Posts from the “Life In Pristina” Category

Kosovo 1.0

Posted on December 19, 2012

Last Friday, a remarkable thing happened in Pristina. I mean that in the original sense, of course: a thing worthy of remark, or perhaps created solely to prompt remark, occurred here, and now everybody is talking about it. As all of my local readers are already aware, I am referring to the violent cancellation of Kosovo 2.0’s “Sex” issue party, which was shut down by a mob of club-wielding thugs whilst police – according to eyewitness reports, if not official record – did noticeably less than they may have been expected to do, or less than they may have done in another jurisdiction. People got hurt. Things were destroyed. Luckily, it did not go any further than that. Because sometimes these things do. What…

Cycling In Germia Park

Posted on October 10, 2012

Cycling gets the monsters out. It really does. It works. Now, I can see why, say, Trek Bicycles (“come out and play”) might not want to use that as their marketing slogan, or why cycling advocacy groups might choose to emphasize the environmental benefits of cycling (“What carbon emissions?”) over the “personal demons”-related ones – but between you and me, I’m onto something. There is just something about the combination of balance, of speed, of covering distance, and of capital-S Suffering that does the trick. It really gets them out. When I was much younger — a million years ago, you know, back in the era of land lines and Archers of Loaf concerts – cycling was something I spent a lot of time…

The Dog Days Of Dogana

Posted on September 7, 2012

So “Dogana” means “customs” in Kosovar Albanian, and “customs” means “four loosely related offices between which you are sent in patterns of increasing complexity and cost” – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Mere delineations of procedure don’t really tell the whole story. Here’s what happened. Here’s how a couple of naïve, online retail-enjoying North Americans were again reminded that they are very, very far from home. It began with a purse. A bright yellow purse on a cutely named American shopping site for girls. It was a grey humid afternoon, all of our neighborhood restaurants sucked (and continue to suck – more on this to come), and our heroine was in need of a little cheering up. “Just buy it,” I said,…

Baby, Baby (Or: Why Birth Rates Matter)

Posted on July 29, 2012

In Kosovo, people still have babies. Not as many as they once did, perhaps, and not so many that nobody wishes for more, but they still fill the bunkbeds around here. They make sure that my front stoop, for instance, has the tell-tale hearts and scratched-out names of fickle teen romance carved into its side, and it seems required that my bedroom window be hit (hard) by a football at least once every week. Note the plural: in Kosovo, they have babies. With an “s.” These are not the long-shot, fertility pill-aided one-offs familiar to (say) New Yorker subscribers back home near the Empire’s center. These are not the lonesome little Augustens and Caits we see peering from the rear windows of Audis as…

Hello, Pristina

Posted on July 10, 2012

I arrived at Pristina in the middle of the night, descending into a heat wave on a lightning-troubled plane – but wait. That’s so dramatic. Can we say instead that I took a points ticket from Vienna, reading American magazines and devouring the complimentary sponge-cake? Both seem accurate, but truth tends to lie between the extremes. Or does it? For a million reasons, this place seems designed to test that theory. Had you told me a year ago that I would be sitting here right now, drinking “Lasko” brand beer and waiting for the water to come back on, I would have thought you were crazy. Interesting, perhaps, but equipped with one of the cloudier crystal balls. Six months ago, I could not have…