A few subjective visible things that you are more or less on Balkans

1)      Cables  & wires –

The first thing witch you probably will notice in Romania as well as in the other countries on Balkans, there are cables, a huge numbers of cables! There are everywhere. Among and across the streets. Tens or loose hanging over your had. Sometimes even it looks as they create a cable roof of invisible big house.

Trust me I’m an engineer!

In the past they were full of live. They used to connected people by phone talking, TV and Internet network. They were very “busy” sanding information, electricity, sounds and images from the world. But know, usually they are moving on the wind empty and sadly, thinking about good old days.

2)      Coffee time –  

small cup of hot, very strong coffee + big glass of cold water = devil’s connection. It’s the most popular view in open air coffee bars across the Balkans Peninsula. In Romania you have small mutation of it. In every corner, in almost all shops (doesn’t matter – food shop, clothes shop or even bookshop), on petrol station, bus and train stations as well – there are coffee machines. You can get very cheep instant coffee in every time of day and night.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s very easy to be addict to coffee here!

3) Cosmic blocs –

expect many commons bad things in post-comunism countries, one is funny (when you of course look only at the surface without going behind the front) –  shape of blocs, fantastic dream of crazy architects. Who have ever been in Estern Europe knows this gray big boring “matches” boxes. You can find them also in Romania, Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, but between them your attention will attract – I’m sure! – unusual buildings, looking like space ships.

Tirana

Brasov

Novi Pazar, Serbia

4)      Hats! –

first time I saw it in the cover’s picture of  “On the Road to Babadag”, A. Stasiuk book about traveling in the Middle-East Europe. The gipsy man in white shirt and black suit is looking from under the black hat straight at camera’s face. His glances is deep and curious. In the same time he looks as he doesn’t care about not only photographer but anything around him.

The next time, when I met it face to face, was few years ago in a small train station in Gura Humorului. It’s owner was a big, fat man seating on the wooden box and drinking with us “bruderschaft” with accompaniment of rain knocking on the windows. During this summer I met a lot of them. Bigger, smaller, made from felt, lien and straw. Most of them were usually white (summer version) or black with black or crème ribbon around. They existed in different clothes combinations – with lien suit as well as with nonchalant unbutton shirt clinging to fat belly. For me they became a small symbol of Balkans.

5)      Chess, cards game, domino –

Before coming to Balkans I almost forgot that domino, cards game are still existed and chess could be played not only by old man. In Romania, as in Serbia, Albania or Montenegro, chess are the national sport.

6)      Minibuses and mad drivers –

the most mad drivers I’ve ever seen are from Balkans. They are not only drive fast, very fast, extraordinary fast, but also don’t use lights to show you, that they will turn into the nearest street. It’s normal here that drivers overtaking other cars as a second, third, or even forth in the line. While they are driving they can do (or they think, that they can do) a lot of things: speaking, calling, eating, even changing their clothes! Seriously! A friend from Oradea told us, that one of his driver on some small, twisting road in the mountain, kept steering wheel one hand, other having occupied by changing his t-shirt. All the time speed was around 90-100 km/h.!

7)      Improvisation  –

I have still kept in my mind one image from our on-arrival training –  friends from Cluji, trying to repair imaginary car by scotch. It was a metaphor of improvisations skills which are characteristic for Romanian. I always see this pictures from Predeal when Im going by the parking close to our bloc. Romanian inventiveness has still astonished me a lot. They can really creating something from nothing.

Parking lot - Brasov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Improvisations always is related with fleetness of things. It looks like almost everything here is for a moment, in permanent motion and readiness to changes:

Moving newspaper's shop in Tirana

Maybe because of that, every time when I’m traveling cross Balkans, I’m in hurry. Everything is calling me: be fast, be attentive, be focus on what you see and feel today because tomorrow everything can change and for ex. Albania instead of being on the Balkans, will replace Australia.

So, carpe diem!

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