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

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Guca, Day 4

I'm still alive!

Things just get more and more insane. People have poured into the city in the last 24 hours as week has turned to weekend. And it's not just people looking for a party either, every street hawker, panhandler, war amputee, swindler, crook and pickpocket has arrived as well. I've seen the strangest things for sale. Ever needed one of those long wire thingies to snake out your drain? You can get them from three different people in Guca. How about a vintage Bosnian Serb army uniform? Ditto. One guy was selling chainsaws. I'm pretty sure chainsaws are the last thing you should be selling to drunk people.

The Boban Markovic concert last night was a level of crazy that I've never seen before. I have no idea how many people were in the stadium last night, I tend to be very bad at estimating these things. There could have been 20 000, 50 000 or even 100 000. Either way, it was a sea of humanity. You could tell the Serbs from the foreigners because the Serbs were so drunk they could barely stand. Foreigners were a little more stable on their feet. People were passing around bottles of booze and were throwing entire cups of beer into the air. By the end of the concert pretty much everyone was soaked. Toward the end, an Italian dude (acting like he was just released from jail) dumped an entire cup of beer on my head. Everyone was dancing like maniacs and shouting. Towards the back of the stadium, where there was more room, people were just running around in circles and hurling themselves into the grass. I've never seen people hard so hard in my life.

And the music was unbelievable. A number of foreign bands opened for Boban Markovic. The best of the lot was from Reims, France, composed exclusively of either doctors or medical students. They ran around the stage like maniacs and yodelled into a microphone. There was also a school band type of outfit from Poland. They even had cheerleaders. They were all 10 years old and were scary good musicians for being so young. Then, finally, Boban Markovic took the stage at about midnight. I forgot to take note of how many people were in his hand, but it was something like this: Boban and his son Marko on trumpet, one guy on bass drum, one guy with snare drums, three French horns, two tubas, and perhaps a trombone. Not sure about the trombone. They were amazing. Most of the bands around town play one of two kinds of song: either fast and loud, or slow Serbian singalong folk songs. Boban and his band played everything, including a lot of mid-tempo stuff in strange time signatures with long, intricate trumpet solos that the drunken crowd didn't know how to dance to. They were clearly better than every other band in this village. Every note they played was crisp, clean and clear. This was particularly impressive when they were playing fast - even at 250 beats per minute, every note played was crisp and precise. Boban Markovic is still the band leader, but the main trumpet is now his son Marko, who I think is only 20 years old. He is already better than his father. I have never seen or heard a better technical trumpet player than Marko Markovic, and I doubt I ever will. He can play anything, at any speed, in any style. And he can also scat in Serbian! The band played for about 2 hours. With half an hour left, there was a loud screech, and then silence. It looked like the band had busted an amp or a speaker or something. I didn't see any technicians anywhere and I wondered if they were as drunk and everyone else. Some people in the crowd started to boo and throw beer cans in the direction of the sound engineers, but then suddenly the music started again. It turned out only to be a power surge and thank god, because I'm pretty sure there would have been a riot if the concert had to stop prematurely.

And today - more of the same! There is a parade through the streets of Guca today with all the bands involved in the competition playing and hundreds of thousands of people drinking and dancing. It is going to be insane. Before that, at 3:00, I am having lunch with my family again. They are roasting a pig in their guests honour. We'll see if the pig is enough food for everyone. They have accepted more and more guests as the week has gone on. In addition to over 10 people sleeping in their house, they now have about 20 people, mostly French, sleeping on their lawn in tents or, in the case of one guy, sleeping on the grass wrapped in a tarp. But the food will almost certainly be amazing. Yesterday I had lunch with my family as well, we had a stew of cabbage and pork which is evidently common at Serbian weddings. It was delicious.

This rules.


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