On Friday Merima, Arnela, and I went to ciglane, or the equivalent of the flea market. Here you can get things for much cheaper than in town, if you need something- everything from shoes and purses to walnuts and apricots. First though, in desperate need of vegetables, we got lunch. Though this was comparatively expensive for Bosnia, it wasn’t so bad in American dollars and for the satisfaction it gave us, was well worth it.
(This is coconut gelato and it doesn’t count because anytime is gelato time)
The tram system here operates using a mix of newer trams and Communist-era trams (I’d say Soviet-era, but it must be remembered the former Yugoslavia was never in fact part of the U.S.S.R.). Basically there is one giant loop in the middle of the city going from the old library at the “end” of Sarajevo to Iliza, a smaller city-town at the other end. The entire route one way probably takes about an hour, but I sometimes imagine myself, sitting on a cloud looking over the tram system here in its simplicity, and see a modern, adult clown-car carnival ride that constantly repeats its circuit, 50 km for a monthly pass. Not bad for a carnival ride- 1920’s Suza March not included.
Eventually we got to the train station, where you can take a train daily to anywhere in Europe and beyond. Arnela took us the back way to ciglane, which allowed at least for an insider’s view to the city.
We went through the train station into a dark graffiti-ed underground tunnel that was invitingly cool.
We headed up a side tunnel that led us to the other side of the train tracks. As you get farther from the city, the more un-fixed war damage you come across. I had been saying that this tunnel would be a great place to hide from sniper fire, until we walked up the steps and were greeted by this.
I changed my mind.
We walked along the tracks for a bit.
Up a huge hill, and to a tunnel, which we had to walk through on an extremely narrow sidewalk with cars barreling at us from either direction.
We crossed a bridge, and ciglane was to our right. To our left, a graveyard.
I feel claustrophobic in places with large amounts of manufactured goods- Burlington Coat Factory is the bane of my existence, I can barely handle IKEA, and I don’t love large department stores (in malls I only like shopping at smaller stores that have minimalist, or at least very organized, aesthetics)- s0 I didn’t get pictures of the hordes of stuff here. Fake Louboutins, shelves of false Michael Kors, piles of things. Highly useful if you know what you’re looking for, and incredibly overwhelming if you’re just browsing (we knew what we were looking for).
I did get pictures of food, however, because I have never found myself in a situation where I felt overwhelmed by food.
They also sell flowers- in part for regular occasions, like birthdays or anniversaries or what have you- but also to place on the graves, if you don’t have live plants already in them.
Friday night we all went and watched the Bosnia vs. Israel game. The US Embassy sent out an email warning of potential violence in regards to this game (Eastern Europe has a notoriety for football violence, which my friend Maggie actually studies). People here and in the region do not like Israel (I saw a Palestinian motorcade driving by the other day), like most international sentiment, and this game was pretty important. They held it in a nearby city but the team was housed in Sarajevo. We were unable to get tickets, but I have a guess that they hosted it in a smaller city and a smaller stadium, even though demand for tickets would intuitively indicate that they’d use the Sarajevan Olympic Stadium, for easier control and isolation of potential violence.
Anyway, we seated ourselves nicely at one of our favorite places, where they had erected large screens for everyone to watch- and it was packed.
Arnela and I tried for that whole “cross-arms-and-drink-wine” thing, and this was the result:
Then I dropped my camera and Merima’s reaction is apt. (It was like six inches and it’s fine, clearly).
They sang the national anthem, which here doesn’t have any words because they can’t decide which language it should be in (even though they literally sound the same).
But we can all take a moment of silence for this guy, who will probably never read this blog.
After a great game, Bosnia won, and Merima was more than happy about the outcome.
Don’t be fooled, though, she’s always smiling and laughing like this 🙂
Our favorite bartender/waiter, who does read this blog.
The next day we went to Skakovac falls, and I’ll leave you a teaser with this, the first picture on my camera from the day (it’s all this beautiful).