Posted by: bkropf | April 8, 2008

You’re Not British, C’mon!!!

People, pictures from the last 5 countries should be uploading soon.  Be excited…very excited!
Our second day in Sarajevo was pretty good.  We slept in and naturally woke up happy after such a nice rest.  We decided to see the city through a tour.  Our tour picked us up and we met three guys from England.  One was actually from Detroit but pretended* to be British.  They were so nice. 
The following couple of paragraphs talk about a portion of the greater Yugoslavian Wars.  Please take some time and read about it at this link on Wikipedia in case some of my facts are a little off.  Also, everyone in this region has a different, passionate view of what happened so even different articles you read might have a different slant.
The tour took us outside of town where there was a tunnel going under the airport and into the hills.  This was a tunnel where maybe a million people traveled underground, when the city was sieged by the Serbians.  For 3 years the city was surrounded and shelled and the only food to be eaten was food provided by the UN (which was occupying the airport).  Because the Serbians had a parameter surrounding the city, people couldn’t come or go or get more supplies.  Additionally, Bosnian soldiers used the tunnel to smuggle in more weapons from the outside world (I know this is confusing so you can read about it online or talk to me when I get home and I can show you on a map).  We got to go through portions of the tunnel and watch footage of the siege.  The footage was pretty raw.
I think one of the more amazing parts of the tour was just talking to the guide.  He was about 30 and he lived through the whole experience. Anyone older than 20 will remember the war, the siege and the hardships.  Many people had to walk to work or the market dodging sniper fire.  There were areas called ‘snipe alleys’ where to get through you had to run and hope you didn’t get hit.  We saw footage of cars making a break for the other side of the alleys with a string of shots following them.  Time and again, it is just so hard for me to imagine living through the whole experience.  It is almost like if when I was young, if the West Coast tried to leave the United States and the US Army came and sieged Eugene for 3 years.  Tough stuff.  The Irish girl went on a day tour of an area where the Serbian army killed over 8,000 people in a couple days.  She said it was a really sad place and you only see men under 20 or over 60.  Very few middle aged men.
For lunch we had some amazing food called carpi (or something like that). There are many different names for it as you go through the countries too.  It was amazing!  I have had it multiple times but that was by far the best.  They give you some good bread that is pretty flat and soft, almost like thick nan.  Then they add sticks of sausage type meat which is grilled.  You put some onions in with it and you have yourself a flavor sensation for the mouth worth a whole paragraph of typing.
Getting back into the city we went to the bridge where World War 1 started.  ‘The Shot Heard Around the World’ happened when an assassin killed the Austria-Hungarian king (some facts maybe slightly off) and his wife and soon more and more people started joining the war.  It was crazy to think that one shot was a catalyst to two world wars (many people believe the second world war had its roots based in the end of WW1).
After checking out the bridge we continued to walk around and saw some huge Muslim cemeteries.  Randomly a girl from Eugene showed up to the hostel who was traveling around by herself.  We invited her to dinner with us because we were going to meet the British guys from the tour.  She was happy we invited her because she said she was getting sick of herself. She was really nice but did some Bush bashing with a girl from Portugal which I could have lived without.
After dinner we got back to the hostel and Tyler did some computer work (he is much more faithful than I when it comes to writing).  I decided to go walk around with the Irish girl staying at the hostel.  She was hungry so we went and got some food and chatted.  She had such a thick accent I really had a tough time understanding half of what she said.  We mostly talked about Ireland, Irish history and what it was like in the Irish army.  We also talked at length about the whole Yugoslavian conflict in the 90’s.  She was really smart and had studied it much more than I so it was really interesting to learn more.  We got some Turkish delight and took in some more sights. 
One interesting thing about the area is when someone dies, they don’t put it in the paper.  They put up a certificate looking piece of paper with the name, date, picture and some other little facts.  If the person is Muslim the paper is green, Orthodox is blue and Catholic, black.  I might have some of the colors mixed up but I think you get my drift.
President Bush visited Croatia when we were in Bosnia and it was such huge news.  They had multiple long segments on the news about it.  It is interesting to see peoples reaction to the visit.  For the most part it seems as though Croatia loved the fact he visited.  As one Albanian boy explained to me, “All the the countries in the area love the United States except for Serbia, Greece and Montenegro to some extent.  In Albania and Kosovo we love you because you (US Government) know that Kosovo is Albanian and the Serbians stole it.”  I’m not sure if that is a totally accurate statement but the Albanians were super friendly and the Serbians an people of Montenegro were much more cold (and sometimes rude).
*I hate when people try to act like they picked up an accent in the 2 months they have lived somewhere.  You just don’t pick up an accent overnight.  It is so ridiculous.  When I lived in Australia for 4 months there was a girl who was also living there for four months and she dated this guy from one of the islands.  As soon as she started dating him she started talking like an Australian and it was so fake.  C’mon, be realistic.  This guy from Detroit was trying so hard to be British and it just wasn’t doing it for me.  Be yourself!!!


  1. Nice new picture…..the water looks amazingly BLUE! We thoroughly ENJOYED all your new pictures! You guys are doing GREAT at communicating–appreciate it!
    Love, MOM

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