Things I learned in Bosnia.

Landmine warning sign

March 24, 2010

  1. How long pigeons will walk during the night.  All night.  I was trying to sleep under a flock in the eaves in a $20/night flophouse near a rail yard outside Sarajevo.
  2. Proportion of Bosnian men in the countryside that smoke cigarettes:  All of them.
  3. Number of Bosnian houses in the countryside that survived the Serbian invasion intact.  Zero.
  4. The reason Bosnian men smoke.  See number three.
  5. The number of Bosnian women that smoke.  Who knows?  Women in the countryside between twenty and sixty-five years are virtually invisible.  I did see a few behind their houses washing laundry by hand.
  6. Average speed on the main highway from Croatia in the northwest to Sarajevo, the main city in the southeast, 200 miles distant.  35 mph.
  7. Proportion of Bosnians that receive visas to travel to countries in Europe.  None.
  8. Proportion of former Yugoslav republics (there are six altogether) that are Christian, Catholic, or Orthodox (as opposed to Islamic like Bosnia) whose citizens can acquire visas to visit Europe.  All the rest.
  9. The number of people that can comfortably ride in an Opel at 35 mph on mountain roads in the dark.  One, the driver.
  10. Primary food groups in the Bosnian diet.  Cigarettes, beer, endless rounds of Turkish coffee, pressed ground beef, fried ground beef, marinated ground beef, and for vegetables, fried and pressed ground beef.

Link to Bosnian Slides.