Saturday, April 30, 2011

a gal can dream, can't she?

this cute little caffe bar is in downtown drvar, bosnia.  (did i mention that "downtown" drvar is one street, a little under a mile long?)

it's for sale. (not downtown drvar. the bar.)

the caffe bar is teeny inside, wood-paneled, heated by an old wood stove, and has a teeny ktichen that doesn't see much action since the drvar locals (most of whom are unemployed) don't see the value in paying for prepared food.

imagine that patio in the spring all covered with climbing vines.  i did.  it would be lovely.

i also imagined converting half the kitchen to a little place where i could host couchsurfers who dreamed of couchsurfing their summer through the balkans only to find pitifully few hosts - none of whom are in or near drvar. here, z and i could perfect the couchsurfing hosting recipe that we began in budva, montenegro. z would cook them giant breakfasts and we would ply them with free beer in the evenings. just a little respite for weary travelers.

everyone has a dream or two, including the owner of this little caffe bar.  her dream is to get 25k in us dollars for it. she's been waiting 3 years for that dream to come true. 

ah well.  dreams do come and go.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

yeah, i have a bathtub

but you should see the size of my water heater...

a hot bath. sigh.  in the words of maxwell smart, "i was this close."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

možeš li mi napraviti još jedan menta čaj?
or otherwise known as my serbian language lesson for today

can you make me another mint tea? 

if you want it, you gotta be able to ask in serbian. that's the rule here. my rule. my self-imposed rule.

when i returned to bosnia earlier in the month, i was actually pretty pleased with how much serbian i understood. what i was not pleased with was how little i could actually speak.

oh sure, i had all the essentials down, like ti nisi dobar sa glavom and nemoj da se zajebavaš samnom (neither of which google translate does adequate justice), but when it came to answering a simple question such as šta ima?, i was (and still am) like a deer in headlights.

hence the rule.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

uskršnja jaja
easter eggs

wildflowers and leaves pressed against eggs with tightly wrapped netting and then boiled with onion skins

and no, i did not make them.  are you kidding? 
they were on the tables at the caffe bar downstairs from my apartment.

Friday, April 22, 2011

drvar means "wood" in serbian or croatian or whatever your political beliefs make you call the language these days

the building in which i'm living at the moment
having been graciously offered, gratis, the use of a furnished apartment in drvar, bosnia, it appears that i'll be spending a bit of time here.

drvar has an interesting history, of which you can learn a bit about here in a wikipedia article that i expanded rather significantly, cobbling together - while attempting to translate from the mostly serbian (and one german) sources - what little pre-1992 history i could manage to find online. oh, also there's an interesting little article here.

the inviting entrance

the building in which i'm living at the moment was reconstructed after the war.

ok, so it's a little rough around the edges.

view from the front balcony

part of the "reconstruction" did not include the boiler system that provided steam heat to the building.  the radiators have been ripped out of the apartments, but not the rusty old pipes that still run along the interior walls.

a few shared chimneys were added to provide a way to vent wood stoves - assuming you've got one.  from the makeshift shelters housing cords and cords and cords of wood lining the front and back of the apartment, i'm guessing that everyone has got a wood stove now - which is good given that it's freezing fricking cold here!

and from the back window

wood-fired and electric ovens
my bed next to the woodstove
however, retrofitted wood stoves (more than a few 90 degree bends in the ole' stove pipe) in 5 storey buildings where the chimney doesn't quite extend far enough above the roof line don't really work so well. they take a   l o n g   time to even begin to properly draft, and in the meantime the entire place fills up with smoke.

where i get my wood the door to the "women's section of the association of returnees to drvar, the source of the river unac" - or as it is now known, "where i get the wood to heat - er, smoke - my apartment."

my neck of the woods
the part of drvar i'm in looks like this.  the apartments are occupied but the businesses are still boarded up.

one of my favorite buildings in downtown drvar
but another chunk of drvar looks like this.  a bit worse for the wear, but still lovely.

and another

Monday, April 11, 2011

a dear john letter to my recent past life

dear john,

by the time you get this, i'll be long gone.

it's not you.  it's me.

the road is calling and i have answered.