22.03.2010 - 26.03.2010 17 °C
My first day in Montenegro:
- At the airport, waiting for my flight to Podgorica: the only place where I could find a plug for my laptop is in between two old quite heavy ladies, both lying down with their feet in thick socks and long skirts towards my face, coughing with a fierceness that you makes wonder if they will survive their next breath and with their rather small men - with nice prosperous bellys - pacing around. The women look at me as if I am from a different planet and probably I am looking the same at them. I am smiling at them because I expect that is the only common language we speak.
- In the plane: I am received by three gorgeous tall men who are the stewards of the flights. I am amazed how tall they are and will continue to be amazed in Montenegro about how tall people are. They must drink a lot of milk here or whatever secret they have to be so tall. My description for my ' blind date' with my fellow evaluator that I am ' blond and tall' does not really seem to be a helpful description here...
- Again behind me in the plane some people seem to be coughing their lungs out. Once I am in Podgorica I notice the pollution but I have my doubts that these people were from a city.
- In the flight there is a nun/monk. She/he is dressed as a nun but her hands/arms/face are so male that I am wondering if this is a travestite, which would be too weird (a male nun....?).
- My lonely planet mentions that it is best to wait for an incoming taxi at the airport in order to avoid paying double prices. As usual I am walking confident and almost arrogant past the guys who are surrounding me with ' taxi, miss' , to find out that there is no traffic at all. I start with walking to a taxi who sends me back (at least that is what I understand from his body language). Again I am being followed by ' taxi, miss' until someone sends me to the official taxi stand where the ' taxi, miss' - guys are walking towards me and in perfect English explains me a bit irritated that he is an official taxidriver. I mumble that it works different in different countries (in Bulgaria the ' taxi, miss' - guys are in general non reliable cabdrivers) and feel an absolute fool .
We get into his shiny Mercedes and zoom towards town, until a rock hits the window and he has a huge - but really huge - hole in his window. I am on the phone with a client who continues chatting and is not aware that I am not sitting behind my desk but somewhere abroad in a cab. As is to be expected my taxidriver is changing into every possible colour and soon he starts calling and yelling into his phone - of course while driving - to share that his beautiful Mercedes is being touched by the filthy world. I really feel pitty for the poor guy. Then his phone rings and the tune of his phone is actually the motor of a car. I manage not to laugh and look pitiful at the driver and his broken ego. He is actually so upset that he forgets to stop at my hotel and realises only after and starts to apologise (the price had been agreed in advance) and asks my understanding that he is a bit distracted...
- When walking around I have the feeling people are looking at me as if I am an alien. But probably this is just because everyone is looking at each other. Maybe it is because I am not wearing like the other women boots, trousers and winter coat in 17 degrees (mmmh, wonderful... 17 degrees!) but pumps with thin panty & skirt and a spring coat. One car seems more occupied with my legs than with the traffic at all...
- While asking the way to find the EU Delegation we are sent very convinced in three different (!) directions by a citizen, a police man and a business man. The fourth knows the way and explains very detailed the way. The same happens over and over again when asking for a place where you can have lunch: sent to 3 different places where it is definitely not possible to have lunch.
- At the reception I ask if I can run somewhere and immediately I am receiving a detailed description where to go. Just of the main shopping street there is a hill with a park where people are walking around. Most are wearing sport shoes and sport clothes but 98 % of them is walking at slow pace and only 2 % is actually running (briefly). This reminds me of Serbia where my colleague actually asked where he could run and they started laughing saying that in Serbia you are not running unless you like to be followed by dogs and are running from something.
- Both at lunch and dinner I am having great food, great cappucino, great wine (Plantaze) and especially great prsut from Njeguski - raw Montenegrin ham. I read about it so ask my fellow evaluator if he wants to share. When he refuses and I order it anyway, I understand why - it is HUGE. So now I am having this doggy bag with me with delicious raw ham...
- Appearance seems to be very important here: in the Ministry I am being received in this small meeting room with an important table and many ' important' / luxury chairs, actually there are so many chairs that you can hardly move in between the chairs!! During our interview a gentleman in a very nice suit enters the room, which appears not to be a head of unit but the coffee boy! I love this country, I am being served all the time by cute men!
Concluding: welcome in the mediterranean culture...
IMAGES FROM PODGORICA
BAY OF KOTOR
Some places are simply so beautifully located
GOING BACK HOME