MontenechagrinSun Apr 07, 2013 21:40 (UTC -7)
Maybe in the next 10 years I’ll finish writing about this trip.
So, continuing from last time: It was our last day in Belgrade. After another breakfast on the roof, our host took us to an artificial lake. He and Katya swam for a few hours. I didn’t because the water was way, way too cold for me. I would have died.
Later, the three of us went to a nice restaurant and ate the fastest dinner in recorded history because Katya and I had to catch our next train. Our destination: the historic coastal city of Bar, in the newly independent nation of Montenegro.
We had a compartment with beds in it, but the train was ancient and our door didn’t stay shut. I asked the attendant if he could fix it, and he gave me a special device to kind of attach it to the doorway, like those locks with the chains. I guess it’s cheaper to buy those things than to actually fix the doors.
The ride was unpleasant, and I didn’t sleep very much, but it was a beautiful morning when we arrived in Bar. Also, I didn’t know what we were going to do. The train station seemed to be nowhere in particular, and our only way anywhere seemed to be some sketchy guy insisting that we take a ride in his taxi.
Fortunately, the bus station turned out to be a short walk away, and we soon caught a bus to the Old Town. It was quaint and placid, if a little touristy. There wasn’t much outside the main street, which was rather steep, and we ate at a restaurant with outdoor seating. Fortunately, we were under an umbrella—the heat was virtually unbearable.
Then we spent a couple of hours walking around and exploring some ruins. From there I could appreciate how the Old Town was—is—nestled in the mountains as we looked on the new city below.
We didn’t stay in Bar for long. Instead, we took a bus to Budva, up the Montenegrin coast. We bought our tickets pretty late, and the bus ended up being overbooked by one seat. In the US this would be a problem, but it wasn’t in Montenegro. They had Katya sit on the floor by the stairwell—in front of the yellow line (or rather, where the yellow line would be if it were an American bus)—along with a guy who seemed to be with the bus company. I had a view of the magnificent Adriatic sunset to our left. Later, Katya and I switched seats, and silently, the guy from the bus company offered me a cigarette, which I declined.
By the time we arrived in Budva, it was dark, and we had no place to stay. We were hoping to find a spare apartment—not just a room, as Katya wanted privacy. Sure enough, almost as soon as we got off the bus, there were some locals offering accommodation. A smartly-dressed middle-aged woman told us that she had an apartment available. After being sure that it wasn’t just a room and that it had air conditioning and everything else we wanted, we followed her into the dimly-lit back streets.
I was on highest alert. The woman gave off this vibe like she could have been an accomplice to some kidnapping ring. After a few minutes of walking, we made it to an apartment building. The apartment was on the top floor. As she showed us around, pointing out the bedroom, the kitchen, the bathroom, and the rules, my shields gradually lowered. Still, when she asked for our passports to write down the ID numbers, I watched mine like a hawk.
The three of us made conversation, and at last I was convinced that we wouldn’t be chopped up into little pieces, but Katya was unhappy. We had been promised accommodations where we could enjoy total privacy—or so we thought—but the woman (and her son) lived upstairs, and didn’t have their own kitchen or bathroom outside our “apartment.”
But we were already there, and it was late. Katya and I went out briefly to get some food and cash; our host had been kind enough to trust that we would pay her the next day. Then, having returned, we retreated to our tiny bedroom to find that the air conditioner was actually a fan.
I’ve been looking for this list for a while, and on Wiktionary (the Wikipedia of dictionaries), I’ve finally found it: English nationality prefixes. You know, like: the Russo-Japanese War, Greco-Roman wrestling, Franco-American SpaghettiOs…