This is a blog about my travels. My "regular" life is much too boring to bother blogging about.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Belgrade Day 2

My luggage is still AWOL. I called Air France at 1:30 and confirmed that my bags had indeed made it to Belgrade (whooo hooo!). The delivery guy was currently out distributing other people's lost bags (there's one guy employed by Nikola Tesla airport to deliver almost every airline's lost luggage, JAT has their own I think) but my bag was slated for the next load. He estimated the wait at 2 or 3 hours... and 6 hours later I'm still waiting. *Sigh* I called them back an hour ago and they confirmed that my bag had left the airport, so I guess that's progress. $10 says alcohol is involved some way.

Here's the thing: I am in dire need of fresh clothes because I went out last night and sweated and basically made my current clothes unfit for further use. I wasn't planning on going anywhere, but I met a girl from Montreal who convinced me to go to some club with her and some other random hostel people. Here is a transcript of our conversation.

Girl From Montreal: hey, what are you doing tonight?
TG: Nothing.
GFM: You should come partying with us.

As you can see, it was a tough sell. So out we went into Belgrade's vaunted nightlife. I can confirm that everything I'd heard about this city and its nocturnal partying seems to be accurate: Belgrade is indeed a rollicking good time. This city jumps, and large swathes of it are open 24 hours a day. I've so far seen 24 hour a day restaurants, bars, internet cafes, pharmacies, supermarkets, and, coolest of all, a 24 hour bakery, ideal for getting a greasy slice of burek at 3:30 AM. Last night we went to the Sava River, where there are a series of floating clubs on the river. Floating clubs sound kind of gimmicky and lame, or at least they do to me, but there is actually quite a useful utilitarian reason for their existence: being in the middle of a river means that floating clubs can make as much noise and stay open as late as they desire as they aren't located in anything approaching a residential district. There were about 10 clubs in a row on the river, and from what I understand there are more moored on the Danube a few minutes walk away. The first one we went to was completely dead, while the other had a lineup outside. I of course befriended every Serb who cared to talk to me. There is a difference in how I introduce myself to Serbs, and how I introduced myself in Mozambique any pretty much everywhere else I've visited:

Mozambique: "Hi, my name is Terry. I am from Canada."
Serbia: "Hi, my name is Terry. I am Greek."

Being Greek means something here, Greeks and Serbs are very good friends. Part of that is history (similar histories of Turkish occupation, and we tagged with the Serbs during the Balkan Wars against first the Turks and then the Bulgarians), part of it is sharing a common religion (Orthodoxy) and part of it is contemporary politics: Greece opposed the NATO bombing strikes on Serbia, getting themselves into a bit of trouble with their NATO allies along the way, and have generally stuck up for Serbia in every conceivable way in the past 10 years (example: Greece will recognize Kosovo's independence when hell freezes over). So being Greek matters here; announcing myself as such generally meant someone either hugging me or buying me a shot of slivovice (Serbian plum brandy/firewater that I think I will be referencing multiple times in this space). Sometimes both. I even met a Serb who spoke Greek, he evidently lived in Greece eight years ago. As per usual, my Greek is pretty damn good with a belly full of slivovice.

So you can imagine how my night went: pretty wildly, once we moved to the club that was packed. I never received an explanation why the other one was dead, unless "because people are here instead" counts as a reason. It ended with me dancing on a table, hugging random Serbs and saying phrases in Serbian that random people had scribbled on a piece of paper (somewhere, Matt Voytilla is reading this and laughing). I think I am friends with half of Belgrade now. I went to a 24 hour fast food place at 3:15 AM or so (the party continued on the river until God knows when), made friends with the dude tending shop, and he made me some crazy food, like chicken stuffed with sausage and other stuff then shoved into a bun. It was heavenly.

And now I anxiously await my clothes...


Post a Comment

<< Home