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

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Guca, Day 5

This is the last day of the festival and frankly, I'm pretty happy about that. Overall, this has been an unbelievable experience, likely the most fun I've ever had, but I'm really eager to move on to Greece and see my family.

Also, I'm didn't have as fun a time last night as I had the previous three nights. The village is now overcrowded to the point where it takes half an hour to walk down one street. It is literally shoulder to shoulder out there, with barely any room to dance. This makes it impossible to meet people on the street. I spent half of last night looking for people I had met during my first two nights here, but it proved basically impossible. I eventually met four Polish people who were absolutely lovely, but I'm incredibly disappointed that I didn't run into the two Austrians, two Australians and two Brits who I previously partied with. We hadn't yet exchanged emails and now never will because they left for Belgrade this morning. My other problem with having this many people around is all the garbage it creates. There are hundreds of temporary rubbish bins around Guca, but a thousand more are probably required. By 3 PM, there are greats heaps of rubbish piling the streets: beer bottles, beer cans, various food wrappers, etc. By midnight, the village is absolutely filthy. Honestly, the true heroes of Guca, in addition to the families who open up their houses to visitors, are the people who clean the place in the middle of the night. At 9 AM, when the party is in full swing again, Guca is actually clean.

I also think the tone of the party has changed. It's still a drunken piss-up with crazy music playing at all times, but now it's a Serbian nationalist drunken piss-up with crazy music playing at all times. There were always people wandering around with Mladic or Karadzic t-shirts and shouting nationalist slogans, but during the first three days there were also people sporting Zoran Djindic t-shirts. It seems like all the Serbs who have poured into the village starting Friday afternoon are all ultra-nationalists from either Republika Srpska or southern Serbia (notorious nationalist heartlands). Honestly, I could care less if people want to be ultra-nationalists, and I think I'm a lot more tolerant and understanding of Serbian nationalist than most people. Plus, Guca is first and foremost a festival run by Serbs for Serbs, so they can express themselves however they please. But it can be very uncomfortable for foreigners, or Serbs who aren't ultra-nationalists, it just kills the party vibe for them. For example: I was chatting and drinking with a bunch of Serbs near the town centre, and having a great time. I was dancing and shouting. Before I knew it, half the people around had Karadzic posters and were shouting slogans which I presume meant something like "Karadzic is a hero." What am I supposed to do in a situation like that? I'm certainly not going to start waving around a Karadzic poster. So I left. This wasn't the only such situation either.

So it's time to leave. I'm slated to go back Belgrade tomorrow, and from there I jump on a Thessaloniki-bound overnight train that goes via Macedonia. That's pretty exciting. But first there are more brass bands to dig! The finals of the competition are today at 3 PM in the stadium, after which there's a big street party with the winning band. Should be fun.


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