I can hear y’all right now “What the hell is a passage woman?” Well, I’m about to tell you all about them.
I’ve lived in many different parts of Serbia : Zrenjanin, Nova Galenika, Kotez, Pancevo, Zemun, Nis, Sremska Mitrovica, and in Novi Sad. Novi Sad IS the most beautiful city in all of Serbia.
My office is right smack in the center of Trg Slobode, the most beautiful and well known part of Novi Sad. I’ve called this city home for over 1 year now. Back in early June, I moved from one apartment right off Nikola Pasice to a small, 130 euro a month apartment in a passage off of Zmaj Jovina and Dunavska.
People are usually blown away when I tell them I live there. It’s the busiest pedestrian area in the most beautiful part of the city. Could you live in the most beautiful part of the most beautiful city in any other country for 130 euros? 🙂 It isn’t fancy or even nice, but it has a large bedroom with two beds, a hallway that leads to a big kitchen/dining room, large bathroom and a big balcony that overlooks the passage below.
Most of the buildings in the center are connected so the only way to get through them is to stroll down one of the shop filled passages or walk all the way around. The passages in Novi Sad are filled with an assortment of clothing stores, shoe stores, sports equipment, money exchanges, etc.
So what hell are passage women? Are they some homeless ladies who live in these passages or sleazy women who hang out in them and do “things” for a $1? NO, NO, NO!!!! Neither of the two. Let me continue with my little story. Once I moved into this apartment back in June, everything was pretty good with the exception of no a/c. The summers in Serbia can be brutal, especially when you live in the center. The whole entire center is concrete, brick and rock so the heat stays here. I had a fan that I would stick in the window each night and it made it bearable, but each morning around 8am I would be jolted from sleep by laughing and loud talking from below my balcony. The ‘passage women’ or ladies who work in the passage shops, had set out chairs right below my balcony. There are a number of shops and none of them do much business throughout the day so the ladies tend to sit out there for hours upon hours, smoking , gossiping and drinking coffee.
Living above the passage women is an absolute nightmare for those of us who look forward to sleeping in on our day off. Serbian village women have always been known for their nosy ways, but the young city gals are no better!
I dread walking out of my apartment each morning because every time I walk past their little 5 seat table, they get quiet. I’m always the first to wish them a “dobro jutro’ and they always reply with the same greeting, but I know that the American is always the subject of their early morning gossip. I kept telling myself that winter would bring a little bit of silence, but the temps don’t seem to bother the gossipy passage women in Novi Sad. They just throw on a coat, make a cup of steaming coffee and sit below my balcony laughing and gossiping away the day.
Beware of the passage women………