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U.S.A. vs Serbia…… Stop Lights


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My friend picked me up at Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade, Serbia back in 2010.

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There were a few large Serbs and my scrawny ass crammed into a little red Yugo. We were on our way to my buddies house in a little village around Zrenjanin, Serbia. We stopped at a red light and were talking about pure randomness when I saw the light turn from red to yellow and then to green.us1 I found that so strange. The stop lights in the USA go from red to green. us I asked my buddies why they have the yellow before the light turns green. They thought my question was silly because they assumed all traffic lights were that way. 🙂 The more I live here, the more I think it’s a good thing. The VAST majority of Serbian automobiles are manual transmission while the VAST majority of American cars are automatic. The hardest part of driving a manual car, for most people, is getting it into 1st gear without killing it. Maybe the yellow light gives you that additional few seconds to get your car into gear without creating delays. It would also allow you some sort of break from staring at an “endless” red light. It might also allow you to shut your car off and save gasoline.

My opinion? Serbia wins this battle! 🙂

 
8 Comments

Posted by on January 10, 2015 in USA vs Serbia

 

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My Serbian Food in Pictures


Karađorđeva šnicla

Karađorđeva šnicla with potatoes, bread, and a sopska salad

One of the reasons that I have yet to leave this country is the vast amount of delicious foods! I wanted to share some of my past food experiences with you. Hope you enjoy!

Easter dinner with colored eggs, stuffed peppers, pork and lamb soup

Easter dinner with colored eggs, stuffed peppers, pork and lamb soup

 

Homemade meal from a friend's house in Nis

Homemade meal from a friend’s house in Nis

Kafana meal with cevapi, fries, sopska salad and Zajecarsko pivo

Kafana meal with cevapi, fries, sopska salad and Zajecarsko pivo

Sarma, pickled peppers, green onion and homemade bread

Sarma, pickled peppers, green onion and homemade bread

 

Fish soup (ribala corba) bread, and Zajecarsko Pivo

Fish soup (ribala corba) bread, and Zajecarsko Pivo

 

Komplet lepinja. Specialty from Uzice, Serbia.  Grease from a roasted lamb on bread with egg and kajmak

Komplet lepinja. Specialty from Uzice, Serbia. Grease from a roasted lamb on bread with egg and kajmak

 

Fresh fish from a small village near Uzice

Fresh fish from a small village near Uzice

 

they raised these fish in a stream by the restaurant

they raised these fish in a stream by the restaurant

 

Mixed meat platter from Kod Srbe

Mixed meat platter from Kod Srbe

 

cevpai, steak, and big cuts of pork with some fries and veggies

cevapi, steak, and big cuts of pork with some fries and veggies

Sopska Salad

Sopska Salad

 

pizza with something called "beef sauce" smeared all of it

pizza with something called “beef sauce” smeared all of it

 

plate of fresh roasted lamb at Mokra Gora

plate of fresh roasted lamb at Mokra Gora

 

different meats from a restaurant at Zlatibor

different meats from a restaurant at Zlatibor

 

Gurmanska pljeskavica

Gurmanska pljeskavica

 

palacinka or Serbian pancake

palacinka or Serbian pancake

 

Eurocream and Nutella... sweet creamy hazelnut spread they put on pancakes

Eurocream and Nutella… sweet creamy hazelnut spread they put on pancakes

 

a few of the condiments you can get on your burgers

a few of the condiments you can get on your burgers

 

Sarma or stuffed sour cabbage rolls... my favorite

Sarma or stuffed sour cabbage rolls… my favorite

 

meat tray from a friend's party

meat tray from a friend’s party

 

big pljeskavica with bread, urnebes, and fries

big pljeskavica with bread, urnebes, and fries

 

little pumpkin pies

little pumpkin pies

 

cheese pies with spinach in them

cheese pies with spinach in them

 

snack tray of pavlaka, ham and fried zucchini

snack tray of pavlaka, ham and fried zucchini

 

my favorite snacks... cheese, ajvar, crackers and a big bottle of Zajecarsko Pivo

my favorite snacks… cheese, ajvar, crackers and a big bottle of Zajecarsko Pivo

 

after dinner drinks of Nescafe and boiled wine

after dinner drinks of Nescafe and boiled wine

 

Serbian traditional drink, rakija that was served in a glass of crushed ice

Serbian traditional drink, rakija that was served in a glass of crushed ice 

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on August 22, 2014 in Through my eyes

 

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Thousands of Serbs Slaughtered at Bubanj


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I mention this a lot, but it seems that every single town and village I visit in Serbia has a massive monument with thousands of dead Serbs on it! It is horrible!!! This is something you won’t hear much about outside the borders of Serbia!  The monument in Nis is something that must be seen to believe.

The Germans occupied this area during WWII. They brought truck loads of Serbians, Gypsies, and Jews to Bubanj for mass executions. They killed between 10,000- 12,000 people during 1942-1944. The entire area is intersected with trenches that the bodies where thrown into after they had been shot. Before the withdrawal of the Germans as the Red Army advanced into Yugoslavia in 1944, captured Italians were ordered to dig up the trenches and burn the corpses of the victims in order to destroy all traces of the atrocities committed there.

I first heard about this monument in 2011. My buddies were going to take me up there one day, but it rained. I woke up early one morning in my $50 a month apartment. The  family that owned it were an elderly couple in their late 70’s. They spoke ZERO English, but had hearts of gold! They were always coming over knocking on my door to offer coffee, pita, cherries, etc. The room was great for $50! The bathroom always cracked me up!!! It was tiny!! You had to sit on the toilet to take a shower! The water would just run down the drain pipe that was in the center of the floor! I had never seen anything like it! You can see it here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obqwjY9JBPo

My apartment, come to find out, was only 1km down the hill from Bubanj! I thought I would just check it out alone! I prefer doing a lot of my sightseeing on my own. You can go our own speed, stop when you like, and only check out what interests you. I started on a very hot morning. The monument is up on  top of a hill that is surrounded by forests.It only took me about 15 minutes to get up to the top of the hill.
Entrance to Bubanj

Entrance to Bubanj

There is a large sign and a wooden gate at the entrance of the park. You walk about 10 minutes up a rocky path that is surrounded by beautiful pine trees.

path with beautiful pine trees

path with beautiful pine trees

Once you get close to the clearing you can see the three massive monuments rising from the Earth!

the "killing machine" 23.5 X 2.5

the “killing machine” 23.5 X 2.5

The Bubanj monument is made in 4 parts. The first one being the 23.5 X 2.5 meter white marble monument. It symoblizes the five parts of “the killing machine”:  execution and firing squads, civil revolts, surrender of the German invaders and final victory over the oppressors. I show the monument in this short video, but at the time wasn’t sure what it stood for http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkZZ88QI-m8&feature=youtu.be

Three Fists

Three Fists

The most amazing part of the park is the “Three Fists”that tower over the entire area. They are three concrete monuments that symbolize raised hands with clenched fists. Each of the three fists are different sizes, depicting men’s, women’s and children’s hands that defy the enemy, symbolic of the fact entire families were killed at Bubanj. I am not sure of the size , but you can see from the video that they are massive!

This is one of the many beautiful monuments and historic places you can see on your trip to Nis, Serbia.

Join us at our new Serbian website , Say Serbia! http://sayserbia.com/

 
7 Comments

Posted by on July 7, 2013 in Through my eyes

 

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Serbian Company Built Countries National Landmark


 

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One of my first pen pals was a guy from Kuwait. He sent me a few pictures of his country and I was always in awe of the “Kuwait Towers”! I swore I would see them one day.

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The Kuwait Tower, as its known, is actually three towers. They are one of the most well-known structures in the world. The main tower has two separate spheres and stands 187 meters high. The smaller, top sphere is used as a cafe, lounge and restaurant. It can hold up to 90 people and rotates every 30 minutes. The lower, larger sphere is a water tank of 4,500 cubic meters. The second tower is a water tower and stands 147 meters high.The third tower houses equipment to control the flow of electricity and illuminates the two larger towers. The towers hold 9,000 cubic metres of water altogether.

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The Kuwait Towers were designed by Danish architect, Malene Bjorn as part of a water distribution project that was being done by Swedish engineering company, VBB. VBB hired Belgrade company, Energoprojekt and Ivan Milutinovic ,to do the actual construction of the towers . Other Yugoslavian companies were hired to build many of the government buildings, air bases, and ports around Kuwait City.http://www.slideshare.net/dottuta/kuwait-towers-presentation2edited

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The Serbian company  started construction in the early 1970’s and finished around 1976. The large tower was first opened to the public in 1979.

The towers are built with three levels of concrete, making sure that they will be able to withstand natural disasters and catastrophes like floods. This is also to ensure that the towers can endure wear and tear through the years. They were slightly damaged during the war with Iraq, but have been repaired. The spheres were constructed of 41,000 enamelled steel discs that come in eight shades of blue, green and gray. They could be described as  Arabic architecture, carefully mixed with a touch of contemporary elegance. This modern style was relatively unheard of at the time these towers  were being erected.

Serbia’s relationship with Kuwait is still going strong today! They are one of many Arab nations that do not recognize an independent Kosovo. Kuwait’s Foreign Minister was in Belgrade in April. He said his country is willing to invest in Serbia’s energy, agriculture, and infrastructure. http://www.tanjug.rs/news/83980/kuwait-willing-to-invest-in-serbia.htm

Serbian lands have had a long history of raising great scientific and creative minds. This is one great example of Serbian influence on the world. Please join our new Serbia website to find more interesting bits of info on this great nation and its people. http://www.sayserbia.com/

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Through my eyes

 

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Travel Tips for Americans Visiting Serbia


Traveling to a new part of the planet is always a very exciting thing for me. I always start getting this little BUZZ feeling way down in my gut a few weeks before I leave. I try to be as prepared as possible, but there are always things I neglect to think of.

Electrical ……

One thing in Serbia that is very different for American tourists is the electrical connection. The United States uses 110 volts while Serbia uses 220 volts. Electrical wall outlets in the USA are made for three posts to enter. You have a positive, negative and a ground. Check the pictures below….

American outlet

American outlet

While Serbian outlets are round and made for two circular plugs to enter. See the picture below..

Serbian outlet

Serbian outlet

..It is very easy to find the electrical converter here in Serbia. The majority of electrical stores offer them. I bought this one

110v to 220v adapter

110v to 220v adapter

for 200 Dinars or about $2.50 in Kragujevac.

Another big difference I noticed was that the light switch was on the OUTSIDE of the bathroom!!!!

typical Serbian bathroom outlet that is on the OUTSIDE of the bathroom

typical Serbian bathroom outlet that is on the OUTSIDE of the bathroom

I still find myself walking into the bathroom and looking for the switch! I can imagine the fun I would have had if this was a normal thing in the USA. You could shut the light off on your brother while he is in the shower. I think they do it for safety reasons. It is still annoying for me after all this time in Serbia.

Water Heaters…..

small waterheater that is in a bathroom and kitchen.

small waterheater that is in a bathroom and kitchen.

You might also notice that many of the older homes still have a little water heater in the corner of the bathroom and in the kitchen. You might have to turn on the water heater 20 or 30 minutes prior to getting into the shower, BUT be careful. The water gets so hot it will burn you! Most US homes have a large water heater that heats the water for the whole house and is always running on either gas or electric. It is usually hidden in a separate room. The Serbian way is much more cost-effective and I don’t know why it isn’t used as much in the USA.

Laundry……

The worst thing for me is the lack of dryers in Serbian homes. It is very rare to walk into an American home and not see a washer and a dryer. Serbian homes almost NEVER have a dryer. The vast majority of homes have a clothes line hanging outside and dry their clothes on it to preserve energy. This is a pain for a guy like me. I am the guy that likes to decide what to wear at the last-minute and if it is dirty…. wash it and throw in the dryer to dry and take the wrinkles out. That won’t be happening here. It is also difficult to find a laundromat. They do have a few in the larger towns but the smaller towns don’t.

Passport and Visa…..

Americans DO NOT need to do anything prior to flying to Serbia. Once you arrive at the Belgrade Tesla Airport you will receive a stamp on your passport that is good for 90 days. It is free of charge  and most of the time the custom officials will ask you nothing. A few times I have been pulled to the side and asked where I was going, who I was staying with, etc. I just said that I was a tourist and didn’t have all that info. They are friendlier than American custom police. 🙂 It is always advisable to head to the American Embassy to register your stay. You don’t need to do it, but they will take your email, phone, etc and keep you up to date on any activities that might jeopardise you safety. Their address , phone number, etc can be found on their website http://serbia.usembassy.gov/hours-of-operation.html

Serbia also requires that you go to the local police station within 24 hours of your stay. If you are staying at a hotel, they do it for you. If you are staying with a friend or get an apartment, you must take the owner of the home with you. They will issue you a white registration card. You must keep it with you at all times. Serbian police can stop anyone on the street and ask for your identification. If you don’t have it you can be in trouble. They will ask for the white card if you leave the Serbian borders. Many times they haven’t even looked at mine, but better safe than sorry.

Junk Food….

Serbia doesn’t have the large selection of chips, candy bars, soda and snack food that we have. They have lots of different chocolate products, but they lack in the other fields. Maybe  that is why you don’t see lots of fat people lumbering down the streets. LOL! I really miss Doritos!!!!

Doritos... American chips

Doritos… American chips

They have their own brand that rules the market in Serbia. It is called Chipsy..

Serbian chips

Serbian chips

You will also have a hard time finding Dr Pepper, Cherry Coke, Cherry 7-UP, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I am an addict so I have looked everywhere for them. 🙂
If you must have them, bring them from home! 🙂

Serbian Women…..

Gorgeous Serbian gals

Gorgeous Serbian gals

Before visiting Serbia it would be wise to exercise your neck. You will find yourself turning in awe at the gorgeous ladies that line the streets of Serbia. The majority are tall, very well dressed, beautiful jaw lines, long legs, very confident and sweet personalities. You will very rarely find a Serbian women that will walk out of the house without first going through an hour-long make up and primping session. hahaahah…

Think ahead!!! 🙂 You will enjoy Serbia all the same. Just a few tips to help you cope !! Serbia is the jewel of the Balkans. Long live Serbia!!!!! 

 
33 Comments

Posted by on June 8, 2013 in When in Serbia

 

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Outrage in Presevo, Serbia?


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It is great to be in contact with so many Serbians. I get the inside scoop on most things that are going on over there. They haven’t mentioned this situation in my local newspapers or the television newscasts in my part of the country so I really appreciate the info. I also read The Balkan Daily a lot. 🙂 It is a Serbian news site that is written in English. 🙂

I usually avoid topics like this. It isn’t that I don’t care about sensitive subjects … I just feel it isn’t appropriate or necessary for me to throw in my two cents. This situation is one that I felt I couldn’t ignore.

What happened???

Serbian authorities on Sunday removed a memorial placed at the town’s center without a permit – and to honor members of the so-called Liberation Army of Preševo, Bujanovac and Medveđa.

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This incident in Presevo blows me away. I can’t believe it took this long to destroy this monument. YOU CAN’T ERECT A MONUMENT OF A TERRORIST/INSURGENT ORGANIZATION THAT IS TRYING TO UNDERMINE AND DESTROY THE LEADERSHIP OF YOUR COUNTRY!!   This didn’t happen within the disputed province of  Kosovo, It happened in South Serbia!!!  What nation would allow something like this to happen? NONE! If  Taliban supporters wanted to erect a monument in support of that organization within the USA… PEOPLE WOULD SNAP!!!! I applaud Serbian leadership for this move.

Some are saying that the Serbs are being disrespectful and ridiculous for ripping down this monument in THEIR own country???? GIVE ME A BREAK!!! Look at the reaction from those that disagree with this move! They are destroying Serbian gravestones, damaging monuments that were put in place to honor INNOCENT men, women and children that perished during the Kosovo War…. not to mention the numerous ANCIENT Serbian Orthodox Churches  that were defiled or destroyed all over Kosovo  the past few years. Serbian-church-destroyed-by-Albanian-MuslimsTHIS IS SOMETHING THAT MUST BE STOPPED!! Why doesn’t the world come down hard on the guilty party?? I will never understand the double standards that exist!  Check out my video for more http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZToWOquURII

l hope that a peaceful solution can be had!

.Uvreda u Preševu, Srbiji?

Sjajno je biti u kontaktu sa toliko Srba. Tim putem imam mogućnost da malo dublje
zavirim većinu unutrašnjih dešavanja tamo. Ovu konkretnu situaciju nisu pominjali
u vestima lokalnih novina i televizija u mom u mojoj državi, tako da zaista cenim
svaku informaciju. Takođe, redovno čitam Balkan Daily. To je srpski informativni sajt,
napisan na engleskom. J

Obično izbegavam ovakve teme.. Nije da me oseljive teme ne interesuju.. smatram samo
da nije potrebno na to trošiti vreme. Ova situacija je ipak nešto što osećam da ne mogu da
ignorišem.

Šta se desilo?????

U nedelju, srpske vlasti su uklonile memorijalni spomenik, postavljen u centru grada, bez
dozvole, a kao izraz poštovanja i zahvalnosti članovima takozvane Oslobodilačke vojske
Medveđe, Bujanovca i Preševa.

Ovaj incident u Preševu me je raspametio. Ne mogu da verujem da je bilo potrebno
toliko dugo da se uništi taj spomenik. NE MOŽEŠ DA PODIŽEŠ SPOMENIK
TERORISTISTIČKOJ/POBUNJENIČKOJ ORGANIZACIJI KOJA PODRIVA I
UNIŠTAVA RUKOVODSTVO TVOJE ZEMLJE!!! Ovo se nije dogodilo u okviru
sporne pokrajine Kosovo, dogodilo se u Južnoj Srbiji!!! Koja nacija/država bi dozvolila
da se tako nešto njoj desi? NIJEDNA! Kada bi talibanske pristalice žele da podignu
spomenik u znak podrške te organizacije, na teritoriji SAD… LJUDI BI POLUDELI!!!
Čestitam srpskom rukovodstvu na ovom potezu.

Neki kažu da su Srbi pokazali nepoštovanje, ispali neučtivi i smešni zbog rušenja ovog
spomenika, u NJIHOVOJ rođenoj zemlji??? DAJTE BRE!!! Pogledajte samo reakcije
onih koji se ne slažu sa ovim potezom! Ti isti uništavaju srpske GROBNE spomenike,
spomnike koji su postavljani kao izraz poštovanja NEVINIH ljudi, žena i dece, koji su
nestali tokom rata na Kosovu… da ne pominjem DREVNE srpske pravoslavne crkve koje
su o skrnavljene ili uništene po celom Kosovu u poslednjih par godina samo.

OVO SE MORA ZAUSTAVITI!!! Zašto se u ovom slučaju svet nemilosrdno ne obruši
na krivce??? Nikada neću razumeti ove dvostruke standarde! Za više informacija,
pogledajte moj video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZToWOquURII

Nadam se da se mirno rešenje ipak može postići!

 
9 Comments

Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Through my eyes

 

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How to Avoid Irritating Serbian Grandmothers


One thing to expect when entering a Serbian home is to be offered a pair of house slippers! 🙂 I found this so funny! It didn’t matter if you were in the northern part of the country or the extreme southern part… if there is a grandmother in the house…. YOU BETTER TAKE THEM UP ON THE OFFER!

I have never owned a pair of house slippers and we never wore them growing up. I can’t remember going to a home in the US and using their house slippers to walk around in! 🙂 Maybe it is because many of our homes are carpeted. My grandmother and other old ladies would wear them, but not young men! Different story in Serbia. 🙂

I was invited to a friends birthday party in the little village of Krajisnik, Serbia. He lived with his grandmother and great grandmother. They had never seen or spoken to an American before. 🙂 The great grandmother was about 90 and so sweet. She kept speaking to me in Serbian and my friend would have to tell her over and over that I was American and didn’t speak Serbian. She kept using some foul language that I understood to tell him that she didn’t believe him. hahahahaha…I had to keep asking him to translate. She was telling me how one of her sons was perfect and handsome and the other was lazy and worthless. AHAHAHAH! The other thing she kept mentioning was my lack of slippers! She said it 3 or 4 times. She couldn’t walk very well, but she got up and got me a pair and placed them at my feet! 🙂 She was a doll! She also LOVED TITO!! HAHAHA.. My friend and his cousin would aggravate her by mentioning Boris Tadic. She wasn’t a fan of him! One thing is certain… Serbian grandmothers treat you like their own! She didn’t care if I was from America, next door, or Ethiopia … I was going to wear those slippers If I liked it or not!!!! 🙂

Put on the slippers when they are offered.. 🙂

 
17 Comments

Posted by on October 17, 2012 in When in Serbia

 

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