Saturday, December 8, 2012

Eternity In The Belgrade Streets

Wake up.  Go to work.  Realize that your low-paying job will take you nowhere.  Realize it pays enough money for alcohol.  Buy alcohol.  Drink it.  Pass out.  Repeat.

It's another day in Belgrade, Serbia.  As a tourist my typical day went something like what you see in the video above.  The only difference was that at some point I could leave.   Every time I go to Serbia I fall more in love with the place and think how nice it'd be like to live there...  Hold on, dreamer.  As one Serbian asked, "American, if you make the same wages as I, will you love the place??" ...

Still the party goes on.  Despite nights at the Belgrade Beer Festival watching great music (including those from the video, S.A.R.S.), the best times came from hours of wasting time on the winding streets of Belgrade.  Nothing important ever happens and at the end of the day you ask yourself, "Where did the time go?"

The next thing you ask yourself, "Who gives a damn?"

We sit at a cafe drinking.  We're relaxing after spending the day wandering the ruins of Kalamegdan fortress.  Some of us have beer or strong coffee while others are content with water.  I don't recall the names or nationalities of all of those sitting with us.  Some are Serbian and others are from as far away as Australia.  We arrived with a group of four, but that changed rapidly.  New people keep arriving at our table.  As soon as they arrive others leave.  But some of them return.  Others don't.  We order another round of coffee and beer.

Belgrade Cafe Gatherings
Our little cafe table is a revolving door of new faces and conversations.  Every conversation starts as an epic plan with someone to travel to some new location in Serbia; Sabac is nice by the river; no, the fortress in Novi Sad; no, no let's go back and party in Nis...  As soon as the plans are set in stone, they crumble and fall apart like the old buildings of the White City.  Someone leaves and another comes to replace them.  New plans begin ever more elaborate than the first; a train to Sarajevo, Bosnia; no let's hitchhike to the Hungarian border; Timosoara, Romania's not so far away; we can go all the way to Latvia if we leave now...

We order another round of coffee and beer.  And another.

I have seen this a million times when traveling.   Plans, plans and more plans that are thrown about like so many darts at a board.  Very few actually make it to the target, but the game was fun regardless of the time spent.  We spend all afternoon on plans for traveling to the ends of Europe and back.  At the end of day we stay at a Couchsurfer's house in Belgrade for the night, completely exhausted from all the dreaming we've done.


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