he can't help at this point, and his being in Croatia often which he damned well COULD help, he hasn't been around anything like enough.

Other than the day I had enough of the less good part of him, it has been o.k. even wonderful at times. But there is no future with him, there cannot be. Anyone I am with has to be honest with me, and true to his word.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Sarajevo Film Festival Kafa sa...Charley Kaufman

Charley Kaufman directed among other films, 'Being John Malkovich' and I was delighted to see him, I actually saw 'Being John Malkovich' here in BiH, when I was living up in Šip. It is a painfully, excruciatingly funny film and a very big favorite with Ivan the Terrible, Minister of Technology. (#1 sina for those in the know!) Anyway the interview was great, an English guy did most of the interviewing, but naturally there were questions from the audience. There was a guy who sounded JUST like Borat! He asked Charley Kaufman why 'you make so funny your English you make so strange!' Well, Charley Kaufman said, 'Maybe it is strange to you because English isn't your first language!' I mean the guy really thought he could speak English and he just kept questioning and sounding even MORE like Borat as he went along. I am not so sure it WASN'T Borat! I couldn't see the guy!

I heard that Sharon McGuire had a HUGE number of people to see her. I am still sorry I had to miss that. I love her work, and liked her interviews I've seen elsewhere.

This is the last day of the Festival, I am going to catch the interview with Kevin Spacey, and then probably just grab a bus home.

The Sarajevo Film Festival is great because if you have from 7 to 10 KM to rub together, you can go see any film you like. Unless like 'Snijeg' it sold out. I hear that 'Snijeg' is excellent, and I can hardly wait to see it.

There are so many wonderful films and the festival is wonderfully organized. Oh I showed the B.B.B. herself on my blog.

It is a fairly hot day, but not horrifically humid like yesterday.

I pigged out on the rašta sarama last night. Sorry all gone!


Gimme Shelter!

Gimme Shelter!
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag


We Still Like Medovaća but we decided to get out today....

Today is the last day of the Film Festival, so I am going to hang out, watch 'Kafa sa ... there's two today. Among other things that made me so annoyed with the S.O. was that I had to miss Sharon McGuire for him and then he would not stay when I'd made sarama od rašta, which isn't fun on a hot day. All that effort and I get to hear that he is going back to Croatia and doesn't have TIME to discuss things like my continued presence in this beautiful country... sorry, guys that is NOT how to keep a girlfriend, ANY girlfriend!

So tonight, they are showing 'Monsoon Wedding' on SATV and I plan to make popcorn, and drink Coke and watch. I love Indian films! Especially with weddings... I know, strange for someone who has broken up with someone but so be it.

One thing I want to say here about men and women. Women always get judged and corrected whatever goes wrong in a relationship. I have seldom heard of a MAN getting corrected, not by even his own mother. Men sorry, you are dear but many of you are spoiled. Not all of you, just many, and men should be corrected more often.

Every religion it seems like the rules are for the women. The men make the problems for the most part. Most of the bad stuff women do is in direct reaction to bad stuff men do, not always directly to that individual woman, it often is a societal issue.

I am glad I came here, I love BiH, it is a good country, with good people and I will be sorry to leave, b ut practically speaking I don't have a lot of choice. There are no real opportunities here for me, and there are not many for the good people who live here. If I could wave a magic wand for people here, I would wish everyone a decent job, and the chance to have a good life. Everyone, even the S.O.

I am not bitter with him, if we hadn't met I never would have come here and coming here just at this time in history has been very interesting, and an experience to think about for the rest of my life, but he really acted like a spoiled baby yesterday and I have no time for spoiled babies who have passed age 21! Being a spoiled baby is o.k. if you are 2 or 3 years old, it gets tiresome much later!

Will I ever see him again? I very much doubt it. He claimed that he plans to visit the gulag, and would like to see me if that happened. I told him not to count on it. 1. if I live there it will be far far from town, 2. What's the point, with me when it is over it is over. I told him don't expect to ever hear from me again either. I am going to get on with my life, what I have left.

While I am still here, I am going to go see stuff I didn't see yet, at least stuff I can get to easily.

I have to wait for that important piece of mail even to get out of here.

Friday, August 22, 2008


In Medovaća We Trust!

Certainly not God! That sod has been letting me down for years, and the latest was too much. Circumstances are such that I dumped the S.O. today. It was civilized. I learned a lot from being canned in the past from jobs I'd liked. I have been canned by experts! So after he left, I started eating the rašta sarama I had made for us both, and poured myself a good shot of medovaća. Basically he had his reasons for me not to move to his place. I can't given what has happened over the students afford to stay where I am. And there have been out of that very sweet guy far too many excuses. So I said, 'If you love someone you put them first, not dead last, FIRST! And you aren't doing that. I came all this way, and took some chances, you needed to take some chances too. You haven't.' So we played a civilized game of catch with the ring. He said 'keep it to remember me' So I said, 'Well I could need the money from selling it to go home. Thanks'
Then he left, I tore into the sarama and poured two stiff shots of medovaća.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Sarajevo Film Festival Continues

Tomorrow I have to miss out on th e 'Kafa sa...' I most want to see, the director of 'Briget Jone's Diary' is going to be the guest at 3 pm tomorrow, but the S.O. has been out of town a long time and returns tomorrow, so I have to stay home and make nice stuff to eat and catch up with what is going on with him.

Damage to his place in Croatia was why I had to stay here. This big storm earlier in the year messed stuff up.

So today I caught the press conference for a Turkish film that sounds very interesting, 'Dot', the press conference was in Bosnian and Turkish. I had a high opinion of the interpreter for this press conference. he did an excellent job! I walked into town today, and will use the bus going home ako Bog da, my ankle is not in wonderful shape. The highly important piece of mail simply hasn't shown up and I am really upset about it. This was insured and should have got here by yesterday! I sent an e-mail to the relative that sent it that it hasn't come and requested a tracking number so I can find out what is going on.

Anyway tomorrow I am going to stay home and make some rasta sarama. That stuff is good and I am sure the S.O. will like it.

It is very hot today in Sarajevo. I am not the only person who looks a bit damp! the people at the Cedavita booth have been very nice handing out free samples of their product. Cedavita is sort of the Bosnian equivalent of Koolaid, but it is marketed to adults as well as to kids! It isn't bad stuff. Podravka has a booth where they have samples of their pretzels, cookies and mini croisants, and cook books! Basically how to use Vegeta in other things than soup. I use a lot of Vegeta. Started off thinking it was only o.k. and now I am a mind-numbed Vegeta robot!

Today they are showing a few short American films and a few short Irish films. One film is about a guard from Long Kesh during the internment period. I never thought I'd see the day a film would be based on it and not be intended as propaganda for one side or the other!

I am waiting for one of the 'Kafa sa... ' series and after it will go home.

They actually SHOWED Euronews this morning. The Peking Olympics has been on T.V. at all kinds of weird times. and that has interupted Euronews.

Lucija Kimani came in 42nd in the Marathon and the other Bosnian runner came in at 43. I saw Lucija Kimani and her husband on T.V. before the start of the Olympics, and she is a very charming woman. Her husband is Bosnian, they met at a big race and had a long time before they could get married due to career concerns.

There are not a lot of Afro-Bosnians, in fact a black face on the street is an extreme rarity!

The plane crash in Madrid was the big news, it almost crowded out the crisis in Georgia and South Ossetia. Stuff there has been upsetting to watch. Again blood-shed in Europe, and an ineffectual response all around.

The festival has been good, certainly beats staying home and being hot! I can be hot here and be entertained and served the occasional free drink, not to mention benefit from some free internet access! Thanks IT Computers!



Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
To Kirk, purely for research purposes of course! ;). B.B.B. stands for 'Blonde Bosnian Babe! Not only is this young lady lovely, she is kind and helpful, she worked the IT Computers booth at the Sarajevo Film Festival.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


More Film Festival stuff...

So I went back for the ever popular 'Kafa sa..' feature, which had the creator of 'Walz with Bashir', Sorry to say I haven't seen the film, but I intend to it sounds fascinating, as a concept. The director Ari Folman (sic) speaks very good English, and so did the interviewer. Sometimes interviews have been in three or four languages, so you have consecutive interpretation, which is hard to follow, other times interviews are in Bosnian, for me 'nema problema' but today almost came as a relief.

Ari's film has as a very important part of the story, the Sabra and Shatilla massacres, when Israel invaded Lebanon. Ari was very puzzled by the lack of much political reaction in Israel to his fim, at least initially.

There were some excellent questions from the audience, mostly young students of film-making from here in Sarajevo. All in all, a very excellent 'Kafa sa...'

There will be pictures tomorrow. I don't want to abuse the hospitality of the nice people at IT Computers by doing uploads of film clips and pictures here, I probably COULD, but it would be rude!


Stuff that is getting me a little down..

On the whole I have been enjoying life in Sarajevo. It is a fascinating, beautiful city, but logistics if you are not a local can be a challenge. A fairly important piece of mail has not arrived, and it is a bit scary because it is something I need. My daughter took all the correct steps at her end, I trust where I had her send it, so the problem is a postal one, someone s post office is not doing what it is supposed to do! I have waited 2 weeks. There is a reason I try to avoid Snail Mail here and this would be a reason!

I only mention this for two reasons, I don t want anyone envying me too much for being here, and sometimes when I have mentioned a difficulty on this blog, some sort of solution has presented itself very quickly afterwards, there is some sort of positive thing that happens.

As to the beauty of the B.B.B.s from IT Computers, not only are they ALL lovely, they are all NICE! VERY nice in fact! The computer they are so kind as to let the puiblic try out is the latest Fujitsu. I have great fondness for the Fujitsu, my very first computer was a Fujitsu laptop purchased used from my son in law. They have only made a good item better, less wire to mess with, and it seems not to heat up much, LOVELY screen reolution, something which is important if you have poor eyesight.

There that Word From Our Sponsors Moment is behind us!

The Film Festival today includes Mirsad Purivatra, an important man here in the Festival, the city of Sarajevo, and the country of Bosnia and Hercegovina is going to recieve the Chevalier des Arts et Letres! Svaka Cast! Always nice to ses someone who deserves recognition getting it!

I am here fairly early.

Yesterday, I could hardly walk, I started out, the idea was to take the bus into town and back. Something I haven t done in awhile, part of my whole weight loss program, but I barely got to the corner and it is an even surfaced walk most of the way to the bus stop and realized crossing the road could be more difficult than usual. So I did the only sensible thing and turned back.

Today I am going to use the reliable Sarajevo public transit to get home. I rode the bus down. Sometimes if it is hot, it can be miserable to ride the bus. Thank God that it has been cooling off, a light wind can make all the difference. A lot of times, barring difficulties with my ankle, I am better off walking.


She gets a chair!

She gets a chair!
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
One reason to come to SFF is that if you are a star, you may end up with a nice comfy chair!


New building going up, older buiding next door.

New building going up, older buiding next door.
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
I pass this building pretty regularly, and thought you might want to see the contrast possible in almost any neighborhood in Sarajevo.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Sarajevo Film Festival, and now a word from our Sponsors!

Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
For other pix that we have made public, please click here, the internet is slow today over here, and I am trying to keep my cool! Not easy since it has been hot, but better than you would think because at least this place is FREE! Saoir! Bezplatno! Gratis! žž once I dope out what is going on with the keyboard.

I.T. computers of Sarajevo set this up and has it staffed with very gorgeous Bosnian Young Ladies, one of whom has a nose ring just like Drugarica Katjusa!


Up Against The Wall!

Up Against The Wall!
Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
This wall is on the way down the hill from my place, and I love the morning glories, b.t.w it is the blue kind people used to use to get high, do not try that at home kids!



Some days are just a little annoying... I think it may rain later, my ankle acted up on the walk down. I will have to bus back, no question of it. Also I was briefly on T.V. here, not the first time, I have been seen from behind on T.V. and numerous tourists have snapped my picture but actually full view of me, well that here is a first. I was in the audience for one of the interview deals with the Sarajevo Film Festival. My landlord's brother didn't see me but one of my friends here did, and anyway he was all, 'You might get selected to be in a film who knows!' I basically said, 'I am not that good looking, no one would even want me for an extra! :)!' Actually long ago in my mispent youth I was in a crowd scene. I looked a lot different, I was on the bus in one of the Star Trek films, the one that has a lot of San Francisco.
But anyone who didn't choose to get off that bus was in the picture. Punkers, old ladies, old guys, the Vampire dude,
Anyway, that was fun. The festival is fun. I will go hang around some more today and see what is up.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Sarajevo Film Festival,

Drugarica Katjuša is at the Sarajevo Film Festival, doing those things which are free to the public, which includes a brief use of this internet set-up! We will have pictures later, this set up doesn't include putting up pix, but that is fine, because we can check in and putting in pix will be cheaper than otherwise!

I witnessed an interview with the director of 'Kajmak', he is a very witty and interesting man, and it was enjoyable to watch. Not only that, anyone could come and watch if they were in Sarajevo! Most events to do with the Festival are at night obviously, and since I don't go out alone at night, that meant I was missing out on some of this stuff, so today the 'Week&nd' paper had information on the film festival, not just in Bosnian but in English, and I snagged a copy at the shop and came here.

This is a great festival, very comfortable, and nice and it is well covered on T.V. as far as events I can't attend. The festival is in my opinion a great asset for Sarajevo to publicise the city as a nice place to visit.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Another image from the Jewish Museum


Two examples of Bosnian Jewish traditional attire.


The Jewish Museum

Jewish Museum, Sarajevo

I finally figured out where the Jewish Museum was, sometimes fairly obvious things are not all t hat clear!

Anyway, it is next to Novi Hram, which is easy to get to from Baščaršija, VERY easy!, but the entrance to smaller museums here can be a puzzle. Sometimes a discreetly semi opened door leading into a courtyard is the only clue! Then a small sign,

You go in, and t here is a wonderful courtyard, and then a small little place where a man who is in charge takes your money, gives you a ticket.

This man speaks very good English, and has the knack of spotting people who might have English as a first language.

The museum is a good overview of the history of Jews in Bosnia-Hercegovina. The community of Jewish people here is in fact older than the arrival of the Sephardic Jews, as Jews where here even in Roman times, maybe not specifically in Sarajevo, but in other places. Still it was a small group even after the arrival of the Sephardic Jews. Few are left here sadly.

The top floor is devoted to the Holocaust. Somehow to see things that belonged to people who perished, and who survived, is very emotional. I don't think you have to be a Jew to react emotionally to it.

The museum has only one problem, I don't do well with stairs sometimes. Stairs where I can see the floor below, or the ground, however well made are hard on me. I had to fight a phobic reaction going up, and a worse one going down! Solid stairs don't bother me quite as much. I am not sure if they have an elevator, if they do it doesn't go to all floors! I wished very much for one! Still if you can do stairs at all, this museum is well worth seeing!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Sarajevo Film Festival

Originally uploaded by Yakima_gulag
The Sarajevo Film Festival starts tomorrow, and these flags are up by the National Theatre. There is fuzzy green astro turf like stuff on the sidewalks in the near vicinity and the sidewalks are now almost wide enough to walk on, in some cases they ARE wide enough to walk on!


Thanks Skelly!

Anything to do with cakes, I notice, and this is priceless! I notice cakes because my daughter is a trained proffesional and makes the most marvelous cakes, but she likes outrageous cakes too! So do I!


Mladić said to be in negotiations about surrender

The rumor, probably about as good as the Usual products of the Rumor Mill, was reported on FTV, and OBN info that Mladić is supposed to be in negotiations about surrendering. Of course we have heard and read similar rumors in the past. . . So take it with the requisite grains of salt!

If they even know enough about where he is in the first damned place, what is up with negotiating ANYTHING ANYWAY? Who says the guy deserves better than the whole Alien Anal Probe treatment?

Sometimes I feel like as a kid if I say ate the last ice-cream before asking, or got in a fight at school, I was in more trouble than any of the guys that started the war get for far worse things and I have a probem with that.

When people are responsible for mass destruction, death and misery and the long term economic, social, political destruction of a whole region, there should be no negotiation about anything.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Cheap Bling

O.K. today I am going to be totally trivial minded and petty. (So sue me! as people so charmingly say in America)

I was watching coverage of the terrible crisis in Georgia, to me it looks like Putin and Medvedjev want to take back parts of the former USSR. It is ugly and I have been seeing stuff that upsets me on the news. God I hate war! I hate it worse every year, and feel worse for the civilians who get stuck in wars every year.

Now to my totally petty moment...

I had to take a class on what to wear in an office back at the Yakima Gulag People's Institute of Higher Re-Education, and there are things you can and cannot do in an office in terms of w omen's attire. Some of those rules I don't follow and never will on grounds that they violate my beliefs, but some I do agree with, on the grounds of vulgar levels of display are never a good thing!

The White House Spokeswoman, had a dress that was fine for evening wear, very lovely black dress, not Too Sexy, not Too Un-Sexy, perfect for some sort of evening do, nice hair, ok she was speaking from China, she's with President Bush's staff there I guess. Anyway, she spoiled the whole thing with this Incredible bit of Geto Bling! It was a chain, and that chain was big enough to hold a bicycle! Seriously. Now I have nothing against big pieces if they are pretty enough, this WASN'T.

I would have LOVED to hear one of my instructors get loose on her jewelry. I don't care if it was only one piece. It was too big, and she is an attractive woman. She did not need to wear something that big to be noticed.

The other petty moment is that Britany Spears has come out for McCain. Good, shows her bad taste as far as I am concerned. Just proves what I have been saying about Trailer Trash Republicans all these years.

Some friends of mine here in Sarajevo, one American and a Ukranian have opened a lovely new store, I suggest it as a place to shop for jewelry, it's not cheap, but for what you get it is not expensive either, and they have a place to sit and have a coffee, it's peaceful. It's off Obala Kulin Ban in Baščaršija.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Vandalism of Bosnian Archeological Sites

Not too far from Visoko, once capitol of medieval Bosnia, not too far from the Pyramid place either, there was a castle built by the earlier kings of Bosnia. The National Museum has had a dig site there for some time. Among the remarkable things there is a cistern that is glass lined, that is to say it was before vandals did something about it. Glass in that era was an expensive item. Keeping a good castle meant you had a well or two if possible and always there were cisterns. Usually the cisterns were not lined with glass. This may have been the only such cistern in BiH.

The article was actually in Friday's Oslobodjenje. I didn't finish reading everthing until yesterday.

Sites here really need guards. The worst thing was the police reaction, or should I say NON-reaction! Maybe a pile of stones dating to the Middle Ages isn't diamonds or a drug bust, or even a war criminal who should be caught, but such places are national treasures, if only because foreigners may wish to come see them sometime or other, and if only because it is historical record, historical information, which is as irreplacable as a book, or a painting.

There is for someone who comes from the United States a special thrill in seeing old castles, precisely because in America we don't HAVE castles! I realize the thrill might not be the same for a European, but Americans pay good money to see castles if they are available. Ask anyone in England, France, Germany, (home of WONDERFUL castles!) or for that matter, Wales, Ireland or Scotland. I have paid to get into castles some of my ancestors would have liked to escape from at any price, just to say I was there! I have also paid to see castles that belonged to ancestors of mine, to see if the place was being kept up....
In short they are valuable for tourism, which here is a growth industry.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


The Passing of Another Great Writer: Mahmud Darwiš

This morning I was very sad to see on Euronews that the great Palestinian writer Mahmoud Darwiš passed. He was a great friend of Bosnia Hercegovina, and a great writer. I felt like crying when I heard that news. He died in Texas, and his body is being shipped home for burial.

I did come out today, because I was stuck at home a couple days, partly due to weather, and partly due to my ankle. It wasn't bad, but I knew better than to attempt a long walk. The same storm that blew in night before last and gave Sarajevo a bit of excitement, killed two in Zenica, and downed trees all over the town, and also hit hard in Croatia, both the North AND Dalmacija. It was seriously nasty.

My landlord and landlady were running around taking in lawn furniture, saying good bye to guests, and so forth in that horrible rain. Speaking of my landlady, this morning when I went out, there was a gift for me, some home made Bosnian sweets and a chocolate bar! That was so kind of her!

They have been doing repairs upstairs where the English family lived, water was getting in the walls, and they want to fix that before getting new tenants.

I met a German from Saxony at the shop, he settled here on his military pension, EXACTLY as his Saxon forefathers did in Roman times in England! He married a Bosnian lady, he is learning Bosnian, speaks some English and I thought, it would be fun to have them over sometime. The S.O. loved working in Germany, and speaks very good German. This German guy is very fond of Bosnia and his life here.

That was nice, I gave him my number. So hopefully he'll call sometime soon and the S.O. and I can organize a small dinner party, a chili tasting or something! :)

The Olympics are on pretty much all the time, in fact BHT1, FTV and RTRS all have more coverage than neighboring Croatia's HRT1. It has been interesting seeing bits and pieces of the games.

I loved the opening ceremonies, it was like something out of 'Star Wars'! The fireworks were excellent. It was interesting seeing all the athletes parade in and looking for BiH, for Croatia, for Ireland, and the U.K. and the U.S.

I dislike the design of the so called 'Bird's Nest' it's too aggressively modern for me, but lit up it looks cool at night.

It is cooler the last couple days thank God!

Friday, August 08, 2008


Hot and humid again

So the new court date for Karadžić is the 29th.

It was very rainy last night. This did not stop my neighbors from being out almost until midnight. They are doing repairs upstairs. It can get a bit noisy.

Last night on the news they said a kid in summer camp got infectious hepatitis. That is never a good thing.

As well, like other countries near by there have been forest fires, in Bosnia, on the border with Croatia. These fires have been hard to get under control too.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


The Passing of a Very Important Zek

Solženitsijn passed over the weekend, and is being buried today. I cannot say I agree with every single word the man wrote, or liked that he got so close to Putin, but, that aside, he was a good man, and the world lost something when he passed. I always used to have two copies of 'The Gulag Archipelago' in my home, one to lend people, and one for my own reference.

He was a brave and good man and will be missed.

It has been very hot, and therefore not a lot of fun to go out and the landlady and landlord have had workmen in to work on the place upstairs. Huge amounts of odds and ends were by the trash container this morning, and great hunks of wall were in the upstairs driveway.

I decided to record some of the noise to use as a ring-tone. I will assign it to people who annoy me!

I have been doing a lot of walking, when my ankle isn't bothering me, and I have lost some serious weight. That is a good thing. Today it might rain, I just about hope it does.

While I was coming down here today, I saw a vehicle belonging to the Piramid Sunce Foundation, YES THAT Piramid Sunce! So Osmanagić is hanging around someplace close by! Ha!

Day before yesterday was terribly hot, and walking home, I passed one of the many small mosques, this one is near where I live. A group of men were getting ready for prayers, so I sort of hung back, wanting not to intrude when they had to get ready to pray. One guy who plainly had been drinking had stopped to wash himself and get a drink, and he could see I was too hot and thirsty, so he urged me forward to get water. I think they all wanted to invite me into the mosque, but not being Muslim, I thought, maybe I shouldn't. So I thanked them and said I needed to get home.

It was nice to get home and have some bean soup and some corn bread.

Speaking of bread, I went to the shop to visit with one of the ladies who works there. The boss came in, and he treated me to a chicken sandwich, which was delicious, as it was made with half rye bread. A Russian girl came in, and bought some things. She had an Italian husband who wanted to see Sarajevo, so the whole clan piled into the car and went from Milan up to Trieste, and then drove south until they got here. She had not wanted to come and frankly had not had a wonderful trip. She said though that she did like Sarajevo. She was gorgeous. She managed to get a discount from the real boss on account of being both Russian and beautiful.

Karadžić has a new court date, the 29th of August. Plavšić has declined to testify.
There have been rumors that in fact Mladić finked off Karadžić in hopes of making things easier on himself. Other rumors about Mladić include that he is living in a Tito era bunker, and is desperately ill. Desperately ill would not surprise me. (Perhaps he was drinking Snake Oil, that or Kikapu Joy Juice!)
The E.U. has told Serbia that they have to arrest Mladić if they want into the E.U.

The bad situation of the American economy is still big news here. I hope that Obama wins by a landslide, if only because EVERY Republican administration has been a disaster for me.

Monday, August 04, 2008


Dubioza Kolective censored

Dubioz Kolective are a fantastic group, even if they are rap.. I especially like 'Šuti i trpi'. 'Šuti i trpi' however got them shut out of the Gorazda festival, which is going on now. I was sad to hear it, but not awfully surprised as a number of important people here got skewered in the song, the mayor of Sarajevo, the head of the Kanton, and other important politicians here. The First Amendment is an American concept that I really love. I miss it!

Kultur Shock is going to be in Dubrovnik, but odds are I can't go. Too bad there are no such things as daytime gigs for bands in places people like me could get to!

Then to comment on Mostar Sevdah Reunion's latest concert on T.V. I used to really love that group, but it sounded like they were all exceptionally tired. The concert I heard before was EXCELLENT, this one was kind of blah! meh! I felt sad about them not being as zippy as before.

My friend the newspaper seller got on T.V. again. I told her she's gone all Hollywood on us! She is a very neat lady, you can see her at the absolute begining of Dino and Hari's 'Daboda' which was put up here before, or as I often do, right in front of the Gradska Tržniste.

I have had problems with my ankle so I have been going rather easy to give it a chance to mend really.


Thanks for the corrections!

First thanks to Andras and Owen for the corrections, I had thought that the judge was a very upercrust Englishman! He sure sounds like one.

He is a good sensible man, and I am glad he is in charge at least so far.

It is very hot, but in the afternoons there have been some almighty thunderstorms, and that affects my ankle, I decided to take the weekend and really rest it, and that was wise, it is a good deal better.

I am keeping to very even sidewalks as much as I can, and avoiding stairway type shortcuts. There are sometimes some very persistant Roma on those stairways. I have gotten really good at saying 'Žao mije, stvarno nema, izvini!' and moving on quickly. The biggest proof I am not myself Roma is how often they try to get money from me! :)

Fuel costs actually went down a couple pfenig, which was even if a small reduction, welcome news to anyone here that drives.

I don't drive, but the last big increases in price brought taxi fares way up, and that means I shop WAAY closer to home, because it would get to be too much otherwise.

I like being home when the thunder rolls in, and just taking it easy.
I don't even watch T.V. if it thunders, because it might hurt the T.V., I don't know how they are fixed for surge protection in my building.

Friday, August 01, 2008


Karadžić in court

I would have been with everyone a bit more, but my ankle was acting up. Yesterday I tried to leave the flat, and got about a block away, and my ankle was hurting a little, so I turned back rather than go any further. It isn't wise to push oneself in those circumstances....
That meant I watched the entire first appearance at The Hague.
Karadžić looked tired, but he said his health was perfect. He also accused Holbrook of trying to kill him, and had lots to say about the alleged irregularities of his arrest. Funny how tyrants turn into avid civil libertarians!
He had far more due process than anyone in Srebenica!
I could see that the judge is one of those very cultured English people, a very decent man. I hope he knows how to get respect!
It was an interesting thing to watch.
Tuesday, the demonstrations against Karadžić being sent to The Hague started off peaceful. My personal favorite was the Serbian bagpipe player that showed up, actually a bunch of them did, and the combination of bagpipes and car-horns was SOMETHING! Glad I wasn't there!
Later demonstrations got ugly...something like 47 people were injured, of whom 26 were police. Given how riot police in this part of the world suit up, that is a high number!
Film of this was shown last night. Again, glad I was nowhere near the place!
The news last night also had that there were two mass graves found which had Serbian war victims.
And in a piece of good news, The authorities in the HNK area got a portable incinerator to use on sheep that had to be euthanised or that died of brucellosis. They showed this ultra-efficient little machine at work.
Much better than risking the water table by burying the dead animals, and in HNK the brucellosis situation is under control. This has been very serious. People can get brucellosis, so can all sorts of animals. Having pits to bury dead animals is a totally inadequate measure. Still must admit the machine creeped me out!

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