I left Kruševo, Macedonia at 6AM May, 29. I arrived in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina at 8AM the next morning. Depending how one travels that is either 850 or 1000 kilometers. You do the math. At one point, in Serbia, it seemed as if the bus were going around in circles in the night. It was as if we stopped at every medium sized town along the way to either pick-up, or disembark, passengers. Then, of course, there was the change of buses in Niš, Serbia. Now there’s a real dive of a town. I suppose the old town is nice and there are some important historical sites in the city, but the area around the bus station was the worst kind of red-light district…money changers, prostitutes, nefarious types of all and any persuasion, and me, the itinerant American. That counted for at least 4 hours laying over…at least it wasn’t in the middle of the night. I finally slept a few hours just before we arrived in Sarajevo, and then the Serbian bus drivers would not bring us to the main station. They dumped us unceremoniously at the station a few kilometers from town.
I had booked a room at a local pension, but I was not able to find it anywhere. No one knew it, and it was not listed in any directory. The upshot is that this place is not registered so the owners do not have to pay lodging taxes, therefore the cost of a room is less. No worries, however, for I found a very nice place in its stead, the Pansion ?obanija, which is very nice, and the staff is more than helpful. Last night they coached me in grammar and phrases…Nice folks.
Sarajevo is lovely and tragic. The city is once more a thriving center of learning, economics, politics, and culture. The evidence of the war is everywhere, however, as there is probably not a single building that does not show the pock-marked scars of bullets and light arms fire. A few buildings are still pretty bombed out, but most of them are either in the process of being rebuilt, repaired, or even left standing as monuments. As my host Elvir said, ?Each generation has had its war…? Still the city is friendly, promising and full of wonderful photo-ops. I ‘ll try to post some next week on my Picasa site.
So, I have rested, eaten, shopped, done the tourist thing (for almost a month), and now embark on my real reason for coming here: service. I head of to Me?ugorje tomorrow and an adventure in service to my fellow man. I will be helping out the Roma, in so far as they want help. That is a big problem in Europe; not only the denial of the over-arching peoples and governments to the needs and hopes of these people, but the overwhelming desire of the Roma to remain separate from the status quo as well. These two aspects combine to make a disastrous reality for the world, in which abuse, malnutrition, ignorance, and fear remain the daily life of an invisible city.