To pick up where I left off:
Our hotel rooms aren’t provided with kitchens, meaning that we can’t cook the vegetables they sell here in the market. I’ve been substituting that with a ton of bananas and peaches, which are cheap and delicious, but our usual fare is any one of the millions of different Bosnian breads and pastries, which are even cheaper. (Bosnian bread is fantastic, by the way, in a very different way than French bread, for example, is fantastic).
I can get this potato pita for 0.5 km, the equivalent of about thirty cents.
And it’s wonderful. I love pita. They come in potato varieties, spinach and cheese varieties (I like those best), plain cheese varieties, or meat varieties, which are known as burek. Normally they’re much larger than this, but this little store at the bottom of the university building sells mini-ones that I love.
On Friday morning, however, faced with the cold and gloom, Drea, Frank, and I went in search for something more healthy, stopping for breakfast at this cafe. Suffice to say, we found what we were looking for (though Daddy’s breakfasts are still so much better).
Complete with sunny-side up eggs, Earl Grey tea, and a nice choice of restaurant decor.
Actually I’m still baffled that this was a “good” choice in interior design (it’s not old pieces of wall, either, it’s manufactured plastic siding that runs across large swaths of the restaurant).
We also found a fantastic coffee shop called “Meeting Point.” It’s the only slightly “American” coffee shop in the city, meaning that we can sit down, connect to wifi, do work for hours and drink multiple cups of coffee, without feeling judged. Coffee culture in Bosnia is very important, and as my Language teacher described to me, “Accepting an offer and having coffee with someone in Bosnia is a promise that you’ll be honest with them, that they can trust you, and that a relationship has been formed.” Similar to Greg Mortenson’s description of the third cup of tea in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan in Three Cups of Tea, it’s a symbolic process that verges on a researchable ritual (forgive me, Dr. Starrett, if I crossed a ritual boundary there).
But American culture taught me the beauty of a coffee culture that’s exactly the opposite- give me my venti latte, my earphones, my work, and let me sit all by my lonesome in my isolated world where I don’t have to promise anyone honesty or a relationship, and let me get my work done.
There’s a time and a place for each, and Meeting Point is a bridge here in Bosnia between the two (the bartender already knows our “usual” for morning and afternoon).
Afterwards, the three of us headed to what I can only label as a “wok bar,” a literal hole-in-the-wall where you choose your protein, your base, and your vegetables. I got every vegetable they had plus onions, no protein, and rice, while Drea got veal and veggies on rice and Frank got veal and veggies with penne.
The wall was quite awesome, so we took the opportunity for photos, because I’m always searching for what I endearingly label “blog fodder.”
Our “Be an Asian Tourist” pose (all in good fun, though really, the Chinese government has begun a campaign for its people to be better tourists after a few notorious incidents, including a Chinese boy scratching his name into an Egyptian pyramid, and Drea’s story of Chinese tourists posing, smiling, and selfie-sticking during her visit to Auschwitz).
And of course I used our time after class to introduce the others to the hot chocolate bar, where I ordered milk-chocolate-coconut.
Here’s a preview of my next post, where I’ve found perhaps my favorite place in all of Sarajevo, though these stairs are about a foot and a half wide and so steep they’re almost impossible to climb.