We Westerners wonder why obesity is such a modern problem while trying to decide whether to order the cheesecake or the tiramisu for dessert. My problem is more one of eating cheaply and healthily at the same time. Eating small but frequent meal-ettes has been vindicated as not only acceptable but actually beneficial to people with weight-control issues. The problem is eating healthily. Pizza is not the answer. Fruits and vegetables are. For a hyper-traveler this helps control costs also. My friends rag on me about how I’m such a tightwad, yet at the same time so unusually rich that I can travel all the time and all the world, while they rack up three-figure bills at the sushi bar, wishing they could travel some day, too. Go figure. Do the math. Get a clue.
Of course for the true backpacker self-catering is the thing, but you have to have a kitchen to do that in style, or at least a mini-fridge and a microwave, almost standard features in US hotel rooms now, much to my approval. Next to internet, this is the most important ingredient of any good hostel. But what good’s a kitchen in an area that doesn’t have instant noodles or rice cookers? That’s half my diet right there. Of course there is a tradition that pre-dates hostels that still persists in some parts of the world and is also a good alternative to the typical businessman’s hotel.
I’ve got the killer deal on local digs here in
This area’s got some heavy karma to deal with, specifically the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990’s and consequent ‘ethnic cleansing’. I saw a program on al-J today about the systematic rape and imprisonment of Bosnian women, not as a random act of violence, which I had assumed, BUT AS AN ACT OF ‘ETHNIC CLEANSING’, TO ENSURE THAT THEIR OFFSPRING WOULD BE SERBIAN (a moment of silence please while I get a towel. If tears could turn turbines...),
(space intentionally left blank)
as if religion were transmitted sexually. These hate children are being raised as Muslims of course, and soon will begin asking questions. Aside from any slight ethnic admixtures the Bosnians might have gotten from the Turks, and the Croats from their Italian neighbors across the Sea, and the Serbs from their eastern first cousin Russians, the groups are indistinguishable of course.
It’s time for a new religion, one to unite all the others. When I mention ‘the war’ to my hotel hosts, they clam up like oysters, jaw muscles quivering. Who knows? They might be Serbian. The memories carry weapons; at least the future has some variables in the equation. For better or worse Bosnia & Hercegovina is effectively divided into at least two parts, the recognized Bosniac/Croat government and the Serbian-dominated ‘Republika Srpski’. I guess I’ll have to pass through there just in case they become a UN-recognized independent country one day. Is this what ‘Balkanization’ is all about? It sounds like a process for hardening rubber or something. Ethnic cleansing will harden you or something.
All good things must come to an end of course. That’s okay. I couldn’t look another ham and cheese breakfast in the face anyway.
I had planned to book on through to Nairobi on Ethiopian Airline, but when their credit card procedure glitches on me, I go back to the drawing board (Expedia), and end up booking on Turkish Airlines, with a long stopover at IST on the way back, something I had previously failed to accomplish through the airline’s website itself, all for the simple ADD price (and less than the Ethiopian options). A little less Africa is fine, since it tends to be intense, and I’m inspired by the Turkish element in
The next day dawns clear and bright, a perfect day for travel. Finally I find the Chinese, their stores lined up on the edge of town, preparing for the invasion. Don’t forget the chopsticks. Soon we’re driving into snow of course. You don’t get out of
Somewhere along the way to the Croatian border we start traveling in the same downward direction as the river, the Mosques grow fewer, houses are occupied instead of vacant, and small garden patches under the till appear.
The postal drop-boxes say ‘Republika Srpski’. Maybe the Serbs are bitter at their own tortured past. The words ‘Slav’ and ‘slave’ are cognate, you know; now you do. Crossing the border into