Sunday, February 19, 2006
Where did my weekend go?
I certainly got to know the landscape of my hotel room. My eyes have been very sensitive to the light, so I didn't even watch the television. On Saturday evening, I told myself that I really needed to eat. I ordered some room service food. The poor waiter had to deliver it in the dark. The only thing I consumed was the orange juice. My brain said one thing -- my body overruled everything my brain said.
This morning, Sunday, I went downstairs for breakfast and only ate a little cereal in milk, two little glasses of orange juice and a banana. Then I stepped outside the hotel for a short time. Down the street (there are no cars allowed in the area of my hotel) I could see one of the walkways bathed in sunlight.
Doesn't sunlight have some kind of vitamin in it? Isn't it theraputic or something?
When I stepped into the first sunlight I remember seeing in Serbia I felt just a little bit healthier. I sat on a concrete bench and watched the people walking by. It was a totally different view than what I'm used to seeing either on the way to work or in the evening.
There are a lot of hot spots for young people, so the kids (late teens and older) are everywhere. The attention to fashion here is about 100 times what it is in the U.S. -- at least for the women. There are usually a lot of girls paired up and sitting in the little coffee houses and pubs. Someone here told me that the men are intimated when it comes to approaching them because the guys don't make enough money to entertain the women in the manner the men believe the women would expect.
But Sunday morning was about older people and families and dogs and average looking folks. It was refreshing. There was a young man standing near where one of the under-the-street walkways rose to ground level. He was selling delightful flowers wrapped on paper. It amazed me that so many people were buying.
I didn't have my camera with me, or I would have shared the image with you. To keep up with the visual tradition, I've included a picture of the building that houses the IREX office. That's where I walk every morning during the week.
Other observations? One of the most refreshing thing about being in Belgrade is the almost absolute absence of SUVs, big pick-up trucks, hot-rod Hondas driven by young bucks. I saw one Hummer in the mall's parking garage. It had California plates -- Ontario.
I've only seen two black people and two Asian people. It reminded me a little of the time I visited my cousin in Cedar Falls, Iowa. I was uncomfortable because of the complete lack of ethnicity.
This will have to do for now. I'm still very weak and not even sure I'll be well enough to go to work tomorrow. I can handle the discomfort, but it's the plumbing problems that accompany the ailment that troubles me. I sort of don't want to be far from a safe place. 'Nuf said.