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Monday, May 9, 2011

A PLETHORA OF LITTLE THINGS

SUNDAYS

Sundays pretty well suck in Europe. Most things are closed on them - and half of Saturday. In addition, like today (Monday), Sunday was rainy. So I sat around watching movies on the computer, drinking rum and smoking. I think that's what Hemingway did too. Well, aside from the computer part.

Plus, my feet were hurting pretty bad. I think I had a blister on one. I'm very proud of it. It shows me that I am walking a lot. Hence, deserving of the rum. And cigarettes. I am becoming more healthy. Kind of.

The people in the next room were talking to Mirza (the main man at the hotel) and getting him to switch their room. The reason they were giving was that the light is insufficient. No mention of being next door to a snorer with paper thin walls was made. Perhaps because I was sitting there when they were talking to him. I am thinking I don't believe them on the whole light issue but whatever.



SCAMS

The scams in Sarajevo seem to be very small ones - one BAM here, one there type of thing. Apparently, that is a comfortable level of graft. For example, yesterday, I went out to get something quick to eat from a restaurant. I selected a picture off of the sign that had the price marked at 5 BAM. The guy wanted to charge me 6 BAM. I was a little drunk and my feet hurt so I just kept saying "But the sign says 5 BAM" until the proprietor got frustrated and said "It's OK" and dismissed me from his shop.

Although in America that would be called 'false advertising' and is illegal, I'm really not sure what is illegal here. I'm trying to just stick with common sense and negotiating beforehand like with cabs.

The cab rates here seem pretty reasonable. The cab rates are the same whether it is just you or a group of people. Taking the cabs in Sarajevo is no problem at all.



EXPAT

Mirza's definition of expat: "Refugees with a choice."



SHOPPING

Mirza is still trying to reach the dentist we were going to visit today but apparently the light rain has made them give up going to the office. I'm not kidding. This sort of thing seems to be pretty common here for the self employed - if you don't feel like going to work, don't. It's not as bad as it was in Egypt 25 years ago but it is still frustrating for American's who are expected to show up to work even if the driving conditions can best be described as 'suicidal'.

Mirza did take me to go buy some socks, underwear (1 BAM per set of socks, 4 BAM per underwear - all are weird and look very thin and cheap). He also took me to the government run pharmacy to get refills of my medicine. You don't need a doctor's prescription here for it. One month's supply of six different medicines - 137 BAM. That's about $91 for all of them. To put it in perspective, without insurance, I could have gotten maybe one or two of them. Quite a deal - and best yet I didn't have to go to the doctor.

I think Mirza is the gem of this city. Even if you decide not to stay at the hostel he works at, I'd recommend going to visit it and meet him. See if you can hire him as a tour guide or something on the weekends. Like all of the other Bosnian's I've spoken to, he works hellish hours during the week.



A STREETCAR NAMED WHAT?

Mirza told me that apparently all of the streetcar stop names had been taken down during the war. Over a decade ago. And not been put back up. Maybe, he said, they will be back up in another 20 years. Egad.



BIGGEST BOSS

They have a lot of different bosses here in Sarajevo. I talked to a guy who is apparently the boss of bosses for the area I'm staying at. He owns a lot of different businesses here. Among other things, he told me that Sarajevo was founded back in 1462 and he gave me a good quote on the current government:

"The only thing the government agrees on is that they must steal some money."

Nice.



PANSION SEBILJ:

Obala Kulina baba between Careve cuprija and Novi most (at the Miljacka riverside), [29]. Most of the staff speaks English somewhat fluently. An internet-cafe is downstairs in the same house, a restaurant in the atrium. The restaurants in the Old Town, groceries and a pharmacy are all in walking distance. Good things: Location, friendly staff, hot water, clean. Bad things: No internet, walls are paper thin - you can hear someone cough (or scream) in the next room easily as well as the loud music from downstairs until about midnight, uncomfortable slat beds. Unisex showers (only 2) and bathroom. No way to lock bathroom or shower area when inside. No laundry service, no kitchen. No lockers for gear. €15/person/night.

This is the article on it from Travelwiki as they seem to like changing it back to 'pre-Logan'. If they want to keep doing that, fuck them, they get no more user contributions from me.

The above review is truthful if not especially complementary. Truly the best thing about that place is Mirza. It would suck if he wasn't there.




TRAVELER'S TIP

If you have special brands of undergarments you like (underwear, socks, etc) pack extra because that brand will not be available overseas. Also, socks and underwear determine when you are forced to do laundry.

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia | Michigan | Illinois |

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